Saturday 21 May 2011

Phillipe Langlois Verger de Monterolier Cidre

It seems a little strange to me that there seems to be very few artisanal cider producers reviewed so far. This hasn't been planned to be that way (and it will be rectified in the coming weeks and months) but I guess thats the down side of local produce - you have to visit the areas to get the cider.

Clearly if your pockets are deep enough, full juice artisan cider can be bought online - you have to be fairly careful with this if you want to try a broad range of cider. Many boxes available online offer a couple of each variety from a single producer, and you may have to even part with more cash to get a truly mixed box. Never the less, this is a good way of reaching across the country to buy a full juice cider.

Better still is to actually visit the area and see, try and buy. Many producers are not equipped to handle visitors (and the licencing involved in being able to do so is cumbersome and requires all sorts of silliness!) There are shops that sell cider too - although these are often not off licences and more often deli's and specialist food/drink shops. This doesn't just apply within the UK either. In France, cidre artisanal is available in markets, greengroces, specialist shops (and generally not in the 'marche' or 'intermarche'. It may come as a surprise to some that there is as much muck available in France as in the UK!!

This one was bought from a market from Phillipe himself. A nice guy considering he spoke no English and my French is pretty shameful! This market was in the town of Buchy (in reality, this is just to the east of the route de cidre... but its all cider country around there!!).

Its a sparkling cider - champagne style or cidre bouche. Almost exclusively the French make cider like this. 5% is about as strong as you will find, as fermentation is stopped and the cider is bottled before it has finished. To my mind, there are very few (if any) still ciders available in France - in fact, the guy that owned the cottage we were staying in described the UK cider as 'muck'! We agreed to disagree.

I have to say that this was a really nice cidre though. I would describe the colour and flavour as almost English; a light gold with a good mild tannin but with little acid to it. It does taste a tiny bit watery, although this is not overbearing, and the flavours last nicely beyond the nouthful. It is a little sweet for my taste however. Unfortunately (for me), the vast majority of French cider makers stop fermentation early to make the sparkling stuff and it often ends up rather sweet. This is a good bittersweet based cider though.

I fully recommend this to anyone wishing to explore French ciders beyond what you can get in Tesco's or Sainsbury's!! The only problem is you have to actually go to France to get it. Shame!

It scored 82/100, so a silver apple and deservedly so! If anything, I am more critical of French cidre's as they usually aren't my thing.

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