Sidre Brut Tendre is a French cider from Normandy, made by Eric Bordelet. Bordelet was a sommelier but now he has turned his pallet to cider making, mixing traditional French apple varieties with wine making techniques.

Sometimes I worry about winemakers not “getting” what a cider is about and just making something inoffensive but a little bit dull. But it’s hard to imagine a Frenchman being allowed to produce a dull product especially with 20 different types of apples in the bottle.

You can see the French wine making influence when Bordelet talks about the terroir of his 15 hectares of orchard. A “silt and clayey-silt soil” of “Précambrian era sedimentary rock”. I couldn’t tell you how it affects this bio-dynamically grown apple but it probably does.

The apples are stored before being pressed, with air circulating around the apples, moister is drawn out through the skin over a period of up to 5 weeks. This increases sugar to water ratio. More sugar either means a sweeter cider or higher alcohol.

While the Sidre Brut Tendre is filtered, much of the clarity comes from it  being “racked” many times. Racking is the process of siphoning the developing cider away from the lees (yeast sediment at the bottom of the fermentation vessel). The process also slows the fermentation preserving the aroma.

The cider is finished with bottle conditioning.

The Nose

The first thing that I thought of was Autumn, which any 8 year old will tell you is a season and not a scent. But there is the smell of leaves on the ground, dampness and overly ripe apples. There is a sweetness in the nose but it only comes out as the cider warms up.

The Taste

This is a medium cider that tastes like medium dry. Again as it warms, the effect of the sweetness grows. It finishes crisp but loaded with tannins that dry your mouth and demand another sip. There is in interplay between some nice baked apple and the astringency.

Gentle bitters roll throughout the Sidre Brut Tendre. Compared to many ciders out there, the flavour profile is eccentric but completely balanced.

Final Thoughts on the Sidre Brut Tendre

This is a very complex cider yet it is a very easy to drink cider. I think Bordelet’s experience as a sommelier has taught him what people like to drink, yet at the same time give them something of interest. The balance of approachability and complexity makes the Sidre Brut Tendre a top quality cider.

Product Sidre Brut Tendre
Company Eric Bordelet
Sweetness Medium Dry
Alc/Vol 6%
Website ericbordelet.com/english.html
Country of Origin France
Region Normandy