Saturday, 29 September 2012

Fernand et Freres Cidre Artisanal (Brut)


A recent trip to France presented the chance to bring in a few bottled of cidre - though I would suggest that being just outside of Paris is not the mecca of great cidre ... maybe I just looked in the wrong places!

This bottle, made by Fernand et Freres hails from La Lacelle - a quick search on Google maps shows them as either way outside of the traditional cidre region or else Bois La Lacelle, which is found in lower Normandy. I would suggest its the latter (though there really isn't any reason why, just as in the UK). Their website (which doesn't layer properly on my laptop) suggests quite a large production facility - they use a huge belt press and some serious bottling equipment.

The cidre is presented in a fairly standard bottle for the French style, 75cl with a cage cork. I chose it because it says it has won a 'Medaille d'Or' in Paris (2011). I don't know enough about this competition to comment too far, although there are competitions and there are competitions. Some are open to all and some price out all but the largest.

So, where did I find this cidre? At an Auchan hypermarket in Val d'Europe. There isn't much to compare it to in the UK, although I would say take a farmers market and place it in the largest Tesco Extra and its probably still only two thirds of the size! (fantastic selection of everything bar cidre!)

OK, rambled enough. Lets try this cidre. Surprisingly, this one isn't highly fizzy - well, not quite. It is a persistent bubble though. The aroma it kicks up though is full of fruit and quite sweet. Its also brightly filtered and quite golden. It's this freshness that I remember of French cidre last year and is so appealing.

The taste is a little disappointing though - its really quite a safe cidre. Sure, there is plenty of fruit - its almost a single variety in character. Its also quite a tart cidre with a very mild tannin which is almost lost through the sweetness. Finally, there is a bit of syrup going on - not sufficient to mark it as anything but smooth, but it is noticeable.

Now, I wasn't drinking this cidre on my own. The others classified this cidre as being 'Magnersy' - a little bit tight, though there are definitely Magners elements to it. It says that it is made from 100% cider apples though, and even if its not full juice (just 'cos there is 100% cider fruit in it, doesn't make it 100% juice... and I am afraid I am on the skeptical side of that).

The aftertaste is light and mostly fruit, although the syrup does become more pronounced at the end.

This cidre just misses the apples for me with a score of 67/100. Not that its a bad cidre - in fact as a supermarket cidre its really not a bad score.


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