Le Pere Jules Brut

Review of Le Pere Jules’ Brut 2012 cider, from Normandie France.

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Cider:  Brut
Cidery:  Le Pere Jules
Cidery Location:  Normandie France
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottle
Style:  French cidre

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Availability:  Semi-wide release (apparently one of the easier to find French ciders in the U.S.)

Cider Description:  Our cider is produced from no less than 20 different varieties of apples. This gives it a very nice balance between the sweet, bitter and acidic varieties. After a fermentation process that is modified in its length to produce the “brut”, “demi-sec” and “doux” varieties, and a light filtration, it is bottled in order to naturally develop its own natural gas. This gives it the fine bubbles that we are known for.

Cidery Description:  It was upon his return from the First World War in 1919 that Jules Desfrièches – who had already earned the nickname of “Père” Jules or “Father” Jules – with a love for his region and its apples, decided to turn his passion into his trade. Orphaned at a young age, he was raised by his grandparents, who were themselves in love with Normandy and its treasures. With their help, Jules learned to make cider with the apples from the family farm. He then started to sell his products locally. Due to the appreciation for its quality, the “Jules Desfrièches” cider was more and more in demand in restaurants in Normandy. Then in 1923, Jules distilled Calvados for the first time, without knowing that it was the beginning of an institution.  

In 1949 his son, Léon Desfrièches, joined the family business. On his arrival, he created the brand “Le Père Jules,” in honor of his father. The production continued to expand and the market for cider and calvados developed to the point of being sold in some of the best restaurants in France.  Thierry Desfrièches, the grandson of “Père”Jules joined his father in the business in 1976. With a careful eye on the business and its evolution, the first export sales were started in 1980 in Europe and then later throughout the world.  The son of Thierry, Guillaume Desfrièches, joined the family business after he finished his studies in oenology in 2002 to become the fourth generation in the affair.  Since 1919, quality and rigor are the driving forces of four generations of producers that have continued to be faithful to the traditional methods with a love for their work. Their only wish is to be able to propose the best products.

Price:  ~$12
Where Bought:  World Market
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I hadn’t spotted it at World Market before, only commercial cider (although apparently other World Market locations carry craft cider), and was intrigued as I’ve been getting into French ciders.  I’ve since also spotted it at the Schilling Cider House in Seattle.

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First Impression:  Honey-orange amber hue.  Still.  Smells of bittersweet apples, orange, honey, cork, funk, and sourness.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Moderate bitterness, sourness, and acidity.  Low tartness and funk.  Light to medium bodied.  Long finish.  I found the flavor to be completely off, bad, bizarre, etc…I have no better way to describe it.

My Opinion:  I couldn’t tolerate more than one sip, and was totally not a fan.  And my husband literally spit out his sip.  Down the drain it went.  A friend of mine described a similar flavor to this cider, saying no one at the dinner party would drink it, yet I’ve seen reviews quite to the contrary online.  I think it having no carbonation is a sign of something being wrong, as this cider is supposed to be a sparkling.  So, I conclude this was likely a “bad bottle”.  Its unfortunate this happens to even the best cidermakers a certain percentage of the time, and if its someone’s first exposure to a cider from that brand, they may not give them another chance.

Closing Notes:   Although I have significant doubts as to this being a good sample from Le Pere Jules, this continues the trend of me only liking French ciders from Brittany (such as Le Brun, Celt, and Dan Armor), not Normandy (such as Le Pere Jules, Dupont, and Manoir du Parc)….I like the richer sweeter and more carbonated French ciders than those with any funk or sourness.  Note that I considered not posting this review, but I review every cider I drink, not just those I enjoy, and hopefully this isn’t overly negative.

Have you tried Le Pere Jules?  What did you think?

10 thoughts on “Le Pere Jules Brut

  1. I am almost positive you had a bad bottle. Cidra Cider Room at EStation sells this and I have sampled it out to guests as well. It is a lovely and wonderfully bubbly delicious cider with no funk what so ever. I hope you have the opportunity to try it again!

    Liked by 1 person

      • My husband and I bought a bottle today at Whole Foods Market and while ours was really carbonated (which I love) it, too, was terrible! It was incredibly sour and had an astringent aftertaste that was very medicinal in flavor. My husband took one sip and said he couldn’t drink it then complained of a mild stomach ache. I braved two sips, hoping for some reason the second would be better, but alas, it was just as bad as the first and completely undrinkable. We love cider and are terribly disappointed.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Trish – Thanks for stopping by, and for sharing about your experience. Unfortunately bad bottles happen sometimes, even to experienced cidermakers (as do bottles that are of an extreme style that are undrinkable to some folks). Hopefully you won’t give up on the import category. I can understand being hesitant to retry the same cider again though (that has been the case for me with this one).


    • We had the same experience, sadly. Had to pour the whole bottle out. It tastes exactly like Chloreseptic mouth spray for sore throats. Had the bubbles, but definitely not the flavor. We both spit it out; a shame, really! I think it’s worth noting that it popped before I even finished unwinding the cage. Something was definitely off.


  2. The problem with many excellent French ciders is they don’t travel well. These ciders are delicate and not chemically or thermally stabilized. Hence after crossing the Atlantic in a container and having stayed a number of weeks in an overheated wharehouse, they simply turn bad.
    You’ll have to go at the farm to taste what it should taste like! A good reason to travel to France…
    For my part, I did have bad bottles of Le père Jules, but also good ones. I was judge at GLINTCAP 2014 and awarded a gold to Le père Jules – it was an absolute marvel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh and I forgot to say… When you think a cider bottle might be off, usually it IS off… Then don’t pour it in the drain, but bring it back to the store for a refund.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Claude Jolicoeur – Thank you for checking out my blog! Your reputation proceeds you. Thanks for sharing. Its unfortunate that it doesn’t travel well. Getting a bad bottle can really turn someone off to that cider or French cider or even cider in general if they don’t have a lot of cider experience. I’d love to go cider tasting in France, or England, or a number of places! Take care.


  3. I must have been lucky as I had this cidre in a Portland restaurant this past summer and found it quite nice. As far as French cidre goes I found the flavor to be quite complex, probably due to blending so many apples. I enjoy most all French cidre and I agree with you that cidre from Normandy is drier than those from Brittany. I just ordered a case of Le Pere’ Jules Brut to pick up for Christmas so “fingers” crossed that they will be ok !

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I also purchased a bottle at World Market – though in Nov. 2017, and had the same unfortunate, un-sparkling experience. I brought it to a new friend’s house and was a bit embarrassed by this unpleasant beverage “gift”.

    Liked by 1 person

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