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?

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).

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<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).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Similar to:  Loic Raison 1923 Brut

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

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

Dan Armor Cuvée Spéciale Cidré Poire

Review of Dan Armor Cuvée Spéciale Cidré Poire, a French perry (made entirely from pears, no apples).  It is my first time trying this, although I’ve previously tried Dan Armor’s cidre.  I’ve also sampled some other French poires:  Christian Drouin PoireDomaine Pacory Poire Domfront, and Eric Bordelet Poire Authentique (plus an American French-style poire,  E.Z. Orchards Poire).

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Cider:  Poire
Cidery:  Dan Armor Cuvée Spéciale Cidré
Cidery Location:  Brittany France
ABV:  4.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged champagne bottle
Style:  French Poire (perry)

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Availability:  wide release at Trader Joe’s, since early 2017 (imported by Lattitude Wines, Danville CA)

Cider Description:  Cider made from fresh pears grown in the northwest of France, slowly fermented to create refreshing aromas and sweet flavors.  No sugar was added to this well-balanced cider and it is gluten-free.

Price:  $4.99
Where Bought:  Trader Joe’s
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I had previously tried Dan Armor’s cider, and saw this for the first time.  At $5 it was an easy buy.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells of syrupy sweet pear.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to sweet (15g sugar / 8oz).  Medium to full bodied, with a smooth, creamy, and fizzy texture.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of canned pear, dried pear, and hints of pineapple & floral.  High pear flavor.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed this.  However, it was definitely on the commercial and easy to drink side, with less complexity than the other poires I’ve had (which admittedly have been from top cidermakers and high end prices to match).

Most Similar to:  Christian Drouin Poire (also semi-sweet and very pear-forward, but slightly more refined tasting and complex)

Closing Notes / random thoughts:   (1) Perry has significant unfermentable sugars, so even if completely fermented, it remains significant residual sugar (vs. cider, which with the right yeast will ferment to zero residual sugar).  Therefore you won’t see a dry perry.  Most are semi-sweet.  (2) Here in the U.S., typically the word perry should only be used if the beverage is only made from pears, and the term pear cider if it is an apple cider with pear juice.  However, often pear ciders are mistakenly called perries.  (3) I typically prefer French-style Poire to American perry.  Probably as many of the American perries I’ve had have been funky, and poire often has a really nice texture and complexity while remaining clean.  There have been a handful of American perries I have enjoyed though, like Locust Seckel Perry, Snowdrift Seckel Perry, and fruity perries from Pear UP (formerly NV Cider).

Have you tried French perry (poire)?  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?

Loic Raison Brut

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

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

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Availability:  wide release

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?