Louis Raison Rouge Delice

Review of Louis Raison Rouge Delice.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve also sampled their Organic Dry version.  This article gives a nice overview of the cidery, such that they started in 1923, and are the top selling cidermaker in France.

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Cider:  Rouge Delice
Cidery:  Louis Raison
Cidery Location:  Le Theil-sur-Huisne France
ABV:  5.5%
Brix:  6.57 (23 g sugar / 11.2 oz)
How Supplied:  six pack of 11.2 oz bottles
Style:  commercial French cider, from 10% Rouge Delice red-fleshed apples + 90% bittersweet apples

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Availability:  wide release in Europe, plus at least sold in Washington & Oregon in the U.S. since March 2018

Cider Description:  [Rouge Delice] is comprised of Rouge Delice and Bittersweet apples. Rouge Delice apples – grown only in France – are recognized for their unique red flesh, delivering the natural rose hue of the liquid itself.  On the nose, this cider is citrusy with bright acidity, accompanied by hints of strawberry and cranberry.  The taste is floral with hints of white tea, spiced apple, and melon.  Rouge Delice finishes with a soft, sweet hint of playful plum and fruit flavors. 2017 Tastings Gold Medal recipient.

Ingredient List:  hard cider, apple juice, liquid sugar, citric acid, natural flavors, color: E163

Cidery Description:  Observing the growth that the American cider industry has experienced, Louis Raison saw an exciting opportunity to introduce high-quality French cidre to US consumers. With such a rich history in cider making, it seemed like a natural fit. After almost a century of production, the Raison team has shown dedication to the longevity of their cider-making expertise, respect for its cooperative values, and the development of sustainable agriculture. Nothing short of a modern-day family, it is only with the knowledge and expertise of its 300 producers and members of the cooperative that Louis Raison has become the market leader of cidre in France. Years of experience have earned Louis Raison the mastery of the sustainable cultivation of apples from orchard to glass. Ultimately, Louis Raison is proud of its cooperative spirit – between producers of apples, employers of factory workers, and providers to cider drinkers alike, all are a part of the Raison family. Santé!

Price:  ~$2 / single bottle (runs ~$9.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about them online, and tried another variety at Cider Summit last year

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First Impression:  Light red hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells sweet, of apple, and slightly fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Sweet.  Medium bodied with a fluffy texture.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Hints of tannins.  Notes of sweet apple, strawberry, and watermelon, with hints of rich bittersweet apple.  Quick finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate to high flavor intensity.  High sessionability.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I really liked the flavor, but it was a bit too sweet for me.  Perfect for summer though.

Most Similar to:  Two other French ciders I’ve had which were made using red-fleshed apples, Domaine du Verger Rosé Cidre Bouche and La Chouette Cidre Rosé.  All three only used red-fleshed varieties as part of a blend.  The La Chouette was my favorite of the three, as it isn’t as sweet, but still flavorful, the most complex, and the least commercial tasting, although it also cost the most per ounce.

Closing Notes:  Louis Raison’s ciders are definitely more commercial tasting than most other French ciders I’ve tried, but are at a nice low price point, and will likely eventually be fairly widely distributed, and therefore able to introduce more folks to French cider, which I think overall is a good thing.  I think it was slightly deceptive to name this ‘Rouge Delice’ and highlight their use of this red-fleshed apple variety when they were only 10% of the mix, but at least the ingredient list on the label clearly stated the percentage, which is better than some other cideries have done (Angry Orchard, I’m thinking of you).

Side Note:  If you are interested in trying American ciders from 100% red-fleshed apples, I recommend Alpenfire GlowAlpenfire Cinders, and Snowdrift Red.

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

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Kystin Cuvée XVII

Review of Kystin’s Cuvée XVII, a French cidre.  The “XVII” refers to the 16 apple varieties plus a 17th ingredient, chestnuts.  I’ve previously tried their Opalyne.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by French Cider Inc. / Beauchamp Imports.  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:  Cuvée XVII
Cidery:  Kystin
Cidery Location:  Brittany France
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  Breton French Demi-Sec (sweet) cidre from 16 varieties of cider apples, with chestnuts

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Availability:  limited, imported by French Cider Inc.

Cider Description (translated):  After seven long years of experimentation, a maceration of chestnut, raw, crushed, for many months in the juice will finally be retained to tie apple and chestnut: La Cuvée XVII is born!  Today, it offers us a particularity and unique flavor, amazing Chefs and Sommeliers of very beautiful establishments, honoring the Gastronomy and knowing how to put forward the difference.  Its sublime amber color, its tuberous nose, its attack very fresh honeyed apples gradually gives place to the flavors of Chestnut and its notes of undergrowth.  There is also the creamy chestnut, cocoa and floral notes very intense. 

Cidery Description:  Created in 2012, Kystin offers a range of original and very unique gourmet ciders, made of unusual ingredients such as chestnuts, pears and ginger. With a history dating back to the 14th century, Kystin ciders combine fruit, tradition and authenticity to create an unforgetabble taste. The brand recently released “Kalysie” – a pear ginger cider named as a tribute to the Khaleesi character from popular TV series Game of Thrones.

Price:  n/a (retails for $26.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  through French Cider Inc.

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First Impression:  Light orange hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells of sweet apple with earth and nut.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Moderate tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of bittersweet cider apple & pomace, yeast, nuts, orange, leather, and earth.  Long tannic nutty finish.  High apple flavor, sessionability, and complexity.  Moderate to high flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  Excellent!  I love the uniqueness of this cider.  Quite complex and flavorful.  Probably the most tannic French cidre I’ve ever had, which I enjoyed, and the nuttiness paired perfectly.  Also less sweet than I was expecting for a Demi-Sec, which makes it quite versatile.  I drank this at cellar temperature (in between fridge & room temps), which the cidery recommended, and I agree with.

Most Similar to:  I’ve actually tried two Chestnut themed ciders, an English cider aged in a Chestnut wood cask (Sandford Orchards Chestnut Cask), and a cider with Chestnut crabapples and aged with toasted oak spirals (Number 12 Chestnut), but neither were with actual chestnuts.  The most nutty cider I’ve had was an English Perry from Hogan’s, but again, no nuts.

Closing Notes:  Next up is Kystin’s Kalysie, a perry (100% pears) with ginger.  So far I’m quite impressed, especially considering this is a relatively new cidery (2012), especially in comparison to the age of many other French cideries which have been around for generations.

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

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?

Herout AOC Cotentin Brut 2015

Review of Herout AOC Cotentin Brut 2015, an Organic French cidre.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Extra Brut.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Beauchamp Imports / French Cider Inc.  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: Cotentin Brut (2015 harvest)
Cidery:  Herout AOC
Cidery Location:  Cotentin Peninsula, Normandy, France
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottle
Style:  Organic French cidre, from cider apples, brut (dry)

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Availability:  In Washington, through Beauchamp Imports, plus online at their French Cider Inc. website.  In addition to Cotentin Brut, they also offer Herout’s Cotentin Extra-Brut.

Cider Description:  We are currently offering bottles of the award-winning 2015 vintage, Cidre Cotentin Brut! Hérout à Auvers is the only French cider producer who puts a vintage date on their bottles. The date represents the year the apples where harvested.  Like a fine wine, the flavor evolves with time and we think the 2015 Brut is just about perfect right now.  to heighten the flavor experience,  decant/carafe it before drinking. Cotentin Brut cider is made from 100% organic, naturally-fermented cider apple juice.

Cidery Description:  Since the 1940s, Hérout cidre has been produced by the Hérout family on the Cotentin Peninsula on the Northwest coast of Normandy France, in Auvers, where apples thrive in its lush and oceanic climate.  They are the newest cidre AOC in France, since May 2016.  The cidermaker Marie-Agnes Herout was just awarded the highest civilian honor in France for her 16 years of work getting the AOC recognized – Le Croix de Chevalier, Legion d’Honneur (Knights Cross for the Legion of Honneur).

See here for more information on the cider and here for more information on the cidery.

Price:  n/a (retails for $23.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the importer Joan Harkins contacted me (we met at Cider Summit Seattle 2017)

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First Impression:  Light orange amber hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells of apple, must, funk, and yeast.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, tannins, and funk.  Moderate bitterness.  No sourness.  Notes of bittersharp apple pomace, yeast, orange, and caramel.  Long bitter finish.  Moderate flavor intensity and complexity.  Low sessionability and apple flavor.

My Opinion:  I personally wasn’t a fan.  However, it is a well made cider – just too bitter and dry for my preferences.  Every cider isn’t for everyone, so its great we have so many choices.  This is probably the driest French cider I’ve had (surprisingly I perceived this Brut version as drier than their Extra Brut version).

I’d recommend it for for folks who like French cider, but find most too sweet, as well as wine lovers.  Note that the importer recommended to let this breathe a bit before drinking to bring out more flavor, so I poured a glass and stuck it back in my cellar-temperature cider fridge for a bit.

Most Similar to:  Herout AOC Cotentin Extra Brut

However, for drier French ciders, I personally prefer Cidrerie Daufresne Brut, Domaine de la Minotiere Cidre Fermier Bio Brut, and Pierre Huet AOC Pays D’Auge Cidre, although those are all a bit sweeter than both Herout selections.

Closing Notes:  If you are a fan of drier ciders, this is as dry as it gets for a French cider!

Have you tried Herout cidre?  What did you think?

La Chouette Cidre Rosé

Review of La Chouette Cidre Rosé, a French rosé cidre, made from apples (including red-fleshed) and pears.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Demi-Sec (see here).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Beauchamp Imports / French Cider Inc.  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:  Rosé
Cidery:  La Chouette Cidre
Cidery Location:  Saint-Pair-sur-Mer, France
ABV:  4.5%
How Supplied:  330ml (12oz) single bottles
Style:  French cidre from apples (including red-fleshed) and pears, demi-sec

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Availability:  In Washington, through Beauchamp Imports, plus online at their French Cider Inc. website.  In addition to La Chouette’s Rosé, they also offer their Demi-Sec.

Cider Description:  La Chouette Cidre Rosé is an all-natural craft cidre made from red-fleshed apples and pears – giving it a beautiful rose color and a bright, crisp demi-sec flavor. Thirst quenching and easy to drink, our 2018 prediction is that it will become one of your favorites.  No gluten, no added sugar and no added flavoring.

Cidery Description:  La Chouette—which means “the Owl” in French—refers to the surprising bond between this elusive night bird and French cidre. Traditionally, many farmers in the northwest of France made their own cidre with apples from their orchards. Often, the farmers made their cidre in barns, where the owls could be seen watching over the production from their perches under the roof. Thus La Chouette has always looked after French cider and continues to look over our cidre today.

See here for more on the cidery, and here for more on the cider.

Price:  n/a (retails for $5.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the importer Joan Harkins contacted me (we met at Cider Summit Seattle 2017)

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First Impression:  Moderate red hue.  Smells of pear, watermelon, and strawberry.  Moderate carbonation.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Light bodied, with a fluffy texture.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of canned pear, watermelon, strawberry, green apple, and lemon.  Long tart fruity finish.  Moderate complexity.  High sessionability.  Moderate to high pear flavor and flavor intensity.  Low apple flavor.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I really enjoyed everything about it – flavor, texture, complexity, and balance.  The flavor has a lot of the notes from the red-fleshed apples, plus pear.  You can tell that this is naturally (not force) carbonated, as it has such a fluffy texture, which helped make it seem lighter bodied than is typical for this level of sweetness.

Most Similar to:  nothing I’ve had, as this was like a combination of French poire (perry) and cider from red-fleshed apples

Closing Notes:  I found this far superior to most American commercial rosé selections.  It was more on par to ciders from red-fleshed apples (such as Alpenfire Glow and Snowdrift Red), although it had the added French and pear components.

Have you tried French cidre or rosé cider?  What did you think?

Cidre de Rhuys Brut

Review of Cidre de Rhuys Brut, from France.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  Brut
Cidery:  Cidre de Rhuys
Cidery Location:  Brittany France
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  330ml and 750ml bottles, and kegs
Style:  French cidre from the Brittany region

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Availability:  semi wide release (see here)

Description:  For three generations our family has perfected the craft of making artisanal natural cider. Made from only freshly harvested fruit, each apple is carefully selected and hand picked. A slow fermentation allows the cider to develop its rich fine flavours and gentle acidity without the use of added sulfites or pasteurization. Award winning in both regional and international competitions, please enjoy our cider fresh and lightly chilled.

Price:  ~$4?
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  It was the only French cidre available at the time in single serve bottles, and I hadn’t tried it.

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First Impression:  Moderate brown amber hue.  Very high carbonation with some foam (I ended up spilling about 1/3 of the bottle upon opening!).  Smells of sweet bittersweet apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied with a fluffy texture.  Low tartness, acidity, bitterness, and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of primarily apple pomace, with some brown sugar and caramel.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate flavor intensity, apple flavor, and sessionability.  Low to moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, its not one of my favorite French cidres.  It smelled quite sweet and of apple juice, but the flavor was surprisingly dry and mild, of apple skin, with some hints of richness.  With the flavor profile I think I would have liked it a bit sweeter.

Most Similar to:  Herout AOC Cotentin Extra-Brut and Aval.  However, for a single serve Brittany France cidre, I prefer Celt (this has a bit less sweetness and more complexity though) as well as Lefevre Winter Cidre.

Closing Notes:  This also comes in a Doux version, and in larger bottle sizes, but I’ve only seen this one.

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

Eric Bordelet Sidre Tendre

Review of Eric Bordelet’s Sidre Tendre.  It is my first time trying this one, but I’ve previously tried Bordelet’s Poire Authentique and Nouvelle Vague Sidre.

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Cider:  Sidre Tendre
Cidery:  Eric Bordelet
Cidery Location:  Normandy, France
ABV:  3.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  sweet sparkling French cidre from cider apples, wild yeast fermented

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Availability:  Semi wide release.  In adition to France and the U.S.A., the website says their ciders are available in Germany, Austria, Great Britain, Spain, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Brasil, and South Africa.

Cider Description:  Smooth fruity citrus cider with aromas of wild apples from low alcoholic autumn – 3.5% / vol. (Accompanies perfectly on desserts and pastries). 

They also make a Brut (dry) version of this cider.  The only difference between the two is that this sweeter version has the fermentation stopped early, while the Brut is allowed to ferment dry.

Cidery Description:  The Bordelet family’s biodynamic orchards are in southern Normandy. The orchards as well as the cider making is undertaken by former Paris sommelier Eric Bordelet. All tolled, the orchard is 37 acres, seven and a half of which bear apple and pear trees 50 years old. The estate holds 20 varieties of apples and 15 varieties of pear. This is cider you are going to want to make a special effort to seek out.

See here and here for more information.

Price:  50% off $17.99
Where Bought:  Downtown Spirits in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing, after attending a cider tasting class taught by Rev Nat.  The shop had a 50% off shelf filled with all sorts of awesome ciders!

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First Impression:  Light orange amber hue.  Low carbonation with some foam.  Smells of complex sweet apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Hints of tannins.  Notes of overripe bittersweet cider apple, yeast, and orange.  High apple flavor and sessionability.  Moderate to high flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  Although this lovely cider is rather juice-like and lower complexity, it is far from boring.  This would make a wonderful introduction to fine cider for someone who is used to drinking sweet commercial cider.  It retained the apple & yeast forward qualities of French cider, but lacks any of the more difficult to appreciate qualities often found in Normandy French cider, such as sourness & funk.  It is amazing that Bordelet can create such a clean cider with wild fermentation.

This would also make a nice brunch cider, due to the lower ABV, and its complex simplicity would make it food-friendly.  Also, although it is rather sweet, it drank like a drier cider (I drank the entire bottle myself and it wasn’t a sugar overload).

Most Similar to:  Christian Drouin Pays d’Auge and Eric Bordelet’s Nouvelle Vague Sidre, although both of those are significantly drier.  Clos des Ducs is sweeter than this, but Eric Bordelet’s ciders are far superior in flavor and complexity.

Closing Notes:  I hope I can find more Eric Bordelet varieties to try!

Have you tried Eric Bordelet sidre?  What did you think?