Kupela Bizia Pétillant Semi-Dry

Basque is a language isolate, meaning that it not similar to any other language spoken today in Europe. For instance, Kupela, the name of the cider maker from the French Basque Country means ‘barrel’ in Basque. ‘Barrel’ doesn’t sound similar to ‘kupela’, does it?

Kupela’s Pétillant Semi-Dry is the third cider after the Sagardoa and the Pétillant Dry from this French cider maker that I’ve sampled. Company: Kupela
Place of Origin: Anglet, French Basque Country, France
Apples: traditional Basque apples such as Manttoni, Patzuola, Urtebi Ttiki and Urtebi Handi
Sweetness as per label: 
dry
ABV: 
4%
Package type:
330ml amber glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: 
white wine glass, snifter or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with a large white foam that quickly dissipates. High carbonation. Likely artificial carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the nose sweetish with notes of yellow, dessert apples and some fruitiness to it. The aroma is rather weak.

Taste: my first sip is moderately sweet with a touch of acidity. On the mid-palate notes of yellow dessert apples, lemon, hard candy with a touch of astringency.

a hint of orange, a bit watery taste with yellow apples, some fruitiness and smokiness. In the aftertaste light astringency with a touch of lemon candy. Finishes quick leaving a touch of astringent taste and an apple note to it.

Overall: Kupela’s Semi-Dry is a cider that will not disappoint anyone, but also will not stun anyone. It’s light, drinkable and refreshing. However, the nose is very weak and the taste finishes very quickly. It simply has no depth. Also, I would say it tastes more like a French than Basque cider in terms of flavours. Personally, I wouldn’t buy it again as I thought it was too sweet, but I’m sure many will enjoy its refreshing flavours and apple character. 3/6

Availability: online in France from their online shop.

Price: Kupela’s Pétillant was a sample provided by Estitxu from Kupela.

Kupela Pétillant Dry

By creating the cider brand Kupela, Xalbat and Bastien wanted to popularise cider drinking in the French Basque Country. Therefore, apart from creating a traditional Sagardoa, traditional Basque cider they developed the Pétillant, a light cider made from traditional Basque apples but with a modern twist. This is the cider I’m going to review today. Company: Kupela
Place of Origin:
Anglet, French Basque Country, France
Apples:
traditional Basque apples such as Manttoni, Patzuola, Urtebi Ttiki and Urtebi Handi
Sweetness as per label: 
dry
ABV: 
4%
Package type: 
330ml amber glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: 
white wine glass, snifter or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with no foam. Lightly sparkling. Likely artificial carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose has a sweet aroma of dessert apples and yellow apples. Also, a hint of red apples, a lightly vinous note, some fruitiness. And, a hint of burnt sugar.

Taste: the first sip is moderately sweet with low acidity. On the mid-palate a hint of orange, a bit watery taste with yellow apples, some fruitiness and smokiness. In the aftertaste light astringency with a touch of lemon candy.

Overall: Kupela’s cider has a clear nose and taste. Also, it tastes quite light, natural and fruity. Actually, it more resembles sweet wine that cider. The flavours are not intense both on the nose and on the palate. Pétillant could use more body as it tastes like a bit more complex version of a fizzy drink. It has a structure and some depth but it didn’t win my heart. To my palate, it had a too high level of sweetness and lacked acidity. However, I can imagine that exactly these features can be attractive to potential consumers. Anyway, I think it can be appreciated if it is well chilled by those who like sweet cider. 3/6

Availability: online in France from their online shop and Maison Arosteguy.

Price: Kupela’s Pétillant Dry was a sample provided by Estitxu from Kupela.

Kupela Sagardoa

Kupela is a relatively young company established only in 2015 in the French Basque Country. In reaction to the growing cider market in France, the founders Xalbat and Bastien have decided to release their own cider made from traditional Basque apples. Theis cider brand is supposed to reflect their love of the traditional beverage from the Basque Country in the South. With their product range, Xalbat and Bastien wish to make cider also more popular in the northern part of the Basque Country. Today I give you their Sagardoa.Company: Kupela
Place of Origin: Anglet, French Basque Country, France
Apples: traditional Basque apples such as Manttoni, Patzuola, Urtebi Ttiki and Urtebi Handi
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 6%
Package type: 750ml green glass bottle with cork
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass, snifter or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy pale yellow with no foam. No carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is dry and salty with notes of green olive brine, the old good vinegar, lemon, yellow apples and herbal notes. Moderately strong aroma.

Taste: it begins dry with low to medium acidity of vinegar and lemon.  A watery note with pomelo, some smokiness, yellow apple, low astringent taste, on the palate. Finishes dry with a hint of grapefruit and a light note of sauerkraut

Overall: at a blind cider tasting I would guess this is a classical sagardoa from the Basque country. It tastes dry, has notes of vinegar and olive brine, which are typical features for cider made in this region. Sagardoa created by Kupela tastes much better and has much more depth than the commercial La Sidra de San Sebastian. It could taste a bit less watery though. I’m sure it would pair well with savoury dishes such as tapas or pintxos. But I sampled it while I watched a soccer match and it tasted perfectly fine and very refreshing on its own. 4/6

Availability: online in France from Acheter Au Pays-Basque.

Price: Kupela Sagardoa was a sample provided by Estitxu from Kupela.

TOPA Cidre Brut Basque

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
ABV: 5.5%
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 StockLe Chai de l’Adour , Vignobles et Découvertes and Mandion; In the Netherlands from Appels en Peren. Click here for the full list of stockists.

Price: TOPA Cidre Brut Basque was a sample provided by Gregoire from TOPA.

Bereziartua Sidra Natural

Sidras Bereziartua Sagardoak is a family owned cider producer, established in 1870 in Ergobia, Basque Country, Spain. In 1970 they moved to their current location in Astigarraga. Their natural sidra received Gold at the Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition (GLINTCAP) in 2015 and Bronze in 2016. Moreover, in 2015 and 2016 Sidra Natural was awarded Pomme d’Or at the International Apfelwein Weltweit in Frankfurt.Company: Sidras Bereziartua Sagardoak
Place of Origin: Astigarraga, Basque Country, Spain
Apples: Txalaka, Urtebia, Judeline, Judo
ABV: 6.0%
Package type: 750ml green glass bottle with natural cork
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or just any glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy orange. No carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose has yeast, tart apples, fermented apples, grapefruit, lemon, orange and a distant vinegary note.

Taste: the first taste is watery with medium acidity and a light vinegary and lemon-like note. The mid-palate has a yeasty flavour with fermented apples, mouth puckering moderate tannins, and a gentle note of sauerkraut and grapefruit. The aftertaste is dry with a lingering astringency, grapefruit-bitterness and a touch of vinegar.

Overall: Sidra Natural is a very refreshing and rich cider. Nicely drinkable if you don’t mind the vinegar note and a quite high level of dryness typical for Spanish sidras. Although I enjoyed it I can’t call it remarkable. But I wouldn’t mind having it again. 4/6

Availability: from their online shop, Opily Jabko. Grau Online. Locally from InCider Bar, Dobry Cider in Prague.

Price: purchased in InCider Bar in Prague at 180 CZK (6.90 EUR)