Review of Cidre Bouche Brut De Normandie (2011) from Etienne Dupont.
Interesting side note on vintages: In the U.S. current law does not state that cidermakers are allowed to put a vintage or harvest date (only winemakers). Therefore it is rare to see it here, despite the variations in a cider from year to year. Its great to be able to compare reviews and know that you are actually comparing apples to apples (vs. a different vintage of the same cider).
Cider: Cidre Bouche Brut De Normandie, 2011 vintage
Cidery: Etienne Dupont
Cidery Location: Victot-Pontfol France
How Supplied: 375ml bottle (also available in 750ml size)
Availability: Semi-wide release. See their list of distributors.
Cider Description: Cidre Bouché is created using the traditional method of the Pays d’Auge. Full of fruit and freshness, the taste reveals the aromas of apples and citrus with finesse (“cidre bouché” is a generic term for traditional cider, literally “cider under cork”).
Terroir: Nutrient poor clay and marl soil, perfect for giving small fruit.
Varieties: 80% of bittersweet apples; 20% of acid apples
Harvesting: from October to November
Techniques used: Controlled fermentation in stainless steel vats. Indigenous yeasts. Stabilization of the cider is sought by carrying out successive racking. The fermentation is controlled by successive racking. The cider is bottled unpasteurized between March and April. Density (O.G.): 1060 after pressing, equivalent to 134 g of sugar per litre. 1024 when bottled, which gives 5% alcohol after bottle fermentation has finished.
If well cellared, it can be kept for 5 years after bottling, Because the cider is on its lees, the mouth will improve and become more complex.
Cidery Description: The Louis Dupont Family estate consists of 30 hectares (74 acres) of orchards in Normandy, in the heart of the Pays d’Auge region. The estate produces ciders, pommeau and calvados. For more than 25 years now, the Estate has resolutely followed a path towards high quality. By drawing on the best techniques used to make cognac and its great blends, Etienne Dupont has studied, tried out and refined his cellar work to reach the same levels ofelegance and expressiveness as found in the best wines. Some of these techniques, such as manual sorting of the apples, and even working with an oenologist are found only very rarely in the making of cider.
But just as for wine, the quality of the apples is still the first essential step. It is only after this that the creation of cider can make the most of the apple and its terroir. Specialities of the estate: Ciders bearing a vintage date… a cider blend aged in oak… a blend using traditional methods of making sparkling wines… an apple “sweet wine”… cask strength calvados. Thanks to their qualities of elegance and authenticity, the ciders and calvados from the Domaine Dupont are nowadays appreciated in many countries world-wide. A very great majority of its production goes for export.
See Dupont’s Page on Tasting Cider for some great info. They have an online store which can ship if you aren’t in the U.S. They also offer tours and a tasting room in France.
Where Bought: Total Wine
Where Drank: home
How Found: Recommendation from a fellow cider lover
First Impression: High carbonation and foam. Smells of rich ripe apples, yeast, with a slight funkiness. Hazy deep orange-amber hue.
Opinion: Semi-dry. Very yeasty, earthy, and beer-like. Low acidity. Moderate bitterness. Moderate tannins. Mild sourness and tartness. Mild to moderate funk. Full bodied. More foam than fizz. Long finish. I didn’t find this cider very apple-forward…its other qualities such as the bitterness, funkiness, and foam were a bit overpowering for my palate. It left me wanting the rich ripe apple flavor that I smelled.
Most Similar to: The beer-like aspect reminds me of Square Mile Original, but that is a completely different style of cider. I’ve only tried a handful of French ciders, but I seem to be picking up on two categories…the drier funky ones and the sweeter apple-forward ones. As far as the French ciders I’ve tried, this is more along the lines of Manoir du Parc Authentic Cidre (vs. Le Brun Organic Cidre, Celt Cidre Breton Traditionnel, or Dan Armor Cuvee Speciale Cidre Brut). This one was the former, while I definitely like the later, with the Dan Armor being my favorite so far (especially for $5!).
Closing Notes: I wasn’t really a fan. My husband was though (which makes sense as he is a beer fan). However, Etienne Dupont seems to be a big hit in the cider community, so this is great example of why its great there are so many ciders…there is something for everyone. Just because I didn’t care for a cider doesn’t mean you won’t! It appears that most of their ciders have these qualities (and that this may be on the milder side for them), but I may have to do more research to see if I’d be open to trying any of their other ciders. Often not liking a cider will have me want to try something else from the cidery as much as liking a cider will.
Note that it appears this bottle had been in the store for quite awhile. I bought it in the last month, yet I was able to find reviews online of the 2012, 2013, and 2014 vintages. Being in the store (vs. cellared with light & temperature control) can unpredictably impact the flavor, so its unknown how the flavor of this cider changed during that time.
Have you tried Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouche Brut De Normandie, or any other French ciders? What did you think?