Cider market rules

Growing demand for cider sent Canberra wine distributor Bill Mason in search of a local product for his portfolio.

The search led to brothers Anton and Mark Balog, well-known figures in the Southern Highlands wine community. Anton makes wine for Cherry Tree Hill as well as for Artemis, their own winery. And Mark has been behind extensive vineyard plantings across the region.

Anton now also makes apple and pear cider in the Artemis winery. The fruit is crushed by wooden rollers, basket pressed and, after clarification, combined with spring water, fermented then filtered and carbonated.

The clean, protective process captures the fresh fruit flavour, much as winemakers protect riesling grapes to retain the delicate aromatics and flavours. The brothers plan on opening a wine and cider cellar door facility at Artemis, on the old Hume Highway Mittagong, in November.

Sunshack Apple Cider 500ml $5.80
If tasting like fresh apples means good cider, then this is good cider. The colour’s a bright, pale lemon and the aroma reminiscent of very ripe, sweet apples. The palate, however, delivers the tang and thrust of just-ripe apples, though the flavour seems very ripe. The finish is clean, fresh and dry with an apple-like aftertaste.

Sunshack Pear Cider 500ml $5.80
Capturing pear flavour in cider seems to be more difficult than capturing apple flavours. But Sunshack succeeds better than most – the fresh, ripe, pear character carrying through on the aroma and palate and then lingering on unmistakeably in the dry aftertaste. Brisk acidity gives it life and lift.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 31 October in The Canberra Times