Monday, 18 November 2019

Artisan tastes of the Apple Isle: Tasmania

A lot of ciders in Australia are made from apples that were designed for eating, not drinking. 

Willie Smith's in Tasmania has a focus on heritage apple varieties that have been used for traditional ciders in England and France. 

The latest such release is the Kingston Black 2019, a follow-up to the 2018 release of the cider made from the same apple, which rapidly sold out.


The Huon Valley business started planting heirloom apple varieties over six years ago to ensure greater complexity in its traditional style ciders, with the trees now starting to become more established.

The 2019 Kingston Black is a single varietal cider that showcases the world-renowned English heirloom apple of the same name, known for its aromas and complex flavour profile.

Willie Smith’s co-founder Sam Reid said he hoped there would be enough of the new drop to keep customers satisfied longer - last season’s release sold out months ago.

“We were really excited to get a bumper crop of Kingston Black this harvest, as this cider grows in popularity year on year," he said. "It’s been great to see Australia’s craft drinkers embracing this more complex style cider that really shows just how good cider can be.” 

Reid said he expects the variety to do for the Tasmanian cider industry what pinot noir has done for Tasmania’s wine reputation.

“We think Kingston Black is the pinot Noir of the cider apple world," he said."It’s tricky to grow and tricky to work with. But with love, patience and a lot of attention to detail, this variety can produce exceptional ciders with outstanding aroma and structure.”

Head cider maker Tim Jones said “This year’s release showcases the stunning aromatics of this awesome variety – it’s intriguing, with standout fresh green apple and sherbet aromatics.

“With crisp acidity it’s a great lower alcohol alternative to wine - perfect for summer lunchtime drinking.” 

The Willie Smith’s team will be serving the latest release at events over the summer including the Big Design Market (Melbourne, December 6-7), the Taste of Tasmania (Hobart) and Festivale (Launceston).

The 2019 Kingston Black is sold in 750ml bottles with an RRP of $30. Also new from the same team the Charles Oates Apple Brandy, inspired by the tradition of Calvados in North-West France. 

This handsome tribute can be enjoyed as a digestif or with mature cheeses or rich desserts. It weighs in at 42% alc/vol and retails for $130. Briliant!

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