Ferme de Beau Soleil Cidre Fermier Brut

Review of Ferme de Beau Soleil’s Cidre Fermier Bio Brut, a French “Farmer’s Cider”.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery, although I am a fan of French cidre (see some of my reviews here).

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Cider:  Cidre Fermier Bio Brut
Cidery:  Ferme de Beau Soleil
Cidery Location:  Matignon, Brittany, France
ABV:  5%
How Supplied:  750ml champagne corked & caged bottles
Style:  Breton French cidre

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Availability:  likely limited, imported by “Wines of France”

Cider Description:  Google translated as To offer you this raw cider, I have selected and assembled the best varieties of apples live from my orchards.  Since a slow fermentation and craftsmanship, its characteristic fruity taste will seduce you with an aperitif, until dessert.

Cidery Description:  The Renouard family has been making cider since 1975, and were certified organic in 2008.  The current cidermaker is Thomas Renouard (one source said its a one-man operation-wow).

Price:  $12
Where Bought:  Full Throttle Bottles in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, the first time I had been in since their long closure for remodel

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First Impression:  Light orange amber hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of bittersweet cider apples and yeast.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Low acidity, tannins, and funk.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness.  Notes of bittersweet cider apples & pomace, caramel, yeast, earth, leather, and orange.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor and flavor intensity.  Moderate to high complexity and sessionability.

My Opinion:  Excellent!  This cider had some nice stages, from tart to flavorful & funky to tannic.  I really liked everything about it – flavor profile, complexity, tannins, funk, etc.  It was edging towards rustic, yet without any sourness (which is my least liked quality).  However, it didn’t quite have as much of that fluffy texture (body) I love with French cidres (which I assume is from the keeving process), I’m guessing as it wasn’t as carbonated as many selections.

Most Similar to:  Pierre Huet AOC Pays D’Auge CidreManoir de Grandouet AOP Pays d’Auge CidreManoir de Grandouet Cidre Fermier BrutL’Hermitiére Cidre Brut, and Christian Drouin Pays d’Auge

Closing Notes:  I liked how this combined my favorite elements of both Brittany and Normandy ciders – sweeter, apple-forward, funky, but not sour.  It also hits a nice price point, about average of what I’ve seen.

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

Manoir de Grandouet Cidre Fermier Brut

Review of Manoir de Grandouet Cidre Fermier Brut.  It is my first time trying this one, but French cidre isn’t new to me; here are some of the ones I’ve tried.

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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:  Cidre Fermier Brut
Cidery:  Manoir de Grandouet
Cidery Location:  Pays d’Auge, Normandy, France
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  corked & caged champagne bottle
Style:  Norman French cidre, Brut (which means “dry”, but for French cider is typically semi-dry ish, vs. the sweeter “doux”)

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Do you ever notice how French cidery and cidre names all seem to sound the same, and often even the labels look the same?  I have a tough time remembering which ones I’ve tried!  Having a list has definitely come in handy.

Availability:  Semi wide release in the U.S. through Winesellers, Ltd.  Their cider portfolio also includes Le Brun, Domaine de la Minotiere, & Cidrerie Daufresne from France, Dunkertons from England, and Sidra Asturiana Mayador from Spain.  Or, if you are lucky enough to live in France, the Grandouet cidery’s website has a cider locator.

Cider Description:  After a long and slow fermentation of about 5 months, the cider is bottled and kept in our cellars for more than a year. It develops tannic, smoked and slightly leather aromas.  Lovers of traditional cider will appreciate this cider of character, rustic and drier.  Yellow-orange, it has a slight bitterness which makes it a thirst quenching cider.  This cider can be enjoyed during a meal, accompanied by dishes (meats, fish, seafood) or Norman cheeses (Camembert of Normandy AOP, Pont-L’Evêque PDO and Livarot PDO).  It can also be enjoyed in kir, with a cream of fruits (raspberry, blackberry, blackcurrant).

Cidery Description:  Grandouet is located in the heart of Pays d’Auge at 2 km from the village of Cambremer on the “Route du Cidre”. The terroir and the climate make it a privileged site for cider products.  In this typical farm of the Pays d’Auge, dedicated to apple and milk AOC, the production remains faithful to the traditions and know-how transmitted to the Grandval family for three generations.

It is amazing how old and generational many French cideries are!  Their website has more info on their family cidermaking history (it is in French, but the Chrome browser at least has a translate option, at the right side of the web address area).

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $11)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the importer contacted me (I previously reviewed their Dunkertons cider)

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First Impression:  Moderate orange amber hue.  Moderate carbonation and high foam.  Smells of funky ripe yeasty French apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied, with a very frothy fluffy texture.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins, bitterness, and funk.  No sourness.  Notes of ripe cooked bittersweet apples and pomace, residual yeast, orange, butterscotch, and earth/smoke.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate to high apple flavor and sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity and complexity.

My Opinion:  Great!  I loved how the ripe apple yeasty funky characteristics of Norman cider were expressed without any perceived sourness, which can be common (such as in Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouche).  I liked that this was more rich than fruity.  It would make a great introduction to Normandy cider for someone who had only tried the easier to drink Breton ciders from Brittany France (which are typically completely clean, ie. free of funk and sourness, plus often sweeter).  The funk in this cider was primarily in the scent, and subsided a bit over time, so if you find funk off-putting (like my husband), I’d recommend pouring the cider and letting it sit a bit before drinking.  The level of sweetness was spot-on for me.  It was quite frothy though, which slowed me down a bit while drinking it, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Most Similar to: L’Hermitiére Cidre Brut (very much so), Manoir De Montreuil Cambremer, and Christian Drouin Pays d’Auge, or for a rare U.S. made French-style cider, 2 Towns Traditions Cidre Bouche

Closing Notes:  I’m glad I got to try this cider, as I’m not sure if it is available locally.  I have several other French ciders from the importer/distributor to try next, including another from this same cidery.

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?