Le Brun Brut

Review of Le Brun’s Brut.  This is my first time trying this Brittany French cidre, although I have had their Organic Cidre and Poire (perry).  These three varieties are the only ones offered in the U.S., although in France (and Europe probably) there are probably more.

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Cider:  Brut
Cidery:  Le Brun
Cidery Location:  Brittany France
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  375ml (and 750ml) bottles
Style:  French cidre

Photo May 28, 3 55 40 PM Photo May 28, 3 55 50 PM

Availability:  semi wide release, imported by Winesellers, Ltd.

Cider Description:  Aromas of sweet, ripe apples dominate the nose.  The sweetness is nicely balanced by moderate acidity and light tannins drying it out on the finish with a beautiful woody note. A crisp, well balanced and an interesting cider. A cider with real depth and character.

Cidery Description:  Le Brun Cidres have been produced in Brittany, France since 1955. Cidres are made using the traditional method of natural fermentation of pure pressed juices from handpicked apples.

See here for more info.

Price:  $5
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  It was the first time I had seen these half bottles, which at 1/2 the price are a great deal.

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<the bottle foamed over after opening, even after letting it sit a few minutes after I took it out of the fridge and photographed the labels>

First Impression:  Medium hazy orange hue.  High carbonation with foam.  Smells of bittersweet apples and funk.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low funk, bitterness, and tannins.  Notes of bittersweet apples, juice, & pomace and orange with some earthiness.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I didn’t personally like this at all due to the sourness, which is my number one disliked quality in a cider (for some reason it just hits my taste buds all wrong and that is all I can taste).  I was surprised by the sourness and funk, as although this is noted as being wild fermented, Brittany cidres usually remain clean (unlike most Normandy cidres), and the other two selections I’ve tried from the cidery were clean.

Most Similar to:  Herout AOC Cotentin Extra-Brut

Closing Notes:  I much prefer their Organic Cidre, which is sweeter and fairly clean (only a bit of funk, which I actually like).

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

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Ferme de Beau Soleil Cidre Fermier Brut

Review of Ferme de Beau Soleil’s Cidre Fermier Bio Brut, a French “Farmer’s Cider”.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery, although I am a fan of French cidre (see some of my reviews here).

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Cider:  Cidre Fermier Bio Brut
Cidery:  Ferme de Beau Soleil
Cidery Location:  Matignon, Brittany, France
ABV:  5%
How Supplied:  750ml champagne corked & caged bottles
Style:  Breton French cidre

Photo Apr 22, 4 47 36 PM Photo Apr 22, 4 47 52 PM

Availability:  likely limited, imported by “Wines of France”

Cider Description:  Google translated as To offer you this raw cider, I have selected and assembled the best varieties of apples live from my orchards.  Since a slow fermentation and craftsmanship, its characteristic fruity taste will seduce you with an aperitif, until dessert.

Cidery Description:  The Renouard family has been making cider since 1975, and were certified organic in 2008.  The current cidermaker is Thomas Renouard (one source said its a one-man operation-wow).

Price:  $12
Where Bought:  Full Throttle Bottles in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, the first time I had been in since their long closure for remodel

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First Impression:  Light orange amber hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of bittersweet cider apples and yeast.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Low acidity, tannins, and funk.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness.  Notes of bittersweet cider apples & pomace, caramel, yeast, earth, leather, and orange.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor and flavor intensity.  Moderate to high complexity and sessionability.

My Opinion:  Excellent!  This cider had some nice stages, from tart to flavorful & funky to tannic.  I really liked everything about it – flavor profile, complexity, tannins, funk, etc.  It was edging towards rustic, yet without any sourness (which is my least liked quality).  However, it didn’t quite have as much of that fluffy texture (body) I love with French cidres (which I assume is from the keeving process), I’m guessing as it wasn’t as carbonated as many selections.

Most Similar to:  Pierre Huet AOC Pays D’Auge CidreManoir de Grandouet AOP Pays d’Auge CidreManoir de Grandouet Cidre Fermier BrutL’Hermitiére Cidre Brut, and Christian Drouin Pays d’Auge

Closing Notes:  I liked how this combined my favorite elements of both Brittany and Normandy ciders – sweeter, apple-forward, funky, but not sour.  It also hits a nice price point, about average of what I’ve seen.

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

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)

Photo Apr 04, 5 04 00 PM Photo Apr 04, 5 04 13 PM

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?

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?