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?

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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?

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.

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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:  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)

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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?

Domaine de la Minotiere Cidre Fermier Bio Doux

Review of Domaine de la Minotiere’s Cidre Fermier Bio Doux.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had many 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:  Cidre Fermier Bio Doux 2015
Cidery:  Domaine de la Minotiere
Cidery Location:  Normandy, France
ABV:  3.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottle
Style:  Norman French cidre, Organic, Doux (which means sweet)

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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 cider is full-bodied and slightly sweet, with subtle apple character and a beautiful balance of acid, tannin, and sugar. It has a mix of citrus peel, fruity aromas of apricot and citrus fruit, and musty floral notes.

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 amber hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells of funk and apple pomace.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied and frothy.  Low tartness, acidity, tannins, and funk.  No bitterness or sourness.  Notes of apple pomace and juice, yeast, earth, caramel, and green apple.  The main flavor of the cider dissipates fairly quickly, but a very light apple pomace flavor really lingers.  High apple flavor and sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity and complexity.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I was expecting this to be very sweet, but was pleasantly surprised.  I loved the flavor profile.  Similar to Manoir de Grandouet Cidre Fermier Brut, the funk/barnyard scent was quite strong, but didn’t transfer much to the flavor, and dissipated over time.  It was also similar to the Grandouet in how the ripe apple yeasty funky characteristics of the Norman cider were expressed without any perceived sourness (yay!), and that it was more rich than fruity.  This cider is also an excellent value for being imported and Organic.

Most Similar to:  Manoir de Grandouet Cidre Fermier Brut and L’Hermitiére Cidre Brut (very much so, although this is sweeter than both of those), Manoir De Montreuil Cambremer, and Christian Drouin Pays d’Auge

Closing Notes:  It seems odd to have a cider with only 3% ABV, but that is fairly common in France (some are even lower!).  I found a post online of someone recommending this as a brunch cider, and I totally agree.  They also have a drier (Brut) version of this cider that is 5% ABV, which I also plan to try.

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

Manoir de Grandouet Cidre Fermier Brut

Review of Manoir de Grandouet Cidre Fermier Brut.  It is my first time trying this one, but French cidre isn’t new to me; here are some of the ones I’ve tried.

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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:  Cidre Fermier Brut
Cidery:  Manoir de Grandouet
Cidery Location:  Pays d’Auge, Normandy, France
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  corked & caged champagne bottle
Style:  Norman French cidre, Brut (which means “dry”, but for French cider is typically semi-dry ish, vs. the sweeter “doux”)

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Do you ever notice how French cidery and cidre names all seem to sound the same, and often even the labels look the same?  I have a tough time remembering which ones I’ve tried!  Having a list has definitely come in handy.

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:  After a long and slow fermentation of about 5 months, the cider is bottled and kept in our cellars for more than a year. It develops tannic, smoked and slightly leather aromas.  Lovers of traditional cider will appreciate this cider of character, rustic and drier.  Yellow-orange, it has a slight bitterness which makes it a thirst quenching cider.  This cider can be enjoyed during a meal, accompanied by dishes (meats, fish, seafood) or Norman cheeses (Camembert of Normandy AOP, Pont-L’Evêque PDO and Livarot PDO).  It can also be enjoyed in kir, with a cream of fruits (raspberry, blackberry, blackcurrant).

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 ~ $11)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the importer contacted me (I previously reviewed their Dunkertons cider)

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First Impression:  Moderate orange amber hue.  Moderate carbonation and high foam.  Smells of funky ripe yeasty French apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied, with a very frothy fluffy texture.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins, bitterness, and funk.  No sourness.  Notes of ripe cooked bittersweet apples and pomace, residual yeast, orange, butterscotch, and earth/smoke.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate to high apple flavor and sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity and complexity.

My Opinion:  Great!  I loved how the ripe apple yeasty funky characteristics of Norman cider were expressed without any perceived sourness, which can be common (such as in Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouche).  I liked that this was more rich than fruity.  It would make a great introduction to Normandy cider for someone who had only tried the easier to drink Breton ciders from Brittany France (which are typically completely clean, ie. free of funk and sourness, plus often sweeter).  The funk in this cider was primarily in the scent, and subsided a bit over time, so if you find funk off-putting (like my husband), I’d recommend pouring the cider and letting it sit a bit before drinking.  The level of sweetness was spot-on for me.  It was quite frothy though, which slowed me down a bit while drinking it, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Most Similar to: L’Hermitiére Cidre Brut (very much so), Manoir De Montreuil Cambremer, and Christian Drouin Pays d’Auge, or for a rare U.S. made French-style cider, 2 Towns Traditions Cidre Bouche

Closing Notes:  I’m glad I got to try this cider, as I’m not sure if it is available locally.  I have several other French ciders from the importer/distributor to try next, including another from this same cidery.

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

2 Towns Traditions Cidre Bouche – 2016 Vintage

This review is of 2 Towns Traditions Cidre Bouche, a French-style keeved cider.  This is their second release of this cider, the 2016 vintage (see my review here of the 2015 vintage).  I’ve also tried many other ciders from 2 Towns (see here).

Keeving is a special labor intensive process of fermenting the cider slowly, starving it of natural nutrients.  It results in an apple-forward, naturally sweet, lower ABV, and higher carbonation cider.  This is typical for French cidre, but is very rare in the U.S.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  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:  Traditions Cidre Bouche
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis Oregon
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  375ml (12.7oz) fancy single bottles
Style:  American craft French style cider, keeved, from cider apples, oak cask aged

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Availability:  Limited (310 cases of 12 bottles), although 2 Towns ciders are generally available in AK, CA, HI, ID, OR, WA, and Minneapolis MN & Chicago IL.

Cider Description:  Inspired by the bittersweet ciders of France, Cidre Bouche is made using an old-world process called keeving.  Starting with 100% traditional cider varieties like Kingston Black, Michelin, Reine des Pommes, Dabinett, and Muscat de Lense, we let the fruit ‘sweat’ and intensify in aroma.  The apples are crushed and left to soak on the skins before the juice is fermented slowly over the course of a tear in French oak casks.  When finished, this keeved cider is rich, thick, and brimming with overripe bittersweet apple character.

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $10)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Moderate amber hue.  Low carbonation with some foam.  Smells of sweet ripe French bittersweet cider apple juice, yeast, and a predominant funk / barnyard.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins.  Low funk.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness.  Notes of rich ripe bittersweet cider apple juice and pomace, yeast, caramel, and orange.  Low oak influence.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I really enjoyed it.  The flavor was amazingly bold and rich, it remained free of sourness (which I’m not a fan of), and the funk added a bit of complexity but remained primarily in the scent.

Most Similar to:  French cidres with a bit of funk but no sourness, such as Christian Drouin Pays d’AugeL’Hermitiére Cidre Brut, and Manoir De Montreuil Cambremer

Closing Notes:   I think this release was significantly better than last year’s version, and if I was tasting it blind, I would have guessed it was made in France, not Oregon!  2 Towns has really mastered their keeving technique.  Its pretty cool to see a U.S. cidermaker use this old world French process.  We may see more keeved ciders, especially in the Northwest, as the NW Cider Association took a group of cidermakers (using grant money) to France and England to learn about keeving in May/June 2017; see here.

However, the price is a bit high (although understandable due to the high cost of cider apples in the U.S., and that this was a very labor intensive and relatively small batch release).  Many imported French cidres cost less per ounce.  By the way, my favorite budget-friendly French cider is Dan Armor, only $5 / 750ml (only at Trader Joe’s).  It is more simplistic (less complex) that this one however.  I’m not sure if U.S. cideries will ever be able to compete with those sorts of prices on ciders from bittersweet cider apples.

Have you tried 2 Towns Traditions Cidre Bouche?  What did you think?

Florence Loisel Cidre Breton “Gosne”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?