Kupela Basque Cider

Review of Kupela’s Basque Cider, from France.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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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:  Basque Cider
Cidery:  Kupela
Cidery Location:  Anglet, France
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  330ml bottles
Style:  French (Basque region), Demi-Sec (medium dry)

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Availability:  In Washington, through Beauchamp Imports, plus online at their French Cider Inc. website (at the time of this review, they are able to ship to WA, OR, ID, CA, NV, NM, AK, ND, NH, & DC).

Cider Description:  From the Basque region, this distinctive cider is tasty, tangy, smooth yet expressive. Cellar master, Agustin Etxeberria has created this modernized version of traditional Basque cider – making it light, but dry and slightly tangy, with subtle effervescence.  The fleeting hint of sweetness, is balanced immediately by the acidic cider apple flavors. 100% natural and 100% refreshing. Fermented in the bottle, try this is a real alternative to beer.

Cidery Description:  Located in the Basque region of northern Spain, Kupela cider is produced using traditional Basque methods. Kupela pays tribute to the Basque sailors who embarked on lengthy sea voyages with cider in barrels (“Kupela” in Basque), rich in vitamin C to fight scurvy.  Its acidity, its lightness and its fruitiness match perfectly with the gastronomy acclaimed by modern Epicureans. 

Price:  n/a (retails for $5.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Notes of green apple & pomace, pineapple, lemon, honey, and mineral.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate to high complexity.  Moderate apple flavor and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it.  Not at all what I was expecting from a French or Basque cider, but in a good way.  I’m not typically a fan of Spanish Basque cider due to the sourness, but it was absent.  This may be the first French Basque cider I’ve tried though.  It would be a fun cider to bring to a party, as its qualities remain crowd-friendly (not sour, bitter, or funky, and mid-level sweetness), plus it has some nice complexity.

Most Similar to:  not any French or Basque Spanish cider I’ve tried, but an Italian cider, Bertilinos, except even more complex

Closing Notes:  Although ‘Basque’ cider is more commonly associated with Spain, the Basque region spans both Spain (Northern) and France (Southwestern).

Have you tried Basque French cider?  What did you think?

Herout Micro-Cuvée No. 1 Cidre

Review of Maison Herout Micro-Cuvée No. 1 Sparkling Cidre aged in Calvados barrels.  I previously tried a similar Calvados barrel aged cider from Herout, Coup de Foudre Cidre Biologique, plus I’ve had their Brut, Extra-Brut, D-Day Commemorative Brut, and Pommeau.

Calvados = French apple brandy
Cuvée = a French wine term for vat/tank

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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:  Micro-Cuvee No. 1 Sparkling Cidre aged in Calvados barrels
Cidery:  Maison Herout AOC
Cidery Location:  Cotentin Peninsula, Normandy, France
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  French cidre, from cider apples, Calvados barrel aged

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Availability:  In Washington, through Beauchamp Imports, plus online at their French Cider Inc. website (at the time of this review, they are able to ship to WA, OR, ID, CA, NV, NM, AK, ND, NH, & DC).  They also offer a number of other selections from Herout, plus ciders and Pommeaux from many other makers.

Cider Description:  Dense and complex, the Micro-Cuvée No. 1 Cidre is fermented for at least three months in an oak barrel that was previously used to age AOC Calvados. This gentle barrel fermentation gives this cider a very fine, fruity taste that is amplified by slightly tannic Calvados flavors on the finish.  Higher alcohol content due to aging in Calvados barrels.

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 awarded the highest civilian honor in France for her 16 years of work getting the AOC recognized – Le Croix de Chevalier, Legion d’Honneur (Knights Cross for the Legion of Honneur).  See here for more information on the cider and here for more information on the cidery.

Price:  n/a (retails for $29)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Light gold hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of musty rich apple.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  Low funk and tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness.  Notes of rich apple, must, orange, honey, leather, and earth/cork.  Long tannic slightly bitter finish.  High apple flavor, complexity, and sessionability.  Moderate overall flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I really enjoyed it, especially the flavor profile and complexity.

Most Similar to:  Herout Coup de Foudre Cidre Biologique except more complexity and less bitterness

Closing Notes:  French Cider Inc has an awesome cider selection!

Have you tried French cider?  What did you think?

Herout Maison D-Day Commemorative Brut

Review of Herout 2017 Maison D-Day Commemorative Brut Cidre 75th Anniversary Limited Edition, a dry sparkling French cidre.  It is my first time trying this, but I have previously had their BrutExtra Brut, Coup de Foudre Cidre Biologique, and Pommeau.

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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:  Maison D-Day Commemorative Brut Cidre, 75th Anniversary Limited Edition, 2017
Cidery:  Herout AOC
Cidery Location:  Cotentin Peninsula, Normandy, France
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottle
Style:  French cidre, from cider apples, sparkling, brut (dry)

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Availability:  In Washington, through Beauchamp Imports, plus online at their French Cider Inc. website (at the time of this review, they are able to ship to WA, OR, ID, CA, NV, NM, AK, ND, NH, & DC).  They also offer a number of other selections from Herout, plus ciders and Pommeaux from many other makers.

Cider Description:  This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Allied landings at Normandy.  Located only 13 miles from Utah Beach, Maison Hérout is uniquely positioned to pay its respects to the Americans who fought so bravely to help liberate Europe. Limited availability and only available on the website.  Authentic and full-bodied. The 75th Anniversary D-Day Commemorative Brut Cidre is distinguished by its golden color with orange undertones – and its very fine bubbles. On the mouth, the subtle acidity on the first taste is quickly balanced out by a refreshing finish. Subtle aromas of butter and dried herbs.

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 awarded the highest civilian honor in France for her 16 years of work getting the AOC recognized – Le Croix de Chevalier, Legion d’Honneur (Knights Cross for the Legion of Honneur).  See here for more information on the cider and here for more information on the cidery.

Price:  n/a (retails for $25)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Hazy light pumpkin hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells of musty funky apple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness, acidity, and funk.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness.  Notes of rich bittersweet apple juice and pomace, butterscotch, must/earth, and lemon.  Moderate tannic finish length.  Moderate apple flavor, complexity, and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I enjoyed this funky find – it reminded me some of English cider, except sparkling.

Most Similar to:  this was funkier than any other typical French cider I can remember trying (it nearly rivaled the Bordelet mini-keg I tried that I think was an off batch), which I personally loved, but the sweetness, carbonation level, flavor profile, etc, are all characteristically French (see a list of my French cider reviews here)

Closing Notes:  This is my favorite of the three Herout ciders I’ve tried, although I think I liked their Pommeau even better (I’ll have to double check when I open the bottle of Pommeau I have at home).

Have you tried Herout cidre?  What did you think?

Eric Bordelet Nouvelle Vague Sidre 5L Keg

Review of Eric Bordelet’s Nouvelle Vague Sidre, in a unique format, a 5 liter keg.  I previously tried this cider on tap (see here), plus I’ve had his Poire AuthentiqueSidre Tendre, and Sidre Brut Tendre.

Cider:  Nouvelle Vague Sidre
Cidery:  Eric Bordelet
Cidery Location:  Normandy, France
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  5L mini (party) keg
Style:  French sparkling cider from cider apples

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Availability:  likely limited

Cider Description:  Eric Bordelet’s newest creation is going to be a big hit. This fresh, off-dry (but closer to dry) apple cider from his younger trees is fermented in a fresher style than his bottled ciders. Less skin maceration, makes for a more refreshing cider that will be even more versatile. Presented in 5L, re-closeable aluminum “kegs,” just put this in your fridge and the cider will stay fresh and vibrant for up to two weeks after opening. We bet it doesn’t last that long!

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

See here and here for more information.

Price:  ~$90
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  at my in-laws house over xmas break
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Medium amber hue.  Nearly still (very low carbonation).  Smells super funky.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, bitterness, and tannins.  Very high funk.  Hints of sourness.  Notes of bittersweet cider apple juice and pomace, orange, and leather.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor, complexity, and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Although I enjoyed the cider and had no problem finishing it, I was disappointed.  It wasn’t nearly as sparkling as I expected (vs. all other French ciders I’ve had, plus photos and videos of this specific kegged cider), and it was super funky.  Very different from when I tried it previously.  For the price, based on what I saw online, and my previous trial, I had high expectations.  I had planned to share it with others for Christmas dinner, but no one liked it as it was so funky.  Thankfully I had a week to finish it myself.  However, I understand that due to the style of cider (wild yeast fermentation), there will be variations batch to batch.  Also, maybe there was some user error with the keg as far as getting it to be sparkling (although we followed the instructions).

Most Similar to:  With it being nearly flat and super funky, this actually reminded me more of English than French cider.

Closing Notes:  I think I’ll stick to bottled Bordelet ciders in the future, as those have all been superb.

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

Sicera Cidre de Normandie Florentin

Review of Sicera Cidre de Normandie’s Florentin  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  Florentin
Cidery:  Sicera Cidre de Normandie
Cidery Location:  Normandy, France
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked bottles
Style:  French cidre

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Availability:  unknown

Cider Description (translated):  The Florentine is a cider with a fruity and fresh nose in the mouth.  There are notes of citrus and pine.  The varieties of apple that make up this cider: Red Binet, Caillouel, Clos Renaud, Judor, Petit.  The Florentine is the result of a fermentation on native (natural) yeast for 5 months.  The yeasts present in the fruit and atmosphere of the cellar are called indigenous yeasts.

Cidery Description:  The family property “Amfreville” is located in Eturqueraye in Calvados appellation area, in the heart of Normandy, between the Seine Valley and the Risle Valley.  The apples are all from our family orchards. We work 10 hectares of tall orchards and 10 hectares of low stems. We grow 15 varieties of apples belonging to the groups: bitter, sweet, bittersweet and tart.  Each cider is made up of several varieties of apples, each of which has its importance: the bitter ones bring structure, the bittersweet their aromas, the sweet ones for the sugar and finally the acidulated ones structure the product and bring freshness. 

Price:  ~$20 CAN ?
Where Bought:  Victoria B.C. Canada
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, at a cruise port

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First Impression:  Light gold hue.  Smells of apple pomace and funk.  Moderate carbonation.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied with a fluffy texture from the natural carbonation.  Low tartness, acidity, tannins, and funk.  No bitterness or sourness.  Notes of apple pomace, apricot, and lemon.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor, complexity, and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  Drier and less rich (more fruity) than most other French ciders, which made it unique.

Most Similar to:  Kystin Opalyne

Closing Notes:  I thought this was a neat find in Victoria, one that I hadn’t seen previously, and such a pretty label.

Have you tried French cider?  What did you think?

Hérout Coup de Foudre Cidre Biologique

Review of Hérout’s ‘Coup de Foudre Cidre Biologique’, a French Calvados cask fermented cidre.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Cotentin Extra-BrutCotentin Brut, and Pommeau.

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Cider:  Coup de Foudre Cidre Biologique
Cidery:  Hérout
Importer:  Beauchamp Imports, French Cider Inc.
Cidery Location: Cotentin Peninsula, Normandy, France
ABV:  7.5%
How Supplied:  375ml corked bottles
Style:  Organic craft French cidre from cider apples, Calvados cask fermented

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Availability:  In Washington, through Beauchamp Imports, plus online sales though their French Cider Inc. website (but this one isn’t specifically listed – I’m guessing it is very new).  Also see Hérout’s Cotentin BrutCotentin Extra-Brut, Pommeau, apple juiceapple cider vinegar, and gift pack.

Cider Description (translated):  The vintage Thunderbolt is the latest Cider House Herut. 
100% pure juice, it naturally fermented in Calvados casks. The exchange with the Calvados cask brings to this cider clog an aromatic complexity broad and slightly reinforced in alcohol.  The vintage Coup de Foudre is rather raw and serves as an aperitif, but will also delight your “Happy Hours”!

Always in search of original and elaborated flavors, the corked Normandy organic ciders of the Hérout House combine authenticity and novelty.  Thus the Coup de Foudre vintage respects the tradition of natural fermentation and bottled foam; but it brings a novelty by letting fermentation take place in oak barrels that have contained Calvados.  Non-gasified and unpasteurized, the cask in Calvados boosts the alcohol content giving body to the cider, while exalting raw and authentic flavors.

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:  $16
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Medium orange hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, of tart apple, cork, and funk.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low tannins, bitterness, and funk.  No sourness.  Notes of bittersweet cider apple, oak, cork/earth, orange, leather, and alcohol.  Long tannic finish.  Moderate apple flavor and flavor intensity.  Low to moderate sessionability.  High complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed this because of its uniqueness.  You don’t see a Calvados (French apple brandy) cask fermented cider very often.  Most French ciders are rather similar to each other (apple and yeast forward, mid level sweetness, carbonated, etc), but this was quite different (tart, earthy, more complex, higher ABV, less carbonated).  It was nice to try, but not really something I’d drink regularly, especially with the price point.  My husband was an even bigger fan.

Most Similar to:  French cidre with a hint of Pommeau and more earthiness & complexity

Closing Notes:  I liked this better then Herout’s Cotentin Extra-Brut and Cotentin Brut, but so far my favorite from them is the Pommeau, by far.  Also, the Pommeau is an excellent value.

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

Le Pere Jules Cidre de Normandie

Review of Le Pere Jules Cidre de Normandie.  I previously tried this (see here), but it was a bad bottle, so especially as I was able to find a small bottle, I wanted to give it another go.

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Cider:  Cidre de Normandie
Cidery:  Le Pere Jules
Cidery Location:  Normandy France
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  11.2 oz bottle
Style:  French cidre from bittersweet cider apples

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Availability:  semi wide release, although easier to find in 750ml corked bottles

Cider Description (translated):  Pours a hazy amber color with a thin ring of head.  Aroma of dry apples, mild barnyard, hay, glue and vinous notes. The taste is sweet apples, tannic notes, mild must and vanilla.  Medium bodied, good balance, soft carbonation.

Cidery Description (translated):  Since 1919, quality and rigor are the key words of four generations of producers, faithful to ancestral traditions and lovers of their craft.  Their one and only wish, to offer you great products.  All our products are elaborated from varieties of apples and pears carefully selected from traditional orchards high stems in zone protected designation of origin.

Price:  ~$5 / single bottle
Where Bought:  The Jug Shop in San Francisco CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Dark orange hue,  Moderate to high carbonation.  Smells of bittersweet apple juice and yeast.

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

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  Distinctively French and easy to drink.

Most Similar to:  A slightly less complex version of Kystin Opalyne

Closing Notes:  I’m glad I gave this one another try.

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