A couple of years ago I reviewed the Small Acres Cats Pyjamas 2011 vintage. 2 years later the central New South Wales cider house has released the 2015 version. So how does it compare to it’s older sibling?
That cider was a made in 2011 vintage and I gave it a taste test in 2015, 4 years of maturing. This one is a little younger only allowed 3 years to mellow out. Small Acres only make the Cats Pyjamas The apple trees blossomed in the spring time of 2014 (September and October for the northern hemisphere readers) the apples were picked late in summer around February, all grown on the Small Acres orchard.
After pressing, the juice is fermented slowly and after its finished the Cats Pyjamas is just left there in the barrel to chill. Occasionally the lees (sediment made up of dead yeast cells and in this case apple flesh) are stirred through to impart a bit of a toasty flavour repeatedly over 24 months.
Further ageing happens with the sediment inside the bottle. Every bottle is then riddled, the process of gently rotating the upside down thick glass bottles so that the sediment runs to the neck of the bottle. This happens over and over again all by hand. Just before the 2015 Cats Pyjamas is ready for sale, it gets disgorged, forming the last step in the Methode Traditionelle process. No cider maker would go to this much trouble if they weren’t proud of their cider. I better get tasting.
I think the this Cat’s Pyjamas might be a horses’ blanket. Infamously French influenced. Thoroughly intriguing mix of over ripe apples and freshly turned soil.
Up front the tartness takes you by surprise and shakes you until toasty lees take over. Plenty of back of the palate acid that have started to mellow, follow through. It’s quirky mix of apples, some tannic, some mineral, some bitter and some sweet. Small Acres have put a whole lot of effort into the Méthode Traditionnelle technique resulting in those massive spikey bubbles that make me keep coming back to ciders like this.
Final Thoughts on the Cat Pyjamas 2015
The result might not be to everyone’s immediate taste but everyone will ask for a second glass just to try and work out what it’s really about. A riot of bitter sharp, bitter sweets, minerals and toasty harmonies, It’s that complexity that only this type of cider can provide. I can’t think of any wine or beer that offers complexity like this. It needs to be experienced.