One Sip: put a foot in your mouth with sweet and superfunky Normandy ciders | Bleader

One Sip: put a foot in your mouth with sweet and superfunky Normandy ciders


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Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouche
There isn't much apple harvesting going on these days due to the warm spring and subsequent frosts that decimated the buds on the trees all across local apple land. Have you seen the puny fruit on sale at farmers' markets this season? You probably won't have much more opportunity to.

Hopefully things have gone better in the Pays d'Auge region in Normandy, where right about now they're picking apples for cider and the Calvados distilled from it. Otherwise, two years from now we might see even less of it than we do now.

I generally like tarter, funkier Basque ciders like the Isastegi Sagardo Naturala that Scott Noorman is pouring with a salmon gravlax course at Elizabeth, but recently I've been on French cider tear after trying one that Matty Colston poured with roasted squab at the now-shuttered Bonsoiree. This 2009 Julien Fremont Cidre Brut par Nature was a revelation, full bodied and sweet yet possessing a powerful funk on the nose that can best be compared to a good stinky cheese—or less charitably, some awfully stinky feet.

Since then I've been working my way through the selection on offer at Binny's, which unfortunately is pretty small and sketchy from store to store, but happily dominated by the ciders of Domaine Dupont. Unfiltered and unpasteurized, these are nothing like the clear acidic and far less subtle major American brands. The Cidre Bouche pictured is one of the sweeter ones, but it's fermented with indigenous yeast (as they all are), which gives them the funk that makes the sweetness tolerable. Better still is the organic Brut, with slightly less alcohol (4.5 percent) and a drier finish. These run at about $15 a bottle. I'm saving up for the Cidre Dupont Reserve, which has significantly higher ABV (7.5 percent), is aged for six months in oak Calvados barrels, and is priced at a still-reasonable $20.99.

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