Écusson Cidre Rosé

Would you believe it? Écusson, a cidre brand from France is turning 100 this year. The company was established in 1919 by Georges Leroy in a village of Livarot, Normandy and later acquired by the Eclor Group, transforming Écusson into one of their commercial cidre brands available in supermarkets. Approximately 20 cider apple varieties are grown in Écusson’s orchards.

Cidre Rosé, launched in 2007 is a single varietal cidre from Rouge Délice.Company: Cidreries du Calvados La Fermière (CCLF)/ Eccuson
Place of Origin: Livarot, Normandy, France
Apples: Rouge Délice
ABV: 3%
Package type: 750ml champagne corked bottle
Recommended type of glass: flute, chalice glass or bolée 

Appearance: pours a clear, pale orange with reddish hues and a huge white head, which dissipates within seconds. Nevertheless, carbonation is surprisingly low. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong with notes of red berries, strawberries, fresh apple flesh, crisp red apple, oak in the background.I can get also a light earthy note with dried fruits and raisins.

Taste: it starts very sweet with low-berry acidity. Fruity on the mid-palate with notes of strawberry, red berries, red apple, dried fruits, raisins and light oak. The finish is dry with a delicate astringent note and lingering red berries-acidity, a hint of bitterness and a note of blueberry.

Overall: Écusson’s Cidre Rosé is a fruity and refreshing cidre ideal for a lazy afternoon. Although the initial high sweetness strikes you in the first sip, the Rosé gets more fruity accompanied by lovely notes of strawberry, red berries and light oak. But still, it will be rather appreciated by those who like sweet cider. I have shared a bottle of the Rosé with a friend, who loved it and would buy it again. As for me, I would rather go for something less sweet. On another note, Écusson Cidre Rosé would pair well with sweet pancakes and goat cheese. Doesn’t taste too bad for a commercial cidre. 4/6

Availability: Broad in supermarkets in France such as Carrefour or Auchan. Otherwise, check out grocery stores selling French products. In Germany from Gourmemaison, Lieferello, Gourmetage. Through France Export in France. In Estonia from Tallink.

Price: purchased locally from Galeries Lafayette Berlin at 3 EUR.

Reflets de France Cidre Fermier de Bretagne Brut

Reflets de France is a French food brand established in 1996, belonging to the Carrefour Group. They claim that each product was tested and approved by Joël Robuchon, who is a French chef and restaurateur possessing the highest number of Michelin stars in the world. Since Reflets de France provide typically French products, it’s not a surprise that they also offer their own cidre produced by Cidrerie Le Brun. Today’s review is on Cidre Fermier de Bretagne Brut. Company: Reflets de France, Le Brun
Place of Origin: Plovan, Brittany, France
Apples: unknown
Sweetness as per label: brut
ABV: 5.5%
Package type: 750 ml green glass champagne corked bottle
Recommended type of glass: bolée or flute

Appearance: pours a hazy pale amber with a small white head, which immediately dissipates. Highly carbonated with beautiful strings of bubbles. Body is light.

Aroma/Nose: a very rich smell pours out of the bottle with notes of barnyard, apricots, raisins, ripe apples, wood and a very distant vinegar.

Taste: it starts watery with almost no sweetness, and medium lemon-like acidity. The mid-palate is moderately bitter in the beginning, then it gets milder so I get grapefruit peel with a lingering smokiness and gentle astringency. The aftertaste is watery with a detectable taste of alcohol and a note of watermelon.

Overall: after such an inviting smell you’d expect your cider to taste at least as good. But not here. It was absolutely terrible! It tasted harsh and sour, completely unbalanced providing no drinking pleasure. It’s hard to believe that this cider was made by Cidrerie Le Brun. This is officially the worst French cidre I had so far. And the least drinkable. I can name you at least a dozen ciders available in Berlin for less than 5 Euro that are much better than this crap. Avoid! 1.5/6

Availability: at your local Carrefour supermarket. In Berlin from Galerie Lafayette.

Price: Galerie Lafayette at 4.97 EUR.

Galipette Cidre Brut

Perhaps it has already come to your attention that Galipette Cidre Brut is produced by Les Celliers Associés. Les Celliers Associés is a cooperative bringing together nearly 189 producers from Brittany and 212 producers from Normandy. It was set up in 1953 in Pleudihen-sur-Rance, Brittany, France and is responsible for manufacturing Val de Rance cidres. Galipette Cidre Brut is made with such cidre apples as Kermerrien, Marie Ménard or Judor.Company: Les Celliers Associés
Place of Origin: Pleudihen-sur-Rance, Brittany, France
Apples:
cidre apples grown in Brittany such as Kermerrien, Marie Ménard or Judor.
ABV:
 4.5%
Package type: 
330ml amber glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a lightly cloudy amber with a very large white head that doesn’t really dissipate. High and artificial carbonation. Body medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong with sweetish notes of dried apricots, cider apple juice, wood.

Taste: it starts with a moderate to high sweetness and low acidity. Followed by light smokiness, woody notes, a bit watery, light to medium astringency. Finishes with a strong note of caramel and distant low bitterness.

Overall: Galipettes Cidre Brut is a good cidre. Clearly made with cidre apples, with structure and a taste that is longlasting. The aroma is strong and pleasant. But similarly to the previously reviewed cidre Biologique from Galipette, it doesn’t stand out. Anyway, if you decide to purchase a bottle of Cidre Brut I think you won’t be disappointed. I have tried much richer tasting offerings from cider makers from Brittany so it doesn’t impress me much. But for an average cider drinker who appreciates quality and hasn’t tried many cidres from Brittany, it will be a delicious offering that will go well with Galettes, duck or simply on its own. 4/6

Availability: in the UK from Waitrose and Eebria. In the Netherlands from Drank Direct. In Sweden from Systembolaget.

Price: a sample of this cidre was provided by Cider Supply Co.

Galipette Cidre Biologique

This is the first time I’m reviewing cidre made from French cidre apples, developed by a French company Les Celliers Associés but owned by a company registered in Stockholm, Sweden. Galipette is French for somersault or flip and at the same time a brand name owned by Cider Supply Co., a start-up established by three entrepreneurs from Finland and Sweden. They have currently two products in their portfolio, Cidre Brut made with cidre apples from Brittany and Cidre Biologique made with cidre apples from Normandy. I shall start with the Cidre Biologique, which is a blend of Carting, Sweet Moen, and Belle Fille de la Manche from organic orchards.Company: Les Celliers Associés
Place of Origin: Pleudihen-sur-Rance, France
Apples:
cidre apples grown in Normandy such as Carting, Sweet Moen, and Belle Fille de la Manche
ABV:
 4.0%
Package type: 
330ml amber glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a clear vivid amber with a large white head that slowly dissipates. High and artificial carbonation. Body medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is clear and quite strong with notes of fresh red apples, wood, dried apricots, sweet and juicy pears and a hint of caramel.

Taste: my first taste is lightly sweet with a low acidity of lemon. Subsequently, you experience sudden but gentle tannic kick, which quickly gives way to notes of freshly pressed apple juice, juicy pears, dried apricots, woody and a hint of caramel. Finishes quite quickly leaving a distant note of slightly burnt caramel.

Overall: I’ll start with the looks. I must say that I love the bottle design as it’s modern yet it reminds me of vintage apothecary bottles. As for the bottle content, the taste is clear, I haven’t detected any notes of funk or sulphur. Also, it’s clearly made with cidre apples and tastes quite ok. But in comparison to countless cidres I’ve tried recently in Normandy, it lacks any character. Despite the fact that the Cidre Biologique has a structure, its taste is not rich and I know that I will forget it very quickly. It’s a technically correct cidre, which is not necessarily interesting but definitely very quaffable and food friendly. 4/6

Availability: in the UK from Waitrose and Eebria. In the Netherlands from Cider Cider and Drank Direct. In Sweden from Systembolaget.

Price: a sample of this cidre was provided by Cider Supply Co.

Cidreries in Normandy: visit recap

In the last blog post, I promised you to recap my visits to cider producers in Normandy.

img_1093I thought that 4 days will be more than enough to explore this part of France, but once I reached Normandy I’ve realised that I haven’t planned enough time for both sightseeing and visits to the countless cidreries! The signs inviting visitors to come in and try either cidre, calvados, pommeau, apple vinegar, marmalade or apple juice were literally every kilometre not only on the route du cidre but also outside the cider trail around Fecamp, Etretat, Honfleur, Bayeux, Falaise or the D-Day landing beaches. Cidre is made and sold everywhere in Normandy. Another question is who drinks it. Anyway, with the only 4-day itinerary, I had an opportunity to explore only a tiny bit of Normandy and its cidre. Meaning, I had to restrict myself to only a few cidermakers.

img_0964Ferme de Félicité was the first cider maker I have visited during my journey. They are based near the village of Longues-sur-Mer, close to the German gun batteries from the World War II. At the time of my visit, they were busy pressing apples so I couldn’t see their premises. But I had a brief chat with Claire, who told me more about the cidrerie. At Ferme de Félicité, they work with around 17 apple varieties that are used to make cidre, calvados, pommeau and liqueur de Calvados Félicité, a young calvados macerated with oranges, sugar and coffee beans. In terms of cidre, they produce doux (sweet), demi-sec (semi-sweet), brut (dry) and Cuvée Jardin Bosquain, which is extra dry. The latter appealed the most to my taste buds (I’ll post my tasting notes soon, so watch this space!). Interestingly, you may find their products in shops and restaurants only within the range of 10 km, nowhere else. Since they create approx. 25k bottles annually, they have no interest in distributing their products to further areas.

img_1040Even before coming to Normandy, Olivier from La Ferme de Billy reached out to me and invited to visit their premises and apple orchards. As either Olivier or myself had no service on the phone (that seems to be quite normal in Normandy), we didn’t manage to meet up, but Guillaume, Olivier’s brother was there to meet me. La Ferme de Billy was established in 1651 by the first owner Jacques de Billy. Today, La Ferme de Billy apart from products made from apples, offer brunch menus served with their cidre in a trendy, modern setting and organise art exhibition. The perfect environment for drinking cidre and socializing. Also, they have a very inviting outdoor resting area in the backyard. img_1018If you walk further and pass a little forest, you’ll discover an idyllic place, a Roman 13th-century chapel surrounded by old cidre apple trees. I’ve tried a few apples that fell down. They were much smaller than apples I’ve seen before. All tasted apple varieties were luscious! Back to la Ferme de Billy, for their product range comprising of three kinds of cidre fruité, brut and fraîcheur (tasting notes coming soon) along with ice cider (which is divine!), calvados, pommeau, apple juice and apple vinegar, they use 16 apple varieties. img_0995Recently, they acquired orchards nearby and plan to build a cider house in around two years. I admired their modern thinking outside the box and attempts to make people understand that cidre pairs well with food and with this trying to change the bad image of cidre in Normandy. If I had more time I would definitely have had a brunch there and some cidre as the food looked very inviting. But I had to hit the road as my agenda was quite full.

img_1065Next cidrerie on my journey was Domaine de La Galotière, located in a beautiful small valley in the southern part of Pays d’Auge close to Camembert. They grow approx. 50 different cidre apple varieties and since 1997 have organic certification. Jean-Luc Olivier is in charge of orchards and cidermaking but at the time of my visit, he was busy picking apples. Their product range covers cidre, ice cider (too sweet for my liking), poirè, calvados, pommeau, vinegar and apple juice. I’ll share my tasting notes on their cidre brut later.

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img_1124Pierre Huet is based on the route du cidre in Cambremer and is actually more famous for making calvados than cidre or poirè. The farm has a traditional look with sheeps wandering the apple orchards and displayed very old barrels that were once used to age calvados. I was hoping to take part in the guided tour that was supposed to start at 11am but I was told that it was only in French and required a minimum of 4 participants. Since there were only two of us, we left empty-handed and headed further down the cider trail to Domaine Dupont.

 

Domaine Dupont (La Vigannerie, Victot-Pontfol)

img_1129I believe this cider producer doesn’t require any introduction as their cidre is one of the most widely distributed Norman cidre worldwide. The farm is surrounded by apple orchards and when you drive to the front part of their premises it feels like entering a French manoir. They don’t offer guided tours buy you’re welcome to walk around and visit their distillery, surrounding orchards and cellars with different sizes of oak barrels filled with calvados. As mentioned in my previous post, when I went to their store it was really packed. It was quite shocking compared to other visited cidreries, as most of the time, I was the only guest. Cider wise, Dupont has a line up of six different ciders, including Cidre Bouché, Organic Cider, Cidre Triple, Cidre Réserve, Cuvée Colette and Give, an ice cider. With the exception of ice cider, champagne yeast is added after bottling to make cidre sparkling. At the Dupont’s store, I discovered rather unusual products such as calvados spray used for baking (!) and calvados aged in Islay single malt Scotch whisky cask. I’ve tried their ciders and the just mentioned calvados aged in Islay single malt Scotch whisky and will share my thoughts with you about them in the next blog post.

img_1164When you arrive at Manoir de Grandouet, you have a feeling that you turned back in time as some of the Norman buildings on the farm date back to 16th century. Manoir de Grandouet is set in an incredibly picturesque scenery. Pictures don’t do it justice. The views are simply amazing! Outside you can find an ancient apple press and a table where you can have a brunch. Now in its third generation of family ownership, the Grandval family makes cidre using 20 different apple varieties coming from 28 ha orchards. Lucille was there to welcome me and gave me a tour of the facility and finished with a tasting of their cidre, calvados and pommeau. They were in the middle of apple pressing so it was quite exciting to see how it’s done here. The Grandvals use a pneumatic press. Once pressed, the juice goes to tanks for fermentation with wild yeast at low temperature. After fermentation, cidre is bottled with a tiny amount of white wine yeast. For calvados production, cidre is moved to old oak barrels. Some of them date back even to 1792! If I had to choose only one cidrerie to visit along the route du cidre, Manoir de Grandouet would be the place to go.

img_1213I first met Benoit at CiderWorld 2018 in Frankfurt when he was presenting his cidre. Already then, I was very much impressed with the quality and outstanding taste of his cidre. Needless to say that Benoit’s cidre line up was the highlight of this event in terms of taste. Remembering Benoit’s cidre and his passion when he was showing me pictures of his apple orchards, I knew I had to pay him a visit when being in Normandy. Domaine Lesuffleur is not open to visitors. But Benoit was kind enough to show me his orchards and arranged for a tasting of his cidre and eau-de-vie. Benoit comes from Normandy but over the week he lives in Paris, where he works as a wine retailer selling wine to restaurants and shops. Over the weekend, he dedicates his time solely to cidre.

Back to my visit, we’ve started with the tasting of Benoit’s ciders, Friardel 2016, Missus 2016, La Folletiere 2016, La Folletiere 2015, Pyrrhus 2016 and some experimental ciders. More about the taste in the next blog post. After the tasting, we drove to visit his orchards before the sun goes down. Benoit’s apples are hand-picked and he knows absolutely everything about apple varieties in his orchards and about the soil. I’ve tasted each apple variety and it was fascinating to see the differences in terms of taste. What intrigued me most was that the same apple variety would taste differently when grown on different soil, in a different orchard. I guess that was the moment when I finally understood the meaning of ‘terroir’.

Another surprise was that apples from Benoit’ orchards were still not ripe. Although at most cideries that I visited earlier that were located closer to the coast on the route du cidre, the harvest was in full swing, here further east in La Folletière the apples were still not ready to be picked and required a few further weeks for ripening. Meaning that the climate is different in various parts of Normandy.

During the visit at Benoit’s place and the tasting, I have realised that previously visited cider makers used a known amount of bitter, sweet, bittersweet and sharp apple varieties and fermented them all together and subsequently bottled. Benoit was the only cider maker out of those I have visited who would ferment each variety separately and then decide on the blend after tasting. The visit to Benoit’s place opened my eyes. His cider is unique cause he is a rare species treating cidre like precious wine. Chapeau bas, Benoit.

Watch this space for my tasting notes! Coming soon!

Cidrerie des Terroirs Le Terroir

Finally! My 10-day antibiotic course is over and I’m allowed to drink other beverages containing alcohol than cough syrup. So today I’ll give you an artisan cidre from Cidrerie des Terroir located in Brittany. It’s called Le Terroir. Interestingly, Cidrerie des Terroirs are actually two Brittany cidreries in one. In 2003, Cidrerie de Colpo merged with Cidrerie du Terroirs laying a foundation to Cidrerie des Terroirs. Company: Cidrerie des Terroirs
Place of Origin: Lizio, Morbihan, Brittany, France
Apples: 
selected organic cider apples grown in Brittany
ABV:
4%
Package type: 
750ml green glass champagne corked and wired bottle
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a clear vivid orange with a large white head that slowly reduces to a ring that stays. Medium to high carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong and the first note that I get is a funky note, which quickly gives way to notes of apricots, French cider apples, caramel with distant notes of sea salt and peat.

Taste: my first taste is moderately sweet with a low acidity, apricots, cider apples, a smoky note, oaky notes, and low astringency. It gets more citrusy towards the finish with a note of lemon and orange, but also notes of caramel and a lingering note of burnt caramel-like bitterness with a touch of sea salt and a very distant peaty note.

Overall: Maybe it’s because it’s the first cider after my 10-day antibiotic course but Le Terroir does really stand out from other cidres from Brittany I had so far. Perhaps it is indeed the influence of the terroir but I can actually taste notes of sea salt and peat. Both the nose and the palate are complex and rich. Taste-wise I’m actually thrilled. The palate is like a good movie with many characters that appear one after another and with many twists and turns. The longer you drink it, the more layers you get to uncover and the beauty underneath. The tannin is gentle, the level of sweetness optimal. An excellent and quality organic cidre from Cidrerie des Terroirs. Pair it with cheese or Galettes, you’re gonna love it even more. 5/6

Availability: directly through Cidrerie des Terroirs.

Price: a sample of this cidre was provided by Lucian from Cidrerie des Terroirs

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. 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.

Les Vergers de Ducy/Domaine de la Flaguerie Cidre Brut

Domaine de la Flaguerie is a family-run business based in Ducy-Sainte-Marguerite, southeast of Bayeux in Normandy. Apart from cider they also produce Pommeau, Calvados and apple juice. Domaine de la Flaguerie is open to visitors so if you are in the area don’t forget to pay them a visit!Company: Domaine de la Flaguerie
Place of Origin: Ducy-Sainte-Marguerite, Normandy, France
Apples: cider apples
Sweetness as per label: brut
ABV: 5%
Package type: 750ml green glass champagne corked bottle
Recommended type of glass: white wine or flute

Appearance: pours a cloudy orange with a large foam, which only slowly reduces to a ring. High carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: overripe apples, bitter-sweet apples with barnyard and vinegar on the nose. The aroma is strong and very pleasant

Taste: the first sip was moderately sweet with low acidity. Followed by a grapefruit-bitterness with notes of overripe apples, mild vinegar, medium to high astringency. It finishes with a light, lingering bitter taste and a flavour of wood.

Overall: the acetic note in a French cidre is a surprise as this note is usually a desirable flavour in Spanish sidras, not in French cidre. Hence, the cidre from Domaine de la Flaguerie is like French cidre meets Spanish sidra. Also, I think that the vinegary note adds a refreshing twist. I enjoyed having it. 4.5/6 

Availability: online from CiderLab. In Germany from Weindepot-Schenck. Online from Calyce Cider – they ship to Germany, Belgium, Spain, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria, Italy and Portugal!

Price: purchased online from CiderLab at 6.15 EUR

Megalithes La Flibuste

Guillaume Buisson is an entrepreneur from Brittany, who as a kid loved visiting his neighbours in Vannes as they would always open a bottle of delicious cidre for him. You know what they say, forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest. Having this sweet memory in mind, Guillaume introduced in 2016 his own cider brand, La Flibuste made from locally grown cider apple varieties. La Flibuste is a French term for freebooter or privateer, who operated in ports of Brittany and were involved in piracy-related activities such as forcing English or Spanish ships to pay tribute for passing up the Channel, stealing cargo or other valuables, but never attacking French ships. That’s why the French authorities didn’t combat them letting them live their La Flibuste-lifestyle. Company: Megalithes
Place of Origin: Saint Briac sur Mer, Brittany, France
Apples: a blend of Douce Coetligné, Douce Moen, Kermerrien, Marie Menard, Chevalier Jaune, Peau de Chien, Guillevic and Rouget de Dol
ABV: 4.5%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: flute, chalice glass, wine glass or straight from the bottle

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with light orange hues and white short-lived head. Medium carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is tannic and lightly acidic with notes of red apples, overripe apples, dried fruits such as apricots, raisins and figs. Also, hints of beeswax, funk and vanilla. Smells like proper cidre.

Taste: it starts moderately sweet with low acidity. Then the taste moves to notes of oak, lightly burnt strawberry jam-like bitterness, dried fruits including apricots and figs, red apples, light smokiness and medium astringent taste. It finishes dry with a lingering jam-like bitterness, red apples and astringent taste.

Overall: La Flibuste is a true pirate that stole my heart. Brittany is known for its great cidre but I didn’t expect La Flibuste to taste as divine and sophisticated. It has a riot of flavours, which are very nicely balanced. I found the smooth strawberry burnt jam-like bitterness absolutely amazing. I know that it is difficult to imagine a bitter taste as a turn on, but it’s like someone would be waving a magic wand while you’re drinking it. It’s not disturbing at all, quite on the contrary, it gives a very nice twist. However, due to a quite low acidity, it’s better to drink La Flibuste in small quantities just like suggested 330ml and properly chilled. Otherwise, it may get too tiring if you like your cider on the drier side. But overall, a very high-quality and brilliant tipple. Highly recommended.  5/6 

Availability: currently locally in Brittany and Normandy in France. Online from Calyce Cider – they ship to Germany, Belgium, Spain, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria, Italy and Portugal!

Price: Gullaime contacted me and asked if I wanted to try La Filibuste.

Note: Megalithes also have a non-alcoholic version on offer of La Filibuste so you don’t have to feel excluded if you’re driving. I think it’s a great idea. Only the non-alcoholic version tastes ultra-sweet with no acidity to balance it so it’s rather an option for those having a sweet tooth.

Eric Bordelet Sidre Brut Tendre 2014

When you look up the term ‘sydre’ or ‘sidre’, which is an old French name for cidre, you will get many hits, but all associated with one name, Eric Bordelet. Eric Bordelet turned to cider in 1992 when he decided to quit his job as a sommelier at Paris’s three Michelin star Arpège to take over an apple orchard in the south of Normandy that belonged for generations to his family. His goal was to produce a sydre/sidre in exactly the same manner as wine is produced.

In the manufacturing process of Sydre Brut Tendre apples are pressed right after milling and subsequently fermented. Bordelet’s Sydre is racked off many times to slow down the fermentation process and to clear-up. Then Sydre is bottled without the addition of sugar and matured. Let’s try this beauty!
Company: Eric Bordelet
Place of Origin: 
Charchigné, Normandy, France
Apples: 
organic cidre apples (20 apple varieties are grown on the farm)
Sweetness as per label: 
brut
ABV: 4%
Package type: 750ml amber glass champagne corked bottle
Recommended type of glass: flute or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear deep golden with light amber hues and a small frothy head. High carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is sweetish and rich with notes of red apples, baked apples, fermented apples, dried fruits, raisins, oak, apricot and cinnamon.

Taste: it starts moderately sweet with low lemon-like acidity. The mid-palate has notes of red apples, oak, smoked cheese, cinnamon with a hint of lightly burnt caramel-like bitterness with baked apples and apple seeds. In the aftertaste lightly burnt plum jam, powidl, gentle tannins with a bit of cinnamon and slightly acidic touch. All of a sudden, a note of freshly pressed apple juice appears. 

Overall: Eric Bordelet’s Sidre Tendre Brut tastes simply amazing and can be a crowd pleaser. It’s not too sweet but still, it tastes almost like ice cider or dessert wine. It has a nice level of acidity to it balancing out the sweetness.  Also, the aftertaste is amazing and extremely long. When you think it is gone, it strikes again and goes on and on. It is really different to French cidres I have tried so far but still goes down easily. Would I have it again? Perhaps not every day, but I can see myself celebrating my birthday or New Year’s Eve with this one. Remarkable! Would pair excellently with goat cheese. 5/6

Availability: very broad. In Berlin through Lager Lager or at Nobelhart & Schmutzig. Online in Germany from Weinzeche, Vino CentralABC-Wines or Weinhandlung Kreis. In Belgium from Bieres Gourmet. In Switzerland from Globus or Galaxus. In Norway through Vinmonopolet. In the UK from Uvinum. In Spain from Vinos Cutanda. In France from La Grande Epicerie. And many more.

Price: purchased from Weinzeche at 9.90 EUR.