Aval Cidre Artisinal

Review of Aval Cidre Artisinal, from France.  I previously tried this (see here), but this is the first bottle I’ve bought.  I’ve also tried a number of other French ciders (like these).

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Cider:  Cidre Artisinal
Cidery:  Aval
Cidery Location:  Bretagne France
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  corked & caged 750ml bottles (and four packs of 11.2oz bottles)
Style:  French cidre from cider apples

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Availability:  at least in IL, LA, MA, MO, NY, OR, and TX (per this list)

Description:  Made in Bretagne, France.  From 100% pure apple juice (Not from concentrate).  Naturally Gluten Free.  All-natural.  No added sugar.  6% abv.

AVAL means Apple in Breton, the traditional language in Bretagne, the region where it comes from, that’s had more than 1000 years experience in making cider and is touted by insiders as the best cider region in the world.

AVAL cider combines five types of apples exclusively from the region, giving the drink a crisp and citrusy taste. It’s the perfect balance between subtle sweetness and refreshing bitterness.

Price:  $8.85
Where Bought:  Bushwhacker Cider in Portland OR
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I picked this up on my trip for Cider Rite of Spring (see here).  However, I ended up trying a sample of it (see here) before I got around to opening the bottle I bought.

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First Impression:  Still (no carbonation).  Deep orange amber.  Smells of apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  Low bitterness, especially on the finish.  Low tannins.  Hints of funk.  No sourness.  Notes of bittersweet apple juice and pomace, yeast, brown sugar, orange, and must.  Quick finish.  Low complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High apple flavor.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, it tasted flat, like it had been left sitting open (vs. supposed to be still), but the cork was intact.  I also thought it could have used less bitter of a finish.

Most Similar to:  Loic Raison 1923 Brut

Closing Notes:  Some of my favorite French cidres remain Celt, Dan Armor, and Le Brun, especially once you factor in cost.

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?

Loic Raison Brut

Review of Loic Raison 1923 Brut, a French cidre.  Its my first time trying this one, although I’ve tried a number of other French ciders.

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Cider:  Brut
Cidery:  Loic Raison
Cidery Location:  Brittany France
ABV:  4.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  French cidre

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Availability:  wide release

Description:  I couldn’t find one.  Note that Brut simply means dry (although at 5 grams of sugar per 8oz this isn’t completely dry).

Price:  $10.49
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  This is one of the major French cidre brands and commonly available in the U.S.

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First Impression:  Deep orange amber.  Very low carbonation.  Smells of bittersweet apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Low acidity.  Hints of tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Simple flavor notes, just apple juice and yeast.  Quick finish.  High apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  This was nice and definitely easy to drink, but it tasted flat (like it used to have higher carbonation) and overly juice-like.  I’d rather pay half as much and pick up some Dan Armor at Trader Joe’s, or better yet, as it is in single serve bottles, Celt.

Most Similar to:  Dan Armor and Celt, which are also both Brittany France cidre varieties.  They have a very similar flavor profile to Loic Raison, but a higher carbonation and lower cost.

Closing Notes:  I’m a fan of Brittany more than Normandy France cidres,  Brittany cidres are typically apple & yeast forward, clean (no funk or sourness), and have a higher carbonation level.

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

Le Brun Organic Cidre

Review of Le Brun Organic Cidre.  I’ve tried this previously on tap (the only cider I’ve tried from Le Brun), but wanted to give a bottle a go.

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Cider:  Organic Cidre
Cidery:  Le Brun
Cidery Location:  Plovan in the Brittany region of France
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged champagne bottle
Style:  Brittany French cidre, organic, secondary fermented

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Availability:  semi wide release (imported by Winesellers Ltd., Niles IL)

Cider Description:  This cider presents lightly sweet, fruit and then develops to be more dry as the taste goes on.  Tannins feel fairly high, acidity is moderate and a fairly bitter/sharp to end, with a mild hint of wood in the aftertaste.  This cider has a juicy feel to it, but also has depth and character.

Apple Varieties: Kermerrien, Marie Ménard, Douce Moên, Peau de Chien, Douce Coëtligné

Cidery Description:  Le Brun Cidres have been produced in Brittany, France since 1955.  our cidres are made using the traditional method of natural fermentation of pure pressed juices from handpicked apples

Price:  $10.99
Where Bought:  The Wine Seller in Port Townsend WA, which had a nice cider selection for a small shop, including this one (which I haven’t seen locally lately) and a couple others I hadn’t even seen in Seattle (I picked up one other bottle too)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing

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First Impression:  Amber orange hue.  Moderate carbonation with foam upon pouring.  Smells of rich apples with hints of funk and must.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, funk, and tannins.  No sourness or bitterness.  Notes of bittersweet apples, apple juice, apple pomace, orange, floral, and must.  Moderate length finish.  High apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed this.  I’m a fan of Brittany France ciders in general too (but not typically Normandy France ciders, which tend to have sourness).  However, I remember it tasting more clean (no funk) when I tried it on tap, which I prefer.

Most Similar to:  Other ciders from Brittany France, such as Celt and Dan Armor, which I think I slightly prefer, and are both more affordable too ($8 for a four pack of 11.2oz bottles of Celt and $5 for a 750ml bottle of Dan Armor – only sold at Trader Joe’s).

Closing Notes:   This is a nice selection from Le Brun.  I hope I can find their other varieties locally to try (I know at least a couple others get imported).

Have you tried French Cidre?  What did you think?

PACORY Cidre Le Costaud

Review of PACORY’s Cidre Le Costaud.  This is a cidre from Normandy France.  I’ve previously tried their Poire Domfront (French perry).

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Cider:  Cidre Le Costaud
Cidery:  PACORY
Cidery Location:  Mantilly Normandy France
ABV:  7.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked champagne bottle
Style:  French cidre made from traditional cider apples

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Availability:  selected regions in the U.S.A. (imported by Charles Neal Selections, Richmond CA)

Cider Description:  This cider was made from a large number of traditional apple varieties grown on standard rootstock on our farm in southern Normandy.  It was aged for three months in old calvados barrels.

Cidery Description:  In the heart of the Bocage Domfrontais, pear and apple trees dominate our prairies.A from fruits selected with great care, we produce Calvados, Pommeau, Cider and Poiré. Created with passion and know-how acquired over many generations, our products are recognized for their exceptional quality. It is with pleasure that we invite you to discover these treasures Domfrontais.

Price:  $14.50
Where Bought:  Full Throttle Bottles in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I had previously enjoyed their Poire Domfront (French perry), so I thought I’d give this variety of their cidre a try, especially as I love barrel aged cider.

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First Impression:  Hazy amber orange brown.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells rich, sweet, and slightly sour.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied, frothy mouthfeel.  Low tartness, bitterness, sourness, funk, and tannins.  Moderate acidity.  Notes of overly ripe apples, honey, orange, and brown sugar.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  Low sessionability.  Moderate complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  This wasn’t what I expected.  I didn’t pick up any oak or Calvados (apple brandy) notes from the barrel aging.  I’m not a fan of sourness or funk, so I didn’t really enjoy this cider.  Their Domfront Poire wasn’t sour, so I hadn’t expected sourness.

Most Similar to:  Other cidre from Normandy France, which often has some sourness and funk, although is typically drier.

Closing Notes:   I think I’ll stick to the cidre from Brittany France, which is more to my liking, as it typically lacks the sourness and funk.

Have you tried PACORY Cidre Le Costaud?  What did you think?