Today I would like to introduce you a French cidre from the French Basque Country, TOPA. The word ‘TOPA’ is derived from a Basque word ‘topaketa’, which means ‘a meeting”. A meeting of two entrepreneurs and cidre lovers, Gregoire Tulasne and Pascal Moret who in 2016 decided to give the traditional Basque beverage a modern and refreshing twist. Their TOPA is a blend of untreated traditional Basque apple varieties such as Urteby, Txalaka, Anisa or Goikoetxea that were slowly fermented at low temperatures for over 4 months. But don’t expect a typical sagardoa here, a cider typical for the Basque Country as TOPA was designed to be more aromatic, less acidic and less bitter than the Basque counterpart. Company: TOPA
Place of Origin: Bidart, French Basque Country, France
Apples: a blend of 9 untreated apple varieties such as Urteby, Txalaka, Anisa or Goikoetxea
Sweetness as per label: brut
Package type: 750ml amber glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass, snifter or chalice glass
Appearance: pours a rather clear deep orange with no foam. Lightly sparkling. Body is low to medium.
Aroma/Nose: the nose is rather weak with aromas of yellow apples, vanilla, light orange with a light hint of smoke. No vinegar.
Taste: the first sip is light to moderately sweet with a fairly low acidity. Subsequently, it gets a bit watery with a taste of an orange lemonade. Then the medium astringent taste, vanilla with yellow apples remind you that you’re actually drinking cider. Aroma of orange, caramel with a light touch of grapefruit, very distant alcohol and butter in the fairly long aftertaste.
Overall: recently, I realised that drinking cider from a beautiful bottle like the one TOPA is served from, elevates the drinking pleasure. Cider is made like wine and should be served like wine. Anyway, the content of the gorgeous TOPA bottle doesn’t disappoint. It has a typical orangy flavour so you can tell that it was made from the Basque apple varieties although typical features such as vinegar and yeasty taste are missing. The palate is rich and although in the beginning, you get the impression you’re drinking an orange lemonade, the taste develops and further lovely tastes of tannins, vanilla and caramel appear providing a strong evidence that this is a cider that you’re actually drinking. The nose could be more intense. And it is the only component that could be improved. It was a true pleasure drinking this cidre and I would love to have it again. A delicious Basque cidre for everyone. It will pair well with any type of food. 4.5/6
Availability: from their online shop or selected restaurants, bars in France. In Paris from Pomze; in Marseille from Bibovino; in Anglet from Bière En Stock, Le Chai de l’Adour , Vignobles et Découvertes and Mandion; In the Netherlands from Appels en Peren. Click here for the full list of stockists. Online from Calyce Cider – they ship to Germany, Belgium, Spain, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria, Italy and Portugal!
Price: TOPA Cidre Brut Basque was a sample provided by Gregoire from TOPA.