Quaffers: 5 stars for Small Acres Cyder's The Cat's Pyjamas 2013


Like winemakers along the southern NSW tablelands, James Kendall loved the 2013 vintage. However, Kendall's enthusiasm is for cider apples, not grapes.

In 2006, with wife Gail, Kendall bought bare land at Borenore, near Orange. They established the Small Acres Cyder business and planted three hectares of English and French cider apple varieties.

Kendall, with local winemaker Chris Derrez, makes most of his cider off-site from purchased fruit. However, in good seasons, he uses his own cider varieties and cellar to make a bottle-fermented cider.

He uses the traditional rack and cloth method to extract juice from the apples. This oxidative process enriches the flavour and deepens the colour of the resulting cider, which undergoes a secondary fermentation and 24 months' maturation in bottle.

The just-released 2013 vintage replaces the sold-out 2011 vintage, winner of the champion Australian cider trophy at the 2013 Australian Cider Awards.

Small Acres Cyder The Cat's Pyjamas 2013
750ml $33

Maker James Kendall writes, "We named the Cat's Pyjamas after the 1920s saying meaning the best that you can do. It's certainly not your average cider". Bottle fermented and aged for two years, it pours deep lemon-gold with persistent small bubbles. It's ultra fresh and mature at the same time, with delicious, piquant pure apple flavour.

Wychwood Brewery Pile Driver Classic English Ale
500ml $6

Wychwood's loveable, deep-amber-coloured ale remains a winter favourite, with its warm, malty, molasses-like aroma. The rich, smooth palate reflects the aroma. And spicy, herbal hops cut through the malt adding flavour and a long, persistent bitter finish. The malt-hops combination delivers flavour galore despite a modest 4.3 per cent alcohol content.