Grappling with cider

Here’s something for would-be marketers to grapple with – what to call a drink made from grapes and apples? Grapple cider, of course, say the Scarpantoni brothers of McLaren Vale.

They’ve been making wine since 1979, but just before vintage in 2011 bought apples from a producer in the Adelaide Hills. The producer wanted them to make apple vinegar for him and the Scarpantonis agreed – but decided to produce something of their own as well.

With the apple supply lined up, they picked chardonnay and gamay grapes, extracted and chilled the juice and waited for the apple crop. A month later the orchardist shipped fresh, chilled apple juice to the winery.

The resulting white and red grapple ciders (70 per cent grape juice, 30 per cent apple juice) are available online.

Oxenberry McLaren Vale Adelaide Hills
White Grapple Cider 12X500ml $90

Oxenberry’s blend of early-picked McLaren Vale chardonnay and Adelaide Hills apples, offers a pleasantly tart flavour, reminiscent of a barely-ripe granny smith apple. Although there’s some sweetness underlying the flavour, the tangy tartness cuts through, leaving a fresh, dry finish. At eight per cent alcohol, it’s strong than beer, weaker than wine.

Oxenberry McLaren Vale Adelaide Hills Red Grapple Cider 12X500ml $90
The colour’s a vivid, light, bright pink rather than red and the aroma could easily pass for a rose wine. Those fresh, simple raspberry/strawberry aromas are challenged on the palate by apple-like flavours and a tangy, tart acidity – probably derived from both early picked gamay and the apples.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 18 January 2012 in The Canberra Times