Photo credit: Nat Mendham

So your dinner party is humming, the mains have just hit the table and you nip to the cellar to retrieve a bottle you’ve been saving for this special occasion. Your guests take a sip and nod with appreciation, noting how well it pairs with the pork. They praise the pleasing flavour expressions of figs, banana, vanilla and toffee, and toast to your good taste. Now imagine that what you just poured your guests was not a fine wine but a glass of cider. Quelle horreur!

Cider has long been pegged as cheap and nasty – sweet lolly-water guzzled by undiscerning youngsters with a palate only for alcohol and a tolerance for wicked headaches, and packaged in plastic bottles with don’t-say-we-didn’t-warn-you names like “Scrumpy” (not thought to be related to the word “scrumptious”). Prepare then to have your preconceptions shattered when you step inside Willie’s Smith’s Apple Shed in Tasmania’s Huon Valley, 40 minutes from Hobart, where cider is sophisticated and apple is once more king.

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