Appleman Primo is new to the Australian Cider market. You probably haven’t seen the Appleman in any of the major retailers. But this cider by a wine maker is very well-traveled. Conceived in Bondi, made and grown in Batlow, some have been spotted in trendy South East Asia. It is such a globetrotter it has a postcard on the label.

I met with Megan Broberg on a sunny afternoon in a Bondi Beach Cafe. We started chatting about Appleman Ciders and the struggles of getting a new cider into the market.


Postcards from the road

It’s not often I get to taste test a cider from the US. However, Appleman’s Primo Cider could be the first Australian cider to make it into regular sales in the US, soon to be sending postcards home from California in the coming months.

The Appleman nearly didn’t even make it to local shelves. First the semi transparent labels played havoc with the laser guided bottling lines. Then a deal with distributors fell through, nearly sending the Appleman packing his bags.

Before starting Appleman, Broberg was a wine maker specializing in Methode Tradionelle (champagne style) wines. She has chosen a selection of red apples like Royal Gala and Pink Lady grown in Batlow to make the Primo. The juice is fermented completely dry, using a champagne style wine yeast. Here’s where it get’s interesting, to sweeten it back up a little with some unfermented juice. This back sweetening juice has gone through a process of reverse osmosis. This process strips about 30% of the water from the fresh juice. I’m not sure where I stand on this process. On one hand it is technically a concentrate, the enemy of real cider. On the other hand, it’s not a normal heat treating concentrate method, which evaporates the undesired water, whilst ruining the original apple flavour. This heat based concentration needs to be compensated by added sugar and bulked out with water. At least its made from the same local apples that form the base cider and not made from imported concentrate. The Primo, because of the reverse osmosis procedure does not need the addition of sugar or water .

The whole fermentation takes place under a blanket of nitrogen. This stops the oxygen from interacting with the juice which can cause it to darken and develop baked or stewed apple flavours.

Appleman Primo

The Nose

Crispy red ripe apples and fresh cut straw. There is something else in there, I’ve smelt it before in a few ciders. It reminds me of chocolate without really being chocolate.

The Taste

The Primo is firmly putting those red apples at the top of the bill. You can see the wine maker influence here. That champagne yeast has been trained to make it sharp. It gives off a nice fresh bite. The back sweetening is quite pronounced. It lingers large in the finish. Some nice acids coupled with sprightly bubbles make the Primo quite uplifting.

Final Thoughts on The Primo

Appleman’s Primo is one of the prettiest bottles on the market. Saying that it may have changed by the time it gets to the US.  The label says “Not too sweet, not too dry.” Fair call for the current market. There are some really nice flavours in there. The finish is a little long for my preferences but that’s not going to stop me drinking it again. Broberg did mention the possibility of a Methode Tradionelle in the future. With her background and this as a starting point, it would be something that I’d be very keen to try. It would sit well in the range between the Primo and the other two, which include a cider with dash of rose-water and the other which is fermented with green tea.

Product Primo
Company Appleman
Sweetness Medium
Alc/Vol  4.5%
Country of Origin Australia
Region New South Wales

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