Eric Bordelet Nouvelle Vague Sidre 5L Keg

Review of Eric Bordelet’s Nouvelle Vague Sidre, in a unique format, a 5 liter keg.  I previously tried this cider on tap (see here), plus I’ve had his Poire AuthentiqueSidre Tendre, and Sidre Brut Tendre.

Cider:  Nouvelle Vague Sidre
Cidery:  Eric Bordelet
Cidery Location:  Normandy, France
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  5L mini (party) keg
Style:  French sparkling cider from cider apples

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Availability:  likely limited

Cider Description:  Eric Bordelet’s newest creation is going to be a big hit. This fresh, off-dry (but closer to dry) apple cider from his younger trees is fermented in a fresher style than his bottled ciders. Less skin maceration, makes for a more refreshing cider that will be even more versatile. Presented in 5L, re-closeable aluminum “kegs,” just put this in your fridge and the cider will stay fresh and vibrant for up to two weeks after opening. We bet it doesn’t last that long!

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:  ~$90
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  at my in-laws house over xmas break
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Medium amber hue.  Nearly still (very low carbonation).  Smells super funky.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, bitterness, and tannins.  Very high funk.  Hints of sourness.  Notes of bittersweet cider apple juice and pomace, orange, and leather.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor, complexity, and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Although I enjoyed the cider and had no problem finishing it, I was disappointed.  It wasn’t nearly as sparkling as I expected (vs. all other French ciders I’ve had, plus photos and videos of this specific kegged cider), and it was super funky.  Very different from when I tried it previously.  For the price, based on what I saw online, and my previous trial, I had high expectations.  I had planned to share it with others for Christmas dinner, but no one liked it as it was so funky.  Thankfully I had a week to finish it myself.  However, I understand that due to the style of cider (wild yeast fermentation), there will be variations batch to batch.  Also, maybe there was some user error with the keg as far as getting it to be sparkling (although we followed the instructions).

Most Similar to:  With it being nearly flat and super funky, this actually reminded me more of English than French cider.

Closing Notes:  I think I’ll stick to bottled Bordelet ciders in the future, as those have all been superb.

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

Sicera Cidre de Normandie Florentin

Review of Sicera Cidre de Normandie’s Florentin  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  Florentin
Cidery:  Sicera Cidre de Normandie
Cidery Location:  Normandy, France
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked bottles
Style:  French cidre

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Availability:  unknown

Cider Description (translated):  The Florentine is a cider with a fruity and fresh nose in the mouth.  There are notes of citrus and pine.  The varieties of apple that make up this cider: Red Binet, Caillouel, Clos Renaud, Judor, Petit.  The Florentine is the result of a fermentation on native (natural) yeast for 5 months.  The yeasts present in the fruit and atmosphere of the cellar are called indigenous yeasts.

Cidery Description:  The family property “Amfreville” is located in Eturqueraye in Calvados appellation area, in the heart of Normandy, between the Seine Valley and the Risle Valley.  The apples are all from our family orchards. We work 10 hectares of tall orchards and 10 hectares of low stems. We grow 15 varieties of apples belonging to the groups: bitter, sweet, bittersweet and tart.  Each cider is made up of several varieties of apples, each of which has its importance: the bitter ones bring structure, the bittersweet their aromas, the sweet ones for the sugar and finally the acidulated ones structure the product and bring freshness. 

Price:  ~$20 CAN ?
Where Bought:  Victoria B.C. Canada
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, at a cruise port

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First Impression:  Light gold hue.  Smells of apple pomace and funk.  Moderate carbonation.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied with a fluffy texture from the natural carbonation.  Low tartness, acidity, tannins, and funk.  No bitterness or sourness.  Notes of apple pomace, apricot, and lemon.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor, complexity, and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  Drier and less rich (more fruity) than most other French ciders, which made it unique.

Most Similar to:  Kystin Opalyne

Closing Notes:  I thought this was a neat find in Victoria, one that I hadn’t seen previously, and such a pretty label.

Have you tried French cider?  What did you think?

Hérout Coup de Foudre Cidre Biologique

Review of Hérout’s ‘Coup de Foudre Cidre Biologique’, a French Calvados cask fermented cidre.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Cotentin Extra-BrutCotentin Brut, and Pommeau.

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Cider:  Coup de Foudre Cidre Biologique
Cidery:  Hérout
Importer:  Beauchamp Imports, French Cider Inc.
Cidery Location: Cotentin Peninsula, Normandy, France
ABV:  7.5%
How Supplied:  375ml corked bottles
Style:  Organic craft French cidre from cider apples, Calvados cask fermented

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Availability:  In Washington, through Beauchamp Imports, plus online sales though their French Cider Inc. website (but this one isn’t specifically listed – I’m guessing it is very new).  Also see Hérout’s Cotentin BrutCotentin Extra-Brut, Pommeau, apple juiceapple cider vinegar, and gift pack.

Cider Description (translated):  The vintage Thunderbolt is the latest Cider House Herut. 
100% pure juice, it naturally fermented in Calvados casks. The exchange with the Calvados cask brings to this cider clog an aromatic complexity broad and slightly reinforced in alcohol.  The vintage Coup de Foudre is rather raw and serves as an aperitif, but will also delight your “Happy Hours”!

Always in search of original and elaborated flavors, the corked Normandy organic ciders of the Hérout House combine authenticity and novelty.  Thus the Coup de Foudre vintage respects the tradition of natural fermentation and bottled foam; but it brings a novelty by letting fermentation take place in oak barrels that have contained Calvados.  Non-gasified and unpasteurized, the cask in Calvados boosts the alcohol content giving body to the cider, while exalting raw and authentic flavors.

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:  $16
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Medium orange hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, of tart apple, cork, and funk.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low tannins, bitterness, and funk.  No sourness.  Notes of bittersweet cider apple, oak, cork/earth, orange, leather, and alcohol.  Long tannic finish.  Moderate apple flavor and flavor intensity.  Low to moderate sessionability.  High complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed this because of its uniqueness.  You don’t see a Calvados (French Pommeau, apple brandy + cider) cask fermented cider very often.  Most French ciders are rather similar to each other (apple and yeast forward, mid level sweetness, carbonated, etc), but this was quite different (tart, earthy, more complex, higher ABV, less carbonated).  It was nice to try, but not really something I’d drink regularly, especially with the price point.  My husband was an even bigger fan.

Most Similar to:  French cidre with a hint of Pommeau and more earthiness & complexity

Closing Notes:  I liked this better then Herout’s Cotentin Extra-Brut and Cotentin Brut, but so far my favorite from them is the Pommeau, by far.  Also, the Pommeau is an excellent value.

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

Le Pere Jules Cidre de Normandie

Review of Le Pere Jules Cidre de Normandie.  I previously tried this (see here), but it was a bad bottle, so especially as I was able to find a small bottle, I wanted to give it another go.

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Cider:  Cidre de Normandie
Cidery:  Le Pere Jules
Cidery Location:  Normandy France
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  11.2 oz bottle
Style:  French cidre from bittersweet cider apples

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Availability:  semi wide release, although easier to find in 750ml corked bottles

Cider Description (translated):  Pours a hazy amber color with a thin ring of head.  Aroma of dry apples, mild barnyard, hay, glue and vinous notes. The taste is sweet apples, tannic notes, mild must and vanilla.  Medium bodied, good balance, soft carbonation.

Cidery Description (translated):  Since 1919, quality and rigor are the key words of four generations of producers, faithful to ancestral traditions and lovers of their craft.  Their one and only wish, to offer you great products.  All our products are elaborated from varieties of apples and pears carefully selected from traditional orchards high stems in zone protected designation of origin.

Price:  ~$5 / single bottle
Where Bought:  The Jug Shop in San Francisco CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Dark orange hue,  Moderate to high carbonation.  Smells of bittersweet apple juice and yeast.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness, funk, and tannins.  No sourness.  Notes of bittersweet apple juice and pomace, orange, and yeast.  Moderate length finish.  High apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability and flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  Distinctively French and easy to drink.

Most Similar to:  A slightly less complex version of Kystin Opalyne

Closing Notes:  I’m glad I gave this one another try.

Have you tried Le Pere Jules?  What did you think?

Eric Bordelet Sidre Brut Tendre

Review of Eric Bordelet’s Sidre Brut Tendre.  I’ve previously had the non-Brut (sweeter) version of this same cider (see here), as well as his Poire Authentique and Nouvelle Vague Sidre.

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Cider:  Sidre Brut Tendre
Cidery:  Eric Bordelet
Cidery Location:  Normandy, France
ABV:  4.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  French craft cider from cider apples, sparkling, brut (dry), naturally fermented

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Availability:  Semi wide release.  In addition to France and the U.S.A., the website says the 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:  Traditional semi dry cider.

They also make a non-brut (sweet) version of this cider.  I’ve read the only difference between the two is that this drier version was allowed to ferment fully, while the sweeter version has fermentation stopped early.

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:  $12
Where Bought:  Cheese Plus in San Francisco CA (across the street from The Jug Shop) – I highly recommend both shops
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, on a cruise port stop – it was a really neat store, with lots of fancy wine and other beverages (they probably had 8 cider varieties, national, Spanish, and French – I also picked up some cans of Embark cider), cheese, charcuterie, and other fine foods – perfect to pick up items for a dinner party, or just a sandwich for lunch

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First Impression:  Moderate gold hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of apple pomace.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Moderate tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Notes of bittersweet cider apple juice and pomace, yeast, caramel, oak, and orange.  Moderate length finish.  High apple flavor and sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity and complexity.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I think I enjoyed this more than the sweeter version.  I loved the complexity (more than the sweeter version).  Completely clean (no sourness or funk), so it would be a great introduction to French cider.  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 it is food-friendly (I had it with some smoked salmon).

Most Similar to:  Bordelet Sidre Tendre (non-brut), Bordelet Nouvelle Vague Sidre, and Christian Drouin Pays d’Auge

Closing Notes:  It looked like this bottle sat around for awhile in the store, as the label was messed up (and it was at a lower price than I’d expect).  It was also a bit less carbonated than I’d expect, which can happen over time.  However, it was still awesome.  Ciders like this can even improve with age.

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

Louis Raison Rouge Delice

Review of Louis Raison Rouge Delice.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve also sampled their Organic Dry version.  This article gives a nice overview of the cidery, such that they started in 1923, and are the top selling cidermaker in France.

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Cider:  Rouge Delice
Cidery:  Louis Raison
Cidery Location:  Le Theil-sur-Huisne France
ABV:  5.5%
Brix:  6.57 (23 g sugar / 11.2 oz)
How Supplied:  six pack of 11.2 oz bottles
Style:  commercial French cider, from 10% Rouge Delice red-fleshed apples + 90% bittersweet apples

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Availability:  wide release in Europe, plus at least sold in Washington & Oregon in the U.S. since March 2018

Cider Description:  [Rouge Delice] is comprised of Rouge Delice and Bittersweet apples. Rouge Delice apples – grown only in France – are recognized for their unique red flesh, delivering the natural rose hue of the liquid itself.  On the nose, this cider is citrusy with bright acidity, accompanied by hints of strawberry and cranberry.  The taste is floral with hints of white tea, spiced apple, and melon.  Rouge Delice finishes with a soft, sweet hint of playful plum and fruit flavors. 2017 Tastings Gold Medal recipient.

Ingredient List:  hard cider, apple juice, liquid sugar, citric acid, natural flavors, color: E163

Cidery Description:  Observing the growth that the American cider industry has experienced, Louis Raison saw an exciting opportunity to introduce high-quality French cidre to US consumers. With such a rich history in cider making, it seemed like a natural fit. After almost a century of production, the Raison team has shown dedication to the longevity of their cider-making expertise, respect for its cooperative values, and the development of sustainable agriculture. Nothing short of a modern-day family, it is only with the knowledge and expertise of its 300 producers and members of the cooperative that Louis Raison has become the market leader of cidre in France. Years of experience have earned Louis Raison the mastery of the sustainable cultivation of apples from orchard to glass. Ultimately, Louis Raison is proud of its cooperative spirit – between producers of apples, employers of factory workers, and providers to cider drinkers alike, all are a part of the Raison family. Santé!

Price:  ~$2 / single bottle (runs ~$9.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about them online, and tried another variety at Cider Summit last year

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First Impression:  Light red hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells sweet, of apple, and slightly fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Sweet.  Medium bodied with a fluffy texture.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Hints of tannins.  Notes of sweet apple, strawberry, and watermelon, with hints of rich bittersweet apple.  Quick finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate to high flavor intensity.  High sessionability.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I really liked the flavor, but it was a bit too sweet for me.  Perfect for summer though.

Most Similar to:  Two other French ciders I’ve had which were made using red-fleshed apples, Domaine du Verger Rosé Cidre Bouche and La Chouette Cidre Rosé.  All three only used red-fleshed varieties as part of a blend.  The La Chouette was my favorite of the three, as it isn’t as sweet, but still flavorful, the most complex, and the least commercial tasting, although it also cost the most per ounce.

Closing Notes:  Louis Raison’s ciders are definitely more commercial tasting than most other French ciders I’ve tried, but are at a nice low price point, and will likely eventually be fairly widely distributed, and therefore able to introduce more folks to French cider, which I think overall is a good thing.  I think it was slightly deceptive to name this ‘Rouge Delice’ and highlight their use of this red-fleshed apple variety when they were only 10% of the mix, but at least the ingredient list on the label clearly stated the percentage, which is better than some other cideries have done (Angry Orchard, I’m thinking of you).

Side Note:  If you are interested in trying American ciders from 100% red-fleshed apples, I recommend Alpenfire GlowAlpenfire Cinders, and Snowdrift Red.

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

Kystin Cuvée XVII

Review of Kystin’s Cuvée XVII, a French cidre.  The “XVII” refers to the 16 apple varieties plus a 17th ingredient, chestnuts.  I’ve previously tried their Opalyne.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by French Cider Inc. / Beauchamp Imports.  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:  Cuvée XVII
Cidery:  Kystin
Cidery Location:  Brittany France
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  Breton French Demi-Sec (sweet) cidre from 16 varieties of cider apples, with chestnuts

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Availability:  limited, imported by French Cider Inc.

Cider Description (translated):  After seven long years of experimentation, a maceration of chestnut, raw, crushed, for many months in the juice will finally be retained to tie apple and chestnut: La Cuvée XVII is born!  Today, it offers us a particularity and unique flavor, amazing Chefs and Sommeliers of very beautiful establishments, honoring the Gastronomy and knowing how to put forward the difference.  Its sublime amber color, its tuberous nose, its attack very fresh honeyed apples gradually gives place to the flavors of Chestnut and its notes of undergrowth.  There is also the creamy chestnut, cocoa and floral notes very intense. 

Cidery Description:  Created in 2012, Kystin offers a range of original and very unique gourmet ciders, made of unusual ingredients such as chestnuts, pears and ginger. With a history dating back to the 14th century, Kystin ciders combine fruit, tradition and authenticity to create an unforgetabble taste. The brand recently released “Kalysie” – a pear ginger cider named as a tribute to the Khaleesi character from popular TV series Game of Thrones.

Price:  n/a (retails for $26.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  through French Cider Inc.

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First Impression:  Light orange hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells of sweet apple with earth and nut.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Moderate tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of bittersweet cider apple & pomace, yeast, nuts, orange, leather, and earth.  Long tannic nutty finish.  High apple flavor, sessionability, and complexity.  Moderate to high flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  Excellent!  I love the uniqueness of this cider.  Quite complex and flavorful.  Probably the most tannic French cidre I’ve ever had, which I enjoyed, and the nuttiness paired perfectly.  Also less sweet than I was expecting for a Demi-Sec, which makes it quite versatile.  I drank this at cellar temperature (in between fridge & room temps), which the cidery recommended, and I agree with.

Most Similar to:  I’ve actually tried two Chestnut themed ciders, an English cider aged in a Chestnut wood cask (Sandford Orchards Chestnut Cask), and a cider with Chestnut crabapples and aged with toasted oak spirals (Number 12 Chestnut), but neither were with actual chestnuts.  The most nutty cider I’ve had was an English Perry from Hogan’s, but again, no nuts.

Closing Notes:  Next up is Kystin’s Kalysie, a perry (100% pears) with ginger.  So far I’m quite impressed, especially considering this is a relatively new cidery (2012), especially in comparison to the age of many other French cideries which have been around for generations.

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?