Le Brun Poire

Review of Le Brun Poire, a French perry.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had Le Brun’s Brut and Organic cidres (and several other poires).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Winesellers, Ltd.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

Cider:  Poire
Cidery:  Le Brun
Cidery Location:  Brittany France
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  Breton French poire (perry)

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Availability:  Semi wide release in the U.S. through Winesellers, Ltd (new to their portfolio as of October 2017).  Their cider portfolio also includes Manoir de Grandouet, Domaine de la Minotiere, & Cidrerie Daufresne from France, Dunkertons from England, and Sidra Asturiana Mayador from Spain.

Description:  LeBrun Cidres have been produced in Brittany, France since 1955.  Cidres are made using the traditional method of natural fermentation of pure pressed juices from handpicked pears. It all starts with the fruit. The cidery selects superior quality pears.

The orchards are carefully looked after until maturation of the fruits. The pears are picked by hand in order to prevent any damage. Preparing the fruit before cider making is always a process. The pears are collected and aged in special wooden cases for about 3 weeks in order to enable the fruit to slightly dehydrate and concentrate its aromas. The pears are then ready to be mashed. Once this is done, the result (pulp plus juice) is left to rest in a tank. This helps balance the taste profile of the future perry by sweetening possible harsh overtones. The pulp/juice is pressed again to get pure juice.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $10)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the importer/distributor contacted me

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of candied dried pear and lemon.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  A hint of tannins.  Notes of dried pear, candied pear, lemongrass, green apple, and honey.  Moderate length finish with lingering lemon.  Moderate pear flavor, complexity, and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Great!  I was surprised with the dryness, lightness, and sharpness, as I was expecting something that was sweeter, fuller bodied, and lower acidity, like the others I’ve tried.  Perries are usually on the sweeter end as pear juice has unfermentable sugars (sorbitol).  I liked it however, especially the complexity.  This would be especially nice in summer, at only 4% ABV (and its really affordable too).

Most Similar to:  Not anything I’ve tried.  The other poires I can remember trying were semi-sweet, such as from Christian DrouinDan Armor (the sweetest of these), Domaine Pacory, and Eric Bordelet (the driest of these).

Closing Notes:  This is a great addition to Le Brun’s U.S. lineup, which already has “Brut” and “Organic” varieties of cider.  Winesellers also offers a French perry / poire from Daufresne, which I will be trying soon.

Have you tried Poire?  What did you think?

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Le Brun Organic Cidre

Review of Le Brun Organic Cidre.  I’ve tried this previously on tap (the only cider I’ve tried from Le Brun), but wanted to give a bottle a go.

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Cider:  Organic Cidre
Cidery:  Le Brun
Cidery Location:  Plovan in the Brittany region of France
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged champagne bottle
Style:  Brittany French cidre, organic, secondary fermented

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Availability:  semi wide release (imported by Winesellers Ltd., Niles IL)

Cider Description:  This cider presents lightly sweet, fruit and then develops to be more dry as the taste goes on.  Tannins feel fairly high, acidity is moderate and a fairly bitter/sharp to end, with a mild hint of wood in the aftertaste.  This cider has a juicy feel to it, but also has depth and character.

Apple Varieties: Kermerrien, Marie Ménard, Douce Moên, Peau de Chien, Douce Coëtligné

Cidery Description:  Le Brun Cidres have been produced in Brittany, France since 1955.  our cidres are made using the traditional method of natural fermentation of pure pressed juices from handpicked apples

Price:  $10.99
Where Bought:  The Wine Seller in Port Townsend WA, which had a nice cider selection for a small shop, including this one (which I haven’t seen locally lately) and a couple others I hadn’t even seen in Seattle (I picked up one other bottle too)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing

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First Impression:  Amber orange hue.  Moderate carbonation with foam upon pouring.  Smells of rich apples with hints of funk and must.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, funk, and tannins.  No sourness or bitterness.  Notes of bittersweet apples, apple juice, apple pomace, orange, floral, and must.  Moderate length finish.  High apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed this.  I’m a fan of Brittany France ciders in general too (but not typically Normandy France ciders, which tend to have sourness).  However, I remember it tasting more clean (no funk) when I tried it on tap, which I prefer.

Most Similar to:  Other ciders from Brittany France, such as Celt and Dan Armor, which I think I slightly prefer, and are both more affordable too ($8 for a four pack of 11.2oz bottles of Celt and $5 for a 750ml bottle of Dan Armor – only sold at Trader Joe’s).

Closing Notes:   This is a nice selection from Le Brun.  I hope I can find their other varieties locally to try (I know at least a couple others get imported).

Have you tried French Cidre?  What did you think?

Schilling Cider House Visit 4 Tasting Notes

Another trip to the Schilling Cider House!  I always have a blast (especially now that Sarah from Cider Log works there), and its kinda on my way home, and pretty affordable for a cider flight, so I make time for it when I can.

I had barely sat down this time when Sarah asked my opinion on the sweetness level of Cockrell’s Valley Red (raspberry) they had just tapped (as they color code the tap list by sweetness level).  My vote was semi-sweet.  I actually tried that one at the Seattle Cider tasting room (The Woods) awhile back.  Bright cherry-pink hue.  Semi-sweet.  Nicely balanced tart-sweet,  The raspberry comes across with a nice bite, and is easily noticeable, but not overpowering.

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Then, I ordered a flight.  It actually wasn’t too difficult to find 6 I hadn’t tried before, as they have 32 cider taps.

2015-10-09 15.29.24 Wandering Aengus Byrd, 8.5% ABV:
Made from Wickson Crabapples and Nehou English Bittersweets, wild fermented.  Semi-dry to Dry.  Orangeish hue.  Lots of crabbapple flavor and heavy tannins.  Richer but light bodied.  Slight funk.  Not too much bitterness.  Nice tang.  Quite tasty, my favorite Wandering Aengus so far by far (usually not a big fan of them or their subsidiary Anthem).  Reminds me of English cider.  Apparently the name was because a bird made a nest on top of the tank, so they decided to name whatever cider they made a variation on bird.

2015-10-09 15.29.33 Jester & Judge Sharp Cherry, 5.8% ABV:
First time I’ve tried Jester & Judge, although I have a bottle of their cider in the fridge to try.  They are a newish cidery out of Stevenson WA.  Semi-dry.  Orange/pink hue.  Very very mild cherry.  Some tartness.  Overall kinda blah.  I’d call it Hint of Cherry, not Sharp Cherry lol.  I guess I’m just a fan of bolder flavor.  By the way, my favorite cherry cider so far is made by Washington Gold, and has a lovely bold real tart cherry flavor.

2015-10-09 15.29.43 Blue Mountain Semi-Sweet, 6.3% ABV:
Second time I’ve tried Blue Mountain (only tried their Peach before).  Semi-dry.  Floral scent.  Kinda watered down tasting / mildly flavored.  Some tartness and some bitterness.  Very mild tannins.  Floral and citrus notes.  Easy drinking and I think this would be widely appealing.  Overall kinda average.

2015-10-09 15.29.53 Le Brun Organic Cidre, 4% ABV:
French cidre!  Semi-sweet.  Nice richer flavor with mild tannins.  I pick up some apple skin type flavor with this one, and its a bit larger bodied than some other French ciders I’ve had.  Overall quite good, but as far as French ciders go, I prefer Dan Armor, which I found to be more flavorful.  They carry this in bottles at the Schilling Cider House by the way.

2015-10-09 15.30.06 Waupoos Premium, 6.5% ABV:
I’ve heard of this cidery from Ontario Canada, but hadn’t had a chance to try their cider. On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Plain yeasty apple scent.  Some tartness, bitterness, and acidity, but rather mild.  A rather basic cider without much flavor, but I don’t really have any complaints about it either.  Well-hidden ABV.

2015-10-09 15.30.17 Doc’s Raspberry on Nitro, 5.5% ABV:
I’ve been wanting to try Doc’s.  Sarah recommends their Sour Cherry, but I haven’t seen it yet.  This one was weird…I picked up some saltiness.  Maybe from the tap line?  It also unfortunately didn’t take well to the Nitro (there wasn’t any noticeable Nitro influence; typically the ciders get really foamy & smooth).  Semi-sweet.  Nicely balanced tart-sweet raspberry.  Smelled better than it tasted though.  I’ll have to give them another try.

Overall:  The only ciders I truly enjoyed from my flight were the Wandering Aengus (oddly enough) and Le Brun.  I kinda wished I had got a flight of the ciders I knew I liked that they had on tap, but I’m a sucker for trying new things, especially ciders, and especially when I haven’t tried anything from that cidery.

While I was there they also put together a very unique Randall using Schilling Oak Aged cider, mushrooms, walnuts, and black olives!  The olives cam through most in the scent.  The taste was quite earthy with some funk, and a bit chunky honestly (I got the first pour I think).  It wasn’t as bad as it sounds though, although a couple sips was plenty.  Looks like Friday afternoons are their typical Randall time, as the same thing happened during my previous visit.

Sarah also shared some of a bottle of Aspall Dry with me!  This was the very first Aspall variety I had (at the Seattle International Beerfest; see my post here), and is quite excellent.  Its an awesomely crisp apple-forward semi-dry cider.  I haven’t been disappointed by any Aspall variety yet, and am looking forward to trying the bottle of Imperial I have at home.

So, all in all, obviously I highly recommend the Schilling Cider House!  By the way, the Schilling Cider House has a monthly potluck.  The next one is on Thursday October 22 from 5-9pm, and being called Dude…Sweet, with a theme of sweeter ciders, and asking folks to bring in sweet treats to share.  There will even be a new Schilling release!