Cidre de Rhuys Brut

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

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

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Availability:  semi wide release (see here)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

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Eric Bordelet Sidre Tendre

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

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

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

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

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

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

See here and here for more information.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lefevre Winter Cidre

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

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Beauchamp Imports / French Cider Inc.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

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

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

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

See here for more information on the cider.

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

See here for more information on the cidery.

Price:  n/a (retails for $6.49)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the importer Joan Harkins contacted me (we met at Cider Summit Seattle 2017)

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First Impression:  Medium orange amber hue.  Moderate carbonation with foam.  Smells of apple and raspberry syrup.

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

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

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

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

Have you tried Lefevre cidre?  What did you think?

Herout AOC Cotentin Extra-Brut

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

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Beauchamp Imports / French Cider Inc.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

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

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

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

See here for more information on the cider.

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

See here for more information on the cidery.

Price:  n/a (retails for $19.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the importer Joan Harkins contacted me (we met at Cider Summit Seattle 2017)

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First Impression:  Light orange amber hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of funk with a hint of apple.

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

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

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

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

Have you tried Herout cidre?  What did you think?

Pierre Huet AOC Pays D’Auge Cidre

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

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

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Beauchamp Imports / French Cider Inc.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

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

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

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

See here for more information on the cider.

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

See here for more information on the cidery.

Price:  n/a (retails for $19.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the importer Joan Harkins contacted me (we met at Cider Summit Seattle 2017)

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First Impression:  Light orange amber.  Moderate carbonation and foam.  Smells of ripe apple, funk, and orange.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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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?