Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Night Bubbles

NV Julien Frémont Cidre Pays d'Auge Brut par Nature, $12, Louis/Dressner Selections. The recession has officially hit Brooklynguy's blog folks - it just doesn't feel right to drink a bottle of Champagne every week - I need to be a bit more conservative with the family finances. But there are sparkling wines made all over the world, many of them inexpensive, and some of them interesting and delicious. I'll share them here as I find them.

Found one for this week, and it's not even made from grapes. Normandy is France's apple country. Calvados, the potent apple brandy, is the most well known drink to emerge from the region, but the ciders (French spelling - cidre) can be delicious too. They can also be quite sweet and lacking in character, often enough so that I've given up on trying random bottles. But this year the Dressners decided to import Julien Frémont's two cidres, and that makes them anything but random.

Frémont farms cows and apples on 45 hectares of land. The drawing on the label depicts the eternal struggle between apple and cow. I don't know the apple varieties used, but I doubt we're talking about Red Delicious and MacIntosh. Dressner's site says "the trees are a mix of old local varieties of acidic, late ripening apples." Frémont makes two cidres - a non-vintage Brut and a single-orchard cidre (yes, you read that right) from particularly old trees. The single-orchard cidre is sweet - the apples undergo passerillage, the process by which the fruit dries out and the sugars concentrate.

The cidre we drank, the NV Brut, is absolutely bone-dry, with a round and generous nose of fresh apples. There is a hint of the ocean underneath, BrooklynLady says. The palate is shockingly dry, although it rounds out a bit and shows a sweeter character with a half hour open. See if you can make it last that long. The overall effect is the purest essence of fresh apple, and that's a lovely thing. The texture is super smooth, with the barest spritz of a mousse. This is only 5.5% alcohol, less than half that of most wine, so drink away - open two bottles.

We drank ours on its own, but in December Eric Asimov wrote about drinking one of his favorite ciders with dosas, the Southern Indian fermented rice and lentil flour wraps. An inspired combination! Drinking this cider we imagined eating take-out Chinese food, specifically moo-shoo pork. I can think of only a couple sparkling wines at this price point that I think are as good a drink as this cider. It's worth a try, if your shoppe carries the Dressner goods.

What about you...do you like the ciders?

10 comments:

Peter Liem said...

I love cider, even simple cider served in a bowl in a créperie in Brittany or sidra poured three feet down into your glass in the Basque country. Serious cider like Frémont's is of course a whole different world -- coincidentally, I tasted these for the first time this week as well, at Dressner's big bash in Valaire last weekend. They're extremely impressive, and I'm glad to see you writing about them.

Joe said...

I keep seeing these at Chambers and will now definitely have to check some out. My only experience with cidre from Normandy came at about mile 20 of the Paris marathon a couple of years ago. Someone had set up a stand and was handing out little cups to any of us foolish enough to slow down and grab some. It tasted a heck of a lot better than gatorade even if it didn't do much to help my running. Sorry to read of the demise of the weekly champagne bottle - I suspect more than few of us were getting our champagne fix vicariously through those posts.

bill l said...

drank this at thanksgiving and loved it!

David McDuff said...

Drank a little at Thanksgiving, too, and barely remember it....

I'm guessing you've tried them already, Neil, as they've been around the NY market for some time but I'd also highly recommend Eric Bordelet's cidres, both the apple and pear versions. I drank a bottle of his 2001 Sydre Brut Tendre not long ago that was still damn tasty.

Peter Liem said...

Yeah, the Bordelet ciders age remarkably well -- I just had the 2002 Granit from both bottle and magnum last week and it was superbly fresh and lively in both formats.

Brooklynguy said...

hi Peter - can you tell us more about this? I have no idea what this could refer to. "sidra poured three feet down into your glass in the Basque country." How was the Greniers?

hi Joe - i think they're worth trying, although it took me quite a while too. Until they made them discountable and i could include this bottle in my case, bringing the price down to $10.80. And although it is unlikely that there will be a weekly Champs, there will still be Champs. Every other week, I'm thinking, if I can swing it. I appreciate your kind words.

Hey McDee - haven't tried the Bordelet Cidres in about three years now (last time was also Thanksgiving...what gives?). I liked what I drank, but this one made a much bigger impression on me. Interesting that the Bordelets cellar well.

peter said...

Devonshire, England is famous for Scrumpy- hard cider- which I have fond memories of (though those memories predate any reliable palate, so who knows?)

melissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
melissa said...

Best one for thanks giving parties... Keep blogging
http://www.vintage cellars.com

Michael said...

I would really like to buy some of this Julien Fremont Cidre Brut.. I recently tried some at a restaurant and loved it. I am, however, new to the whole scene and have no idea where to start. Any ideas?