Willie Smith's cider crowned best of best

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Willie Smith’s limited-edition Kingston Black claims Cider Australia glory at this year’s Australian Cider Awards.

A special edition cider using the pinnacle heirloom cider apple variety has scooped the pool at this year’s Australian Cider Awards.

On Friday night 5 October, Willie Smith’s Cider Makers were honoured at the national awards gala dinner in Sydney, with the Willie Smith’s Kingston Black taking out the Best in Show award – beating a field of 260 Australian and international entries.

The limited release also won another three trophies and a Gold medal – Best Australian Cider or Perry, Best Traditional Cider and Best in Class.

Willie Smith’s co-owner Sam Reid said the prestigious award was a great reflection of the entire crew at the Huon Valley business.

“I’m stoked our Kingston Black won Best in Show – broadening the category with these purpose grown apples is really important. We hope to see these heirloom apple ciders on more and more wine lists of progressive venues in the coming years. What I’m perhaps most excited about is our flagship product, Willie Smith’s Organic, won a gold and we were awarded ‘Most Successful Larger Producer’ which demonstrates the overall quality of the range
and the great work our cider-making team are doing!” continued Mr Reid.

The awards were judged by a panel of local industry professionals and visiting experts from the US and New Zealand.

The Australian win comes off the back of the same cider taking out Reserve Champion at the highly prestigious Royal Bath and West Show in Somerset – regarded by many as the bastion of UK traditional cider.

The judges’ comments finished with “Brilliantly executed. Bravo.”

Willie Smith’s Head Cider Maker Tim Jones says “the legendary Kingston Black is a tricky variety to work with. When it works out, it produces stunning ciders. It’s the pinot noir of the cider world”.

“Our focus with this cider has been to showcase the striking aroma and complex flavor profile of this world-renowned variety. The win provides a massive confidence boost for growers and cideries alike who have taken the leap and invested in growing traditional cider apple varieties.”

The 2017 Kingston Black is available in limited quantities from leading independent bottle shops – 750ml for $30 (6.2% ABV).

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