Lefevre Winter Cidre

Review of Lefevre Winter Cidre.  It is my first time trying this cider, but I have had Lefevre’s Cidre Brut, and many other French cidres.

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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:  Winter Cidre
Cidery:  Lefevre
Cidery Location: Berville, France
ABV:  5.9%
How Supplied:  330ml bottles
Style:  French cidre, from cider apples, demi-sec, with cinnamon, orange, & raspberries

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Availability:  In Washington, through Beauchamp Imports, plus online at their French Cider Inc. website.  In addition to Winter Cidre, they also offer Lefevre’s Demi-Sec and Brut.

Cider Description:  This delectable cidre is perfect for long winter evenings. Appreciate the apple flavor, subtly infused with cinnamon, orange, and raspberries, and enjoy the light effervescence. This original recipe is created by taking the pure apple juice of Lefevre Demi-Sec cidre and icing it at minus-18 degrees Celsius for five days in stainless steel tanks. The resulting rich apple flavor provides a structure for the infusion of cinnamon, orange, and raspberries, resulting in this very flavorful beverage.

See here for more information on the cider.

Cidery Description:  The family-owned Lefevre cidery has crafted cidre for over 200 years on their farm in Berville, on the border of the Val d’Oise and Picardy regions in Northwest France, where the countryside is covered with apple trees instead of apple vines.

See here for more information on the cidery.

Price:  n/a (retails for $6.49)
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:  Medium orange amber hue.  Moderate carbonation with foam.  Smells of apple and raspberry syrup.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  Low bitterness.  Low tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of rich apple pomace, yeast, raspberry syrup, orange, wood, and a hint of spice.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor, flavor intensity, and complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  It was definitely my first time trying a flavored French cider.  In fact, I know of very few ciders in Europe which are flavored (the only other one I could remember trying was Ramborn’s Hopped Cider, from Luxembourg).  In the U.S. we get so many flavored ciders as often dessert apples are used, which lack the flavor of the cider apples which are used in Europe.

Most Similar to:  Nothing I’ve had!  It had the distinctive French cidre flavor, except with added flavor.

Closing Notes:  I see this as a likely widely-appealing cidre.  I bet its an easier sell than many other French cidres as it is fairly sweet, sold in individual small bottles (lower cost), and is flavored (which is something us Americans are used to).

Have you tried Lefevre cidre?  What did you think?

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Herout AOC Cotentin Extra-Brut

Review of Herout AOC Cotentin Extra-Brut.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery, but I have had many other French cidres.

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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 Extra-Brut
Cidery:  Herout AOC
Cidery Location:  Cotentin Peninsula, Normandy, France
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  Organic French cidre, from cider apples, extra-brut (dry)

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

Cider Description:  This organic, extra-brut cidre is one of the only extra-brut cidres available from Normandy. Because it is produced in a maritime climate, it goes perfectly with seafood, especially fresh oysters. Cidre Cotentin is made from 100% naturally fermented cidre apple juice. Because Cidre Cotentin is not pasteurized, the natural fermentation process will continue after bottling for at least another two months.

See here for more information on the cider.

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 cidery.

Price:  n/a (retails for $19.99)
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.  Low carbonation.  Smells of funk with a hint of apple.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins.  Low bitterness.  Moderate funk.  Hints of sourness.  Notes of apple pomace, ripe apple, yeast, orange peel, leather, and butterscotch.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate sessionability, complexity, and apple flavor.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, this one is not one of my favorite French cidres.  However, that is only because my personal preference is slightly sweeter and more flavorful than this, with less funk and sourness.  This one had more characteristics of a Normandy cider (funk and sourness) than a lot of the other French ciders I’ve tried in the last month or so.  Due to that, it is not quite as beginner friendly.

Most Similar to:  Cidrerie Daufresne BrutDomaine de la Minotiere Cidre Fermier Bio BrutL’Hermitiére Cidre Brut, and Manoir De Montreuil Cambremer

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

Have you tried Herout cidre?  What did you think?

Pierre Huet AOC Pays D’Auge Cidre

Review of Pierre Huet AOC Pays D’Auge Cidre.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had Pierre Huet’s Cidre Bouche Brut, as well as many other French cidres.

By the way, AOC means “Appellation of Origin Control”, which is a certification distinction guaranteeing the individual product is produced in a unique way, and comes from a clearly defined place of origin.  It began with wine, but is also used for a variety of other products.  Pierre Huet is an old cidre AOC in France, and the original M. Pierre Huet was instrumental in getting the AOC recognized after WWII, in 1944.  Also, AOP, or “Appellation d’Origine Protégée”, is the EU version of an AOC.  Therefore some ciders can even have both.

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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:  Pays D’Auge Cidre
Cidery:  Pierre Huet AOC
Cidery Location:  Pays d’Auge, Normandy, France
ABV:  3.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  French cidre, from cider apples, demi-sec, bottle conditioned

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Availability:  In Washington, through Beauchamp Imports, plus online at their French Cider Inc. website.  In addition to Pays D’Auge Cider, they also offer Pierre Huet’s Poire Demi-Sec, Cidre Bouche BrutCalvados AOC Pays d’Auge VS, and Calvados AOC Pays d’Auge XO.

Cider Description:  This Cidre AOP Pays D’Auge is an unpasteurized demi-sec cidre from the appellation d’origine protégée in the Pays d’Auge region of Normandy. It is a traditional French cidre produced using the time-honored methods required by the Pays D’Auge . The 100% pure apple juice is fermented between one to four months to achieve the perfect semi-sweet flavor before being bottled. The second fermentation occurs naturally in the bottle.

See here for more information on the cider.

Cidery Description:  Pierre Huet is a 5th generation family-owned cidery who has been producing cidre, Calvados, and Pommeau since the 1800s in the Pays d’Auge region of Normandy France.  They grow 25 varieties of apples on 75 acres.

See here for more information on the cidery.

Price:  n/a (retails for $19.99)
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.  Moderate carbonation and foam.  Smells of ripe apple, funk, and orange.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied with a lovely frothy fluffy texture.  Low tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  Low funk.  No sourness.  Notes of ripe apples, pomace, orange, caramel, and leather.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity and complexity.

My Opinion:  Great!  I especially enjoyed the texture and flavor of this cider.  It has some definite Normandy cidre characteristics, but with low funk and no sourness, it remains more beginner friendly.  Plus, with the low ABV, it made a great cider to sip on during the day of Thanksgiving!  It would also be ideal for brunch and the like.  However, it is a tad more pricey than some other French ciders which I thought were of a similar flavor and quality.

Most Similar to:  Manoir de Grandouet AOP Pays d’Auge CidreManoir de Grandouet Cidre Fermier Brut,  L’Hermitiére Cidre BrutManoir De Montreuil Cambremer, and Christian Drouin Pays d’Auge.

Closing Notes:  I will also be reviewing two other imports from French Cider Inc.Hérout Cotentin Extra-Brut and Lefevre Winter Cidre.

Have you tried Pierre Huet cidre?  What did you think?

Florence Loisel Cidre Breton “Gosne”

Review of Florence Loisel Cidre Breton “Gosne”, from Brittany France.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery, but I’ve tried a number of other French cidres (like these).

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Cider:  “Gosne”
Cidery:  Florence Loisel
Cidery Location:  Noyal sur Vilaine, Brittany, France
ABV:  4.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  French cidre

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Availability:  semi wide release, imported by Petit Monde Wine Merchant

Description:  none given, besides that this is a Brut (dry) French apple cider

Price:  $10
Where Bought:  Bushwhacker Cider in Portland OR
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  This was one of the many ciders I picked up when I was there for Cider Rite of Spring (see here).

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First Impression:  Light yellow amber hue.  Moderate to high carbonation.  Smells apple-forward, acidic & fruity, with a hint of funk.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Notes of heirloom, crab, & green apples, lemon, stone fruit, pineapple, and mineral.  Moderate length finish, mostly lingering carbonation on the palette.  Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, complexity, and flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it – drier than most French cidres (it actually held true to the “Brut” label), and fruity (no significant cider apple flavor or richness).

Most Similar to:  The flavor notes and carbonation were similar to Bertolinos (from Italy), but that was less acidic and slightly sweeter.  Also, E.Z. Orchards Roman Beauty, Domaine Pacory Poire Domfront, Snowdrift Cliffbreaks Blend, Scandinavian Green Apple Cider, and Dragon’s Head Columbia Crab.

Closing Notes:  This is one of the most unusual French cidres I’ve tried – it strayed from the typical course, but the flavor was nice – a perfect cider for warm weather.  I found it more “American” than French style though.

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

Domaine du Verger Rosé Cidre Bouche

Review of Domaine du Verger’s Rosé Cidre Bouche, a French cider made with some red-fleshed apples to give it a rosé hue.  It is my first time trying this cider and anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  Rosé Cidre Bouche
Cidery:  Domaine du Verger
Cidery Location:  Brittany France
ABV:  2.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged champagne bottles
Style:  French rosé doux/sweet cidre from French cider apples, including red-fleshed varieties

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Availability:  semi wide release

Cider Description:  100% apple juice from 90% bittersweet apples and 10% bitter apples. The pink coloration is natural from the adjunction of a specific variety of apple with red flesh named : Baya Marisa.  To make a cider “doux /sweet” the alcoholic fermentation is shorten to about 5 weeks leaving higher natural residual sugar and resulting of a lower alcohol content. It is then followed by a filtration and an adjunction of Co2 for carbonation. 

The bittersweet apple varieties are from Brittany France and the bitter apple varieties are from Normandy France.

Cidery Description:  Since 1983 the Val de Rance cooperative has brought together the cider-making experience of 300 passionate local growers from Brittany. After recent investments, the cooperative has expanded and modernised its equipment. Today, Val de Rance represents over a 1,000 acres of orchards, producing ten to fifteen thousand tons of apples each year.

The cider from Domaine du Verger is produced from 100% apple juice. All the apples are harvested 90% from Brittany (bitter-sweet) region and 10% from Normandy (bitter). After being cleaned, the apples are gently crushed; they are then fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, and carefully filtered with the addition of Co2 for the carbonation.

Price:  $7.99
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  It was the first time I had seen the brand, and the first time I had seen a rosé French cidre.

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First Impression:  Light rosé hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells mildly fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Sweet.  Medium bodied, with a fluffy frothy texture.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of strawberry, white grape, and pomegranate.  Low apple flavor.  Low complexity.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I liked the flavor, and loved the higher carbonation and texture.  However, it was sweeter, lower ABV, and more juice-like than I prefer.

Most Similar to:  I’ve had several ciders from red-fleshed apples, including Alpenfire Glow, Alpenfire Cinders, and Snowdrift Red.  This was quite different than any of those ciders, and quite different than any of the French ciders I’ve had.  It tasted more like a cider from American dessert apples which was back sweetened with a lot of fruit juice, then highly carbonated.

Closing Notes:  Rosé (grape) wine is from blush grapes.  For cider, it typically refers to red-fleshed apples.  Here is a nice article on rosé cider.  Cidre Bouche literally means “cider with a cork”; many French ciders are named as such.

Have you tried Domaine du Verger Rosé Cidre Bouche?  What did you think?

Clos des Ducs French Cidre

Review of Clos des Ducs, a French cider.  It is my first time trying this one, although I’m a fan of French cider.

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Cider:  Premium Hard Cider
Cidery:  Clos des Ducs
Cidery Location:  Brittany, France
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles (and 330ml bottles)
Style:  commercial French cidre

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Availability:  wide release

Description:  A traditional farmstead product, made with a blend of sweet, tart, dry, and bitter apples.

Price:  $6.99
Where Bought:  The Cave in Kirkland WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’ve seen it before but never tried it for whatever reason.

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First Impression:  Medium orange amber.  Low carbonation and foam.  Smells of sweet concentrated apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  Sweet.  Medium to full bodied.  Low tartness.  Low acidity.  No bitterness, funk, or sourness.  Hints of tannins.  Notes of primarily apple juice concentrate (concentrated overly “appley” flavor), with hints of orange & honey.  Quick finish length.  Very high apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Very low complexity.

My Opinion:  I wasn’t too impressed with this one.  However, if you like a very sweet, apple juice forward, and easy to drink cider, you may enjoy it.  They also offer a pear variety.

Most Similar to:  Other French ciders, although this is sweeter than any other one I’ve had, less carbonated, less yeast-forward, and more commercial tasting (less complex).  This one doesn’t have as many of the characteristics I’ve come to associate with French cidre.  For an easy drinking French cidre, I think I’ll stick with Celt and Dan Armor.

Closing Notes:  I should have read the Nutrition Facts on this one before purchase, as 16g of sugar per 8oz is well over what I prefer.

Have you tried Clos des Ducs?  What did you think?

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?