Kystin Kalysie

Review of Kystin’s Kalysie, a French perry (from 100% pears) with ginger.  I’ve previously tried their Opalyne and Cuvée XVII.

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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:  Kalysie
Cidery:  Kystin
Cidery Location:  Brittany France
ABV:  2.0%
How Supplied:  330ml bottles
Style:  Breton French Demi-Sec (sweet) perry (100% pear) with ginger

Photo Jul 06, 7 21 00 PM Photo Jul 06, 7 21 21 PM

Availability:  limited, imported by French Cider Inc.

Cider Description (translated):  A hint of temptation.  A crystalline dress, a nose with tonic accents of Ginger. A fruity attack, delicate to finish on a spicy lemon note.  Ginger bursts to the pear for a striking union.  Ideal as an aperitif, it will accompany fish and shellfish, pasta cheese parsley, and of course chocolate.

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 $7.49 / bottle)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  through French Cider Inc.

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, of candied ginger with a hint of pear.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of pear & pear juice, pineapple, and ginger.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate pear flavor.  Low ginger flavor.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Great!  I don’t usually like ginger, but it was quite mild, and the bit of ginger bite added to the overall flavor profile, to help balance the sweetness of the perry.  The ginger was stronger in the scent than the taste.  Nice pear flavor and not too sweet.  However, there wasn’t anything about this perry that seemed French-like; I would have guessed this was a U.S. perry.  Nothing wrong with that though.  This would be a nice selection for brunch or lunch, at only 2% ABV.

Most Similar to:  A more refined/craft version of Woodchuck Tank Series Pear Ginger

Closing Notes:  This is the third of three Kystin varieties currently available in the U.S. (also see my reviews of their Opalyne and Cuvée XVII).  Its interesting to see European cideries release flavored ciders/perries, similar to the U.S., when they have all the ideal apple and pear varieties for cider and perry making and such a long history of doing so.  However, I can see new products increasing sales and expanding their target market.  Some other flavored European ciders I’ve tried are Ramborn Cascade Hopped Cider and Lefevre Winter Cidre.

Have you tried French perry?  What did you think?

Le Brun Brut

Review of Le Brun’s Brut.  This is my first time trying this Brittany French cidre, although I have had their Organic Cidre and Poire (perry).  These three varieties are the only ones offered in the U.S., although in France (and Europe probably) there are probably more.

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Cider:  Brut
Cidery:  Le Brun
Cidery Location:  Brittany France
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  375ml (and 750ml) bottles
Style:  French cidre

Photo May 28, 3 55 40 PM Photo May 28, 3 55 50 PM

Availability:  semi wide release, imported by Winesellers, Ltd.

Cider Description:  Aromas of sweet, ripe apples dominate the nose.  The sweetness is nicely balanced by moderate acidity and light tannins drying it out on the finish with a beautiful woody note. A crisp, well balanced and an interesting cider. A cider with real depth and character.

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

See here for more info.

Price:  $5
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  It was the first time I had seen these half bottles, which at 1/2 the price are a great deal.

Photo May 28, 4 02 00 PM.jpg
<the bottle foamed over after opening, even after letting it sit a few minutes after I took it out of the fridge and photographed the labels>

First Impression:  Medium hazy orange hue.  High carbonation with foam.  Smells of bittersweet apples and funk.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low funk, bitterness, and tannins.  Notes of bittersweet apples, juice, & pomace and orange with some earthiness.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I didn’t personally like this at all due to the sourness, which is my number one disliked quality in a cider (for some reason it just hits my taste buds all wrong and that is all I can taste).  I was surprised by the sourness and funk, as although this is noted as being wild fermented, Brittany cidres usually remain clean (unlike most Normandy cidres), and the other two selections I’ve tried from the cidery were clean.

Most Similar to:  Herout AOC Cotentin Extra-Brut

Closing Notes:  I much prefer their Organic Cidre, which is sweeter and fairly clean (only a bit of funk, which I actually like).

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).

Photo Apr 22, 4 47 25 PM

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

Photo Apr 22, 4 47 36 PM Photo Apr 22, 4 47 52 PM

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?

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

Photo Nov 22, 3 26 03 PM Photo Nov 22, 3 26 14 PM

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?

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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Photo Nov 22, 3 25 16 PM Photo Nov 22, 3 25 30 PM

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?

Cidrerie Daufresne Brut

Review of Cidrerie Daufresne Brut, a French cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Poire (perry).

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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:  Brut
Cidery:  Cidrerie Daufresne
Cidery Location:  Normandy, France
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  Norman French cider

Photo Oct 31, 3 34 07 PM Photo Oct 31, 3 34 20 PM

Availability:  Semi wide release in the U.S. through Winesellers, Ltd.  Their cider portfolio also includes Manoir de Grandouet, Domaine de la Minotiere, & Le Brun from France, Dunkertons from England, and Sidra Asturiana Mayador from Spain.

Cider Description:  This cider has a beautiful robe with green reflections and a very fine effervescence. The finesse and freshness of the nose are expressed by aromas of ripe apples with notes of spices and sweetness. On the palate, the perfect balance of residual sugar and acidity from the aging on lees creates an explosion of freshness.

Cidery Description:  Located in the heart of the Pays d’Auge, at the gates of Lisieux, we can discover the area of ​​5 D, with its cider house at the foot of the orchards hills, formerly called the Pré des Vignes, in reference to the vines formerly exploited on this parcel.  It is this beautiful south-facing exhibition that prompted Philippe Daufresne to plant his orchard in the 60s, instead of the old vines, for the production of his cider and calvados.  For 4 years, retirement requires, the domain was taken over by Ghislaine Davy, who is resolutely committed to a quality and elegance approach.  To develop the different cider products, 150 tons of apples are brewed each year on the estate.

The apples come from the orchards of the cider house but also from the different orchards around, which multiplies all the varieties used: Germaine, Blangy cemetery, red binet, bisquet, St Martin, Christmas fields, President descourt, windmill, mettais, rambault, and many others…  In order to give each product a balanced aromatic bouquet, the varieties are carefully selected to find the right balance between the freshness of tart apples, the delicacy of sweet apples, and the corpus of bitter apples.  The Daufrresne cider is a must at the tables of the Côte Fleurie. Well known to the Parisian resort clientele, he is regularly awarded at the Paris General Competition, with this latest gold medal at the Paris 2017 general competition.

Price:  n/a (retails for $12)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the importer contacted me

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First Impression:  Low to moderate carbonation with some foam.  Light to moderate amber hue.  Smells very mild, almost of nothing.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness and funk.  No sourness.  Notes of bittersweet apple pomace, orange, and caramel.  Long finish.  Moderate to high apple flavor and sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, compared to some of the other French ciders I have tried recently, it was less flavorful (possibly as it was a bit drier).  I’d recommend this for folks who are more sensitive to funk (as it barely had any, which was unexpected for a Normandy cider) and/or who like a drier cider.

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

Closing Notes:  Of the five French ciders I tried from Winesellers, Ltd.’s lineup, Domaine de la Minotiere Cidre Fermier Bio Doux and Manoir de Grandouet Cidre Fermier Brut were my favorites.  Of the two perries, Le Brun Poire was my favorite (over Cidrerie Daufresne Poire).

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

Manoir de Grandouet AOP Pays d’Auge Cidre

Review of Manoir de Grandouet AOP Pays d’Auge Cidre.  It is my first time trying this one, but I previously tried Manoir de Grandouet’s Cidre Fermier Brut and have tried many other French ciders, such as these.

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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:  AOP Pays d’Auge Cidre
Cidery:  Manoir de Grandouet
Cidery Location:  Pays d’Auge, Normandy, France
ABV:  4.5%
How Supplied:  corked & caged champagne bottle
Style:  Norman French cidre

Photo Oct 31, 3 34 53 PM Photo Oct 31, 3 35 08 PM

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:  This bottle conditioned, AOP Pays d’Auge cidre is made in the most traditional cidre-making process.  As a result, it is a very complex and natural product with aromas of baked apples, pears and other white stone fruit supported by complex notes of barnyard with dried herbs and leather.  It presents a very slight bitterness and crisp acidity that helps dry out the cider on the finish.

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 ~ $13)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the importer contacted me

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First Impression:  Light orange amber hue.  High carbonation with foam.  Smells of funk, must, and a hint of sweet bittersweet apple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied with a fluffy fizzy texture.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins.  Low funk.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness.  Notes of bittersweet apple pomace and juice, orange, caramel, leather, earth, and must.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate to high sessionability, complexity, and flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I wish I would have tasted this side by side with their Cidre Fermier Brut though, as with my notes from a couple weeks ago, I’m not identifying too many differences between the two.  This one may be a bit smoother and less bitter.

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

Closing Notes:  I have one more French cider from Winesellers, Ltd. left to try.

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

Domaine de la Minotiere Cidre Fermier Bio Brut

Review of Domaine de la Minotiere’s Cidre Fermier Bio Brut.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had the Doux version of this cider, plus many other French ciders, such as these.

Photo Oct 28, 5 37 00 PM

>>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 Bio Brut 2015
Cidery:  Domaine de la Minotiere
Cidery Location:  Normandy, France
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottle
Style:  Norman French cidre, Organic, Brut (which means dry)

Photo Oct 28, 5 37 10 PM Photo Oct 28, 5 37 23 PM

Availability:  Semi wide release in the U.S. through Winesellers, Ltd.  Their cider portfolio also includes Manoir de Grandouet, Le Brun, & Cidrerie Daufresne from France, Dunkertons from England, and Sidra Asturiana Mayador from Spain.

Cider Description:  This organic farmhouse-style cider has a crisp, fresh, apple bouquet, with mix of citrus peel and musty floral notes, and fruity aromas of apricot and citrus fruits. A brisk, refined finish that lingers on the palate.

Cidery Description:  Domaine de la Minotiere is a small 15-hectare single domaine of cidre orchards cultivated under 100% organic certification. The specialty is traditional farmhouse cidre produced both in a dry (Brut) and sweet (Doux) style. The Domaine de la Minotiere owns a long tradition and elaboration of farmhouse cider coming from the fruit of its orchards, in a place called the “Golden Triangle” – known to be the best area to produce cider.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $12)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the importer contacted me

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First Impression:  Light orange amber hue.  High carbonation and moderate foam.  Smells mild, of French cidre from bittersweet apples, with a hint of funk.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-dry.  Light bodied with a frothy texture.  Low tartness, acidity, and tannins.  Hints of bitterness and funk.  No sourness.  Notes of apple pomace and juice, yeast, green apple, orange, and butterscotch.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate to high apple flavor and sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  Great!  However, I preferred the Doux version of this cider, which likely due to the additional sweetness, was more flavorful.  This was surprisingly dry for a Brut, but their Doux was also drier than I expected.  Its a good option for folks who think most French cidres are too sweet.  It also had a bit more light fruitiness than richness, and was much lower in funk than their Doux version.  This did however have an extra 2% ABV over their Doux version,

Most Similar to:  Domaine de la Minotiere Cidre Fermier Bio Doux, Manoir de Grandouet Cidre Fermier Brut, and L’Hermitiére Cidre Brut (very much so, although this is drier than all three of those), Manoir De Montreuil Cambremer, and Christian Drouin Pays d’Auge

Closing Notes:  Its pretty cool that that both the Doux and Brut versions of this are Organic, which you don’t see much in cider, especially at this price point!

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

Cidrerie Daufresne Poire

Review of Cidrerie Daufresne’s Poire, a French perry.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had several other poires.

Photo Oct 21, 6 22 16 PM

>>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:  Poire
Cidery:  Cidrerie Daufresne
Cidery Location:  Normandy, France
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  Norman French poire (perry)

Photo Oct 21, 6 22 25 PM Photo Oct 21, 6 22 44 PM

Availability:  Semi wide release in the U.S. through Winesellers, Ltd.  Their cider portfolio also includes Manoir de Grandouet, Domaine de la Minotiere, & Le Brun from France, Dunkertons from England, and Sidra Asturiana Mayador from Spain.

Cider Description:  A perry pear is gritty, tannic and acidic, which makes it somewhat similar to acider apple. But that is where the similarities end. Perry pear tannins tend to be rounder than those found in cider apples, and the pears used for perry have less malic acid than cider apples, resulting in a beverage that is less tart and more delicate. The Daufresne Poiré offers clear, sparkling and persistent effervescence and aromas. Tastes of fresh pear fruit, hints of melon and citrus, natural sediments in glass, rustic with a clean pure sweetness, balanced by refreshing acidity.

Cidery Description:  Located in the heart of the Pays d’Auge, at the gates of Lisieux, we can discover the area of ​​5 D, with its cider house at the foot of the orchards hills, formerly called the Pré des Vignes, in reference to the vines formerly exploited on this parcel.  It is this beautiful south-facing exhibition that prompted Philippe Daufresne to plant his orchard in the 60s, instead of the old vines, for the production of his cider and calvados.  For 4 years, retirement requires, the domain was taken over by Ghislaine Davy, who is resolutely committed to a quality and elegance approach.  To develop the different cider products, 150 tons of apples are brewed each year on the estate.

The apples come from the orchards of the cider house but also from the different orchards around, which multiplies all the varieties used: Germaine, Blangy cemetery, red binet, bisquet, St Martin, Christmas fields, President descourt, windmill, mettais, rambault, and many others…  In order to give each product a balanced aromatic bouquet, the varieties are carefully selected to find the right balance between the freshness of tart apples, the delicacy of sweet apples, and the corpus of bitter apples.  The Daufrresne cider is a must at the tables of the Côte Fleurie. Well known to the Parisian resort clientele, he is regularly awarded at the Paris General Competition, with this latest gold medal at the Paris 2017 general competition.

Price:  n/a (retails for $12)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the importer contacted me

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow.  Moderate to high carbonation.  Smells of canned pear, sulfur, and funk.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low funk.  Hints of tannins.  No bitterness or sourness.  Notes of canned pear, dried pear, green apple, and pineapple.  Moderate length finish.  High pear flavor and sessionability.  Moderate complexity and flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Very juicy and fizzy.  The scent was off-putting at first, but it dissipated, and didn’t transfer to the flavor.

Most Similar to:  Christian Drouin Poire, as it is of similar sweetness and flavor notes (although it is cleaner than Cidrerie Daufresne’s Poire, which has some funk).

Closing Notes:  I also have a cider from Cidrerie Daufresne to try.

Have you tried French poire?  What did you think?

Le Brun Poire

Review of Le Brun Poire, a French perry.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had Le Brun’s Brut and Organic cidres (and several other poires).

Photo Oct 20, 4 45 42 PM

>>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:  Poire
Cidery:  Le Brun
Cidery Location:  Brittany France
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  Breton French poire (perry)

Photo Oct 20, 4 45 59 PM Photo Oct 20, 4 46 21 PM

Availability:  Semi wide release in the U.S. through Winesellers, Ltd (new to their portfolio as of October 2017).  Their cider portfolio also includes Manoir de Grandouet, Domaine de la Minotiere, & Cidrerie Daufresne from France, Dunkertons from England, and Sidra Asturiana Mayador from Spain.

Description:  LeBrun Cidres have been produced in Brittany, France since 1955.  Cidres are made using the traditional method of natural fermentation of pure pressed juices from handpicked pears. It all starts with the fruit. The cidery selects superior quality pears.

The orchards are carefully looked after until maturation of the fruits. The pears are picked by hand in order to prevent any damage. Preparing the fruit before cider making is always a process. The pears are collected and aged in special wooden cases for about 3 weeks in order to enable the fruit to slightly dehydrate and concentrate its aromas. The pears are then ready to be mashed. Once this is done, the result (pulp plus juice) is left to rest in a tank. This helps balance the taste profile of the future perry by sweetening possible harsh overtones. The pulp/juice is pressed again to get pure juice.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $10)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the importer/distributor contacted me

Photo Oct 20, 4 48 31 PM.jpg

First Impression:  Dark straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of candied dried pear and lemon.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  A hint of tannins.  Notes of dried pear, candied pear, lemongrass, green apple, and honey.  Moderate length finish with lingering lemon.  Moderate pear flavor, complexity, and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Great!  I was surprised with the dryness, lightness, and sharpness, as I was expecting something that was sweeter, fuller bodied, and lower acidity, like the others I’ve tried.  Perries are usually on the sweeter end as pear juice has unfermentable sugars (sorbitol).  I liked it however, especially the complexity.  This would be especially nice in summer, at only 4% ABV (and its really affordable too).

Most Similar to:  Not anything I’ve tried.  The other poires I can remember trying were semi-sweet, such as from Christian DrouinDan Armor (the sweetest of these), Domaine Pacory, and Eric Bordelet (the driest of these).

Closing Notes:  This is a great addition to Le Brun’s U.S. lineup, which already has “Brut” and “Organic” varieties of cider.  Winesellers also offers a French perry / poire from Daufresne, which I will be trying soon.

Have you tried Poire?  What did you think?

Aval Cidre Artisinal

Review of Aval Cidre Artisinal, from France.  I’ve tried this twice before; the first was a sample pour from a friend’s bottle (see here), and the second was a bottle I bought (see here).  However, the co-founder of Aval replied to my review (which stated that it tasted flat) stating it was supposed to be carbonated, and was kind enough to send a replacement (actually three, smaller bottles, instead of the larger one I had originally).  I’ve also sampled a number of other French ciders (like these).

2017-05-26 16.48.33
<they also sent some swag Postcards; this one is just funny, although a couple were a bit racy, of famous paintings with Aval added>

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Aval.  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.<<

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Cider:  Cidre Artisinal
Cidery:  Aval
Cidery Location:  Bretagne France
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  330oz bottles (four pack), or 750ml 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).  Plus I expect it in WA soon (as my friend who manages the Schilling Cider House got a sample, although I haven’t seen it carried in any store yet), and I read it is in VT.

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.

Here is the press release from their U.S. launch in fall 2016.

Price:  n/a (although I’ve seen it in 750ml bottles for $8.85)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Initially, browsing, but this time it showed up in the mail.

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First Impression:  Moderate carbonation.  Deep orange amber.  Smells of apple juice and yeast.

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

My Opinion:  I liked it.  This was definitely different than the other batch…way more carbonated, but also more yeasty and bitter, especially on the finish.  Not better or worse, but different.  More beer-like.

Most Similar to:  Loic Raison 1923 Brut

Closing Notes:  Some of my favorite French cidres remain Celt, Dan Armor, and Le Brun.  However, I definitely wouldn’t hesitate to drink this one, especially if I found it in a convenient four pack of 11.2oz single bottles and couldn’t get Celt (which I usually stock on the house).  I’d say Celt is more likely to be a crowd-pleaser and/or good for folks new to cider, but Aval is more likely to please a beer-drinker and/or someone who usually tends towards Normandy instead of Brittany French ciders.

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

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).

2017-05-12 17.12.44

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

2017-05-12 17.12.50 2017-05-12 17.13.01

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.

2017-03-03 17.12.19.jpg

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

2017-03-03-17-12-28 2017-03-03-17-12-37

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.

2017-01-06 17.15.58.jpg

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.

2017-01-06 17.19.41.jpg
<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.

2016-11-20 16.46.14.jpg

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

2016-11-20-16-46-212016-11-20-16-46-38 2016-11-20-16-46-30

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

2016-08-19 17.28.25

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?

Manoir De Montreuil Cambremer

Review of Manoir De Montreuil Cambremer, a cidre from Normandy France (and yes I’m very glad I only need to spell it correctly, not try to pronounce it!).  I’m typically more of a fan of Breton than Normand French cidres, but the reviews of this one caught my interest.

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Cider:  Cambremer
Cidery:  Manoir De Montreuil
Cidery Location:  Cidre Pays d’Auge, Normandy, France
ABV:  4.5% or 5.0% (the front & back labels contradicted themselves)
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged champagne bottle
Style:  keeved Normand French cidre

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Availability:  semi wide release, international

Description:  The Giard family has been producing Calvados in the Pays d’Auge for 11 generations. The Domaine du Montreuil orchard was planted on land formerly covered by the sea, hence its distinctive mineral flavor. They produce this cider in vats that are more than a century old, so you’re getting the classic, traditional-style cider of this region, although it is not too funky. Rustic yes, delicious yes, authentic yes, expensive no.

Price:  $10.75
Where Bought:  Full Throttle Bottles
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’m a fan of sweet, bubbly, and rich French ciders, and after looking this one up, it sounded like I’d enjoy it.

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First Impression:  Pale caramel amber hue.  Moderate to high carbonation and foam.  Smells yeasty and a bit funky, although fairly simple–mainly of baked apples.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Frothy mouthfeel/texture.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, funk, and tannins.  No sourness or bitterness.  Notes of yeast, baked apple, honey, and caramel.  Quick finish length.  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  The taste of this cider seemed quite in between typical Breton (Brittany) and Normand (Normandy) French ciders.  It had the sweetness and approachability of a Breton cider, with a bit of funk of a Normand cider.  It avoided the sourness and strong funk of some other Normand ciders I’ve tried though. I don’t mind a bit of funk (often referred to as “barnyard” flavor), but I haven’t yet acquired the taste for sour ciders.  Surprisingly my husband was much more put off by the scent of it than I was.

Most Similar to:  Other French ciders.  It reminds me a lot of Celt, with a bit of funk and more yeast.

Closing Notes:   This was a unique and enjoyable cider.  It showed me that not all Normand ciders are strongly sour, funky, and dry.

Have you tried any French ciders?  What did you think?

Le Pere Jules Brut

Review of Le Pere Jules’ Brut 2012 cider, from Normandie France.

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Cider:  Brut
Cidery:  Le Pere Jules
Cidery Location:  Normandie France
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottle
Style:  French cidre

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Availability:  Semi-wide release (apparently one of the easier to find French ciders in the U.S.)

Cider Description:  Our cider is produced from no less than 20 different varieties of apples. This gives it a very nice balance between the sweet, bitter and acidic varieties. After a fermentation process that is modified in its length to produce the “brut”, “demi-sec” and “doux” varieties, and a light filtration, it is bottled in order to naturally develop its own natural gas. This gives it the fine bubbles that we are known for.

Cidery Description:  It was upon his return from the First World War in 1919 that Jules Desfrièches – who had already earned the nickname of “Père” Jules or “Father” Jules – with a love for his region and its apples, decided to turn his passion into his trade. Orphaned at a young age, he was raised by his grandparents, who were themselves in love with Normandy and its treasures. With their help, Jules learned to make cider with the apples from the family farm. He then started to sell his products locally. Due to the appreciation for its quality, the “Jules Desfrièches” cider was more and more in demand in restaurants in Normandy. Then in 1923, Jules distilled Calvados for the first time, without knowing that it was the beginning of an institution.  

In 1949 his son, Léon Desfrièches, joined the family business. On his arrival, he created the brand “Le Père Jules,” in honor of his father. The production continued to expand and the market for cider and calvados developed to the point of being sold in some of the best restaurants in France.  Thierry Desfrièches, the grandson of “Père”Jules joined his father in the business in 1976. With a careful eye on the business and its evolution, the first export sales were started in 1980 in Europe and then later throughout the world.  The son of Thierry, Guillaume Desfrièches, joined the family business after he finished his studies in oenology in 2002 to become the fourth generation in the affair.  Since 1919, quality and rigor are the driving forces of four generations of producers that have continued to be faithful to the traditional methods with a love for their work. Their only wish is to be able to propose the best products.

Price:  ~$12
Where Bought:  World Market
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I hadn’t spotted it at World Market before, only commercial cider (although apparently other World Market locations carry craft cider), and was intrigued as I’ve been getting into French ciders.  I’ve since also spotted it at the Schilling Cider House in Seattle.

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First Impression:  Honey-orange amber hue.  Still.  Smells of bittersweet apples, orange, honey, cork, funk, and sourness.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Moderate bitterness, sourness, and acidity.  Low tartness and funk.  Light to medium bodied.  Long finish.  I found the flavor to be completely off, bad, bizarre, etc…I have no better way to describe it.

My Opinion:  I couldn’t tolerate more than one sip, and was totally not a fan.  And my husband literally spit out his sip.  Down the drain it went.  A friend of mine described a similar flavor to this cider, saying no one at the dinner party would drink it, yet I’ve seen reviews quite to the contrary online.  I think it having no carbonation is a sign of something being wrong, as this cider is supposed to be a sparkling.  So, I conclude this was likely a “bad bottle”.  Its unfortunate this happens to even the best cidermakers a certain percentage of the time, and if its someone’s first exposure to a cider from that brand, they may not give them another chance.

Closing Notes:   Although I have significant doubts as to this being a good sample from Le Pere Jules, this continues the trend of me only liking French ciders from Brittany (such as Le Brun, Celt, and Dan Armor), not Normandy (such as Le Pere Jules, Dupont, and Manoir du Parc)….I like the richer sweeter and more carbonated French ciders than those with any funk or sourness.  Note that I considered not posting this review, but I review every cider I drink, not just those I enjoy, and hopefully this isn’t overly negative.

Have you tried Le Pere Jules?  What did you think?