L’Hermitiére Cidre Brut

Review of L’Hermitiére Cidre Brut, a sparkling Farmhouse style cider from Normandy France.  It is my first time trying this one, although I’m a fan of French cidre.

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Cider:  Cidre Brut
Cidery:  Cidrerie L’Hermitiére
Cidery Location:  Le Theil-sur-Huisne, France
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  French cidre

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Availability:  semi wide release

Cider Description:  Cidrerie L’Hermitière Cidre Brut is lively and complex, with the delicate aroma of ripe apples, leather, and freshly mown hay.

Cidery Description:  This cidrerie, which sits among the rolling hills of the Perche region of Normandy, makes only pure juice ciders in the farmhouse style, that ferment naturally and are bottled without any pasteurization or carbonation – a prime example of the ancestral cider-making process.

Price:  $7.99
Where Bought:  The Cave in Kirkland WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I had never seen cider from this cidery.

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<sorry the label got soaked when it decided to bubble over!>

First Impression:  Medium pumpkin amber hue.  Very high carbonation.  Smells apple and yeast forward, with some funk and hints of honey.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied with a frothy texture and very carbonated mouthfeel.  Low tartness, acidity, and tannins.  Hints of bitterness and funk.  No sourness.  Notes of apples, apple pomace, yeast, honey, orange, and butterscotch.  Moderate length finish.  High apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it, with the flavor of a Normandy France cider without the sourness, and without too much funk, plus the higher carbonation level more typical of Brittany France cider, yet more complexity/depth.

Most Similar to:  A milder Normandy France cider.

Closing Notes:  I’m a big fan of French cider (as long as it isn’t sour).  They can be surprisingly affordable too.  Someday I want to go to France and try the less commercial stuff (as I assume that similar to the U.S., the large producers are the ones that have the wider distribution).

Have you tried L’Hermitiére Cidre Brut?  What did you think?

Dan Armor Cuvée Spéciale Cidre Brut

Review of Dan Armor Cuvée Spéciale Cidre Brut, a budget-friendly imported French cider from Trader Joe’s.

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Cider:  Cuvée Spéciale Cidre Brut
Cidery:  Dan Armor
Cidery Location:  Brittany France
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  750ml glass bottle

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Availability:  wide release at Trader Joe’s (since Dec 2014)

Cider Description:  What Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale is to beer, Dan•Armor Cuvée Spéciale Cidre Brut is to hard cider. Hard cider has been around for centuries, and is currently enjoying a huge upswing in popularity. With all the options available, we found ourselves drawn to the cork-finished ciders made in the Brittany region of France, where a co-op of apple growers has been producing small-batch, hand-crafted cider since 1953. Their apples are grown in Brittany, and the cider definitely has a “local flavor” that makes it unlike any of the other ciders we offer.  Dan•Armor is made with two ingredients – fresh-pressed apple juice and brewing yeast. The cider is bottle fermented (like sparkling wine), which allows the live yeast to develop into fine bubbles – small amounts of CO2 are added to create uniform bubbles throughout each batch. It’s dry and crisp (thus the Brut designation), with forward notes of apples, and strong, persistent bubbles. It’s incredibly drinkable and not at all sweet, a refreshing take on a centuries-old classic.

Price:  $4.99
Where Bought:  Trader Joe’s
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Lovely deep golden orange hue.  Highly carbonated.  Significant head upon pouring which quickly dissipated.  Ripe cooked apple, vanilla, caramel, and brown sugar scent.

Opinion:  Between semi-dry & semi-sweet, which was sweeter than I was expecting, but good.  Effervescent mouthfeel.  The ripe cooked apple, vanilla, caramel, & brown sugar notes continue to the flavor.  Crisp & smooth, and very refreshing,  Light-bodied.  Very flavorful and a bit unique, but not bold.  Slight earthiness, but no funk.  I’m curious what apple varieties they use, but couldn’t find detailed information.  Almost no detectable bitterness, acidity, or tartness.  This cider was a crowd pleaser, and the other three tasters I had all agreed it was good.  It quickly disappeared!  Easy to drink, so its probably good it was only 5% ABV.

Most Similar to:  Other French ciders, although this is a bit sweeter than typical I believe.  French cider seems very similar to English cider.

Closing Notes:   Very tasty!  This is an awesome deal for $5 as well.  I’ll be picking up more for sure.

Have you tried Dan Armor Cuvée Spéciale Cidre Brut?  What did you think?