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Jane Faulkner

UP TO $5

Napoleone & Co Apple Cider 330ml $5

THE Napoleone family owns Punt Road Wines in the Yarra Valley but started out with orchards more than 60 years ago. One of its winemakers, Behn Payten, is also the dedicated cider maker and he's producing some outstanding examples, including perry - or pear - cider. The mainstay apple cider gets better and better each year. Made from a blend of apples grown on the family orchard, there's some light carbonation, it's clean and fresh with just the right amount of tartness, dry with the merest suggestion of sweetness on the finish. Super refreshing, it goes down a treat on its own, chilled of course. From Prince Wine Store.

UP TO $10

Henney's Frome Valley Herefordshire Apple-sweet Cider 500ml $8

LAST year, Henney's dry cider won best in show at the Australian Cider Awards and this year, its apple-sweet snaffled the top gong. All this from a relative newcomer to the cider scene, Herefordshire-based Mike Henney, who started making the drink as a hobby in 1996. Now it's a full-scale business. The apple-sweet is an alluring golden hue in the glass, smelling of baked and bruised apples, quite a spicy nose, just the right amount of fizz and it's true, it is fruit-sweet, not sugary, with a dry, fresh finish. Love it. Henney's dry and apple-sweet ciders are available at Bottle House, South Yarra.

UP TO $10

Henry of Harcourt Duck & Bull 500ml $8.50

THE Henry family at Harcourt has long been making excellent cider using fruit grown locally and on the property with no added water, concentrates or artificial flavours. Duck & Bull is Henry of Harcourt's premium draft cider and it's super, super dry, even if there's a perception of apple sweetness on the finish, so it's a good one to slake a thirst. There's just a touch of spritz and it's aromatic with a baked-apple note, lively, with real depth to it. From Blackhearts & Sparrows outlets.

UP TO $30

Weidmann & Groh Bohnapfel Halbtrocken 1 Litre $22

WEIDMANN & Groh are the producers, ''halbtrocken'' means semi-dry and ''bohnapfel'' is the famous apple used in ''apfelwein'' - apple wine - in the Frankfurt region. It's unusual having just a single variety to make a cider, yet this has loads of complexity. It's quite aromatic, full of white blossom, obvious fresh and just-poached apple fragrance and, while semi-dry, there's just a hint of fruit sweetness before a fairly dry fresh finish. Beaut for a picnic with a screw cap, and with a litre there's plenty to share. From Carlton Cellars.