Herout AOC Cotentin Brut 2015

Review of Herout AOC Cotentin Brut 2015, an Organic French cidre.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Extra Brut.

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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 Brut (2015 harvest)
Cidery:  Herout AOC
Cidery Location:  Cotentin Peninsula, Normandy, France
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottle
Style:  Organic French cidre, from cider apples, brut (dry)

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

Cider Description:  We are currently offering bottles of the award-winning 2015 vintage, Cidre Cotentin Brut! Hérout à Auvers is the only French cider producer who puts a vintage date on their bottles. The date represents the year the apples where harvested.  Like a fine wine, the flavor evolves with time and we think the 2015 Brut is just about perfect right now.  to heighten the flavor experience,  decant/carafe it before drinking. Cotentin Brut cider is made from 100% organic, naturally-fermented cider apple juice.

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 cider and here for more information on the cidery.

Price:  n/a (retails for $23.99)
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.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells of apple, must, funk, and yeast.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, tannins, and funk.  Moderate bitterness.  No sourness.  Notes of bittersharp apple pomace, yeast, orange, and caramel.  Long bitter finish.  Moderate flavor intensity and complexity.  Low sessionability and apple flavor.

My Opinion:  I personally wasn’t a fan.  However, it is a well made cider – just too bitter and dry for my preferences.  Every cider isn’t for everyone, so its great we have so many choices.  This is probably the driest French cider I’ve had (surprisingly I perceived this Brut version as drier than their Extra Brut version).

I’d recommend it for for folks who like French cider, but find most too sweet, as well as wine lovers.  Note that the importer recommended to let this breathe a bit before drinking to bring out more flavor, so I poured a glass and stuck it back in my cellar-temperature cider fridge for a bit.

Most Similar to:  Herout AOC Cotentin Extra Brut

However, for drier French ciders, I personally prefer Cidrerie Daufresne Brut, Domaine de la Minotiere Cidre Fermier Bio Brut, and Pierre Huet AOC Pays D’Auge Cidre, although those are all a bit sweeter than both Herout selections.

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

Have you tried Herout cidre?  What did you think?

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La Chouette Cidre Rosé

Review of La Chouette Cidre Rosé, a French rosé cidre, made from apples (including red-fleshed) and pears.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Demi-Sec (see here).

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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:  Rosé
Cidery:  La Chouette Cidre
Cidery Location:  Saint-Pair-sur-Mer, France
ABV:  4.5%
How Supplied:  330ml (12oz) single bottles
Style:  French cidre from apples (including red-fleshed) and pears, demi-sec

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Availability:  In Washington, through Beauchamp Imports, plus online at their French Cider Inc. website.  In addition to La Chouette’s Rosé, they also offer their Demi-Sec.

Cider Description:  La Chouette Cidre Rosé is an all-natural craft cidre made from red-fleshed apples and pears – giving it a beautiful rose color and a bright, crisp demi-sec flavor. Thirst quenching and easy to drink, our 2018 prediction is that it will become one of your favorites.  No gluten, no added sugar and no added flavoring.

Cidery Description:  La Chouette—which means “the Owl” in French—refers to the surprising bond between this elusive night bird and French cidre. Traditionally, many farmers in the northwest of France made their own cidre with apples from their orchards. Often, the farmers made their cidre in barns, where the owls could be seen watching over the production from their perches under the roof. Thus La Chouette has always looked after French cider and continues to look over our cidre today.

See here for more on the cidery, and here for more on the cider.

Price:  n/a (retails for $5.99)
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:  Moderate red hue.  Smells of pear, watermelon, and strawberry.  Moderate carbonation.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Light bodied, with a fluffy texture.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of canned pear, watermelon, strawberry, green apple, and lemon.  Long tart fruity finish.  Moderate complexity.  High sessionability.  Moderate to high pear flavor and flavor intensity.  Low apple flavor.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I really enjoyed everything about it – flavor, texture, complexity, and balance.  The flavor has a lot of the notes from the red-fleshed apples, plus pear.  You can tell that this is naturally (not force) carbonated, as it has such a fluffy texture, which helped make it seem lighter bodied than is typical for this level of sweetness.

Most Similar to:  nothing I’ve had, as this was like a combination of French poire (perry) and cider from red-fleshed apples

Closing Notes:  I found this far superior to most American commercial rosé selections.  It was more on par to ciders from red-fleshed apples (such as Alpenfire Glow and Snowdrift Red), although it had the added French and pear components.

Have you tried French cidre or rosé cider?  What did you think?

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?

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?