When I was sitting at the bar at J. Henry's a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a funny looking wine bottle in their cooler. I asked to read the label, and then I knew I had to try it. It was Grafter Rosé, a small-batch cider from Texas Keeper, made with 91% Rome Beauty apples and 9% Tempranillo grapes from Texas. (Sorry the picture is orange. I was having living room lighting issues.)
I've said before that I'm not a big cider fan, but that's because I usually find them too sweet. This cider is dry. It also looks just like a rosé wine, so I guessed it would taste somewhat similar. Here's a tasting note:
- Appearance: translucent, vivid pink
- Aroma: apples, fresh red berries, floral notes, hint of vanilla
- Palate: dry, with tart apples as the primary flavor, plus berries and floral tastes, lightly sparkling (the French call this pétillant, the Italians call it frizzante), a hint of tannin from the grapes, and low alcohol at 8.3%
Basically this tastes like a dry cider with some rosé wine mixed in, and it's a very nice combination. The wine grapes add complexity and texture (the tiny amount of tannin) that ciders don't normally have. It's light and refreshing, and being dry and low in alcohol makes it perfect for summer, when heavier, sweeter, higher-alcohol wines are less appealing.
I love that the bottle shows a sweetness scale to let you know what you're getting. (It may have been inspired by the International Riesling Foundation's sweetness scale. Ciders and Rieslings are both tricky to purchase because they might be sweet or dry, and it's not always easy to tell which they are. Scales like this are a wonderful label innovation.)
If you already like cider, I think you'll enjoy this unusual combination of cider and wine. If you're not a cider fan, I'd encourage you to try it anyway. I had high hopes for Grafter Rosé and I was not disappointed! (And after you drink it you can reuse the cool bottle!)