Cidrerie Manoir du Kinkiz – Cornouaille AOC
Last week I had the pleasure of being asked out to dinner with one of Australia’s most esteemed wine writers Max Allen, to ‘talk’ cider. Max is the founder of his own cider company called Caulfield Mountain, but most importantly is a self confessed cider geek. As the night progressed, the guy just amazed me with his intense and intimate knowledge of all things relating to cider. So to critique and enjoy the Manoir du Kinkiz with such an intelligent and overall great bloke was fantastic to say the least.
The cider hails from Quimper, located in Brittany which is managed under the Cornouaille Appellation. AOC, or Appellation d’origine Controlee, is a French term explaining that the product you have purchased has 'place', or terroir. It also describes that the resulting cider needs to have followed strict rules in terms of apples used, and processed undertaken to make it. French wine also follows these strict AOC regulations. In simple terms, if the product is Cornouaille AOC, then it’s a certified product which has followed the set region guidelines of production.
Brittany sits in the northwest of France bordering Normandy to the east, and the English Channel to the west. Breton cider is known for its naturally sweet and carbonated farmhouse ciders, from which the juice has been keeved. As mentioned in previous reviews, keeving is a scientific process where the resultant nutrient deficient juice creates a naturally sweet, naturally sparkling and even naturally clear cider. Although Brittany falls behind in production to its Normandy neighbours, the ciders produced are beautifully hand crafted and taste amazing. It’s just a shame the humble eating apple can’t be keeved!!
On opening, the cider immediately lacked any sort of visible fizz. This led us to believe the cider was possibly old stock. Naturally keeved ciders need a smaller cork at 25 x 38mm to help release any re-fermentation pressures (as mentioned in previous reviews). So this could also explain the lack in carbonation as the gas had escaped over time. Overall this really was the only blip on what was an exceptional cider. The colour gleamed golden orange/yellow, with a slight haze appearing throughout the glass. The nose was an absolute dream, with orange peel and blossoms complementing the sweet fresh apple aromas. The oak ageing had produced some secondary brett characters, along with a distinct mould note. Now don’t stress, the mould note is typical of this style and is a beautiful addition to the nose. In short, the aroma was hugely inviting and made us excited in anticipation for what the palate had to bring.
BAM!! That’s how the bittersweet tannins hit you when you take that first mouthful. It was like you where thrown into a fighter jet and hit top speed in matter of seconds. Your lips and the insides of your mouth immediately grip onto your teeth like superglue to wood. But in saying this though, it was crazily addictive. The tannins were high yes, but beautifully powdery and super fine. There was a stunning rich upfront sweetness, which was not cloying or heavy from the super ripe apples used. The palate was all tied in with a nice level of mild acidity. The apple notes along with the brett, carried onto the palate which made the whole experience very authentic. So really It was a very traditional and rustic palate, but super approachable to anyone new to these farmhouse styles. We certainly liked it!!
This cider is as traditional as they came, and from all accounts at retail level in Australia, it’s selling like hot cakes. This is great as it means consumers are getting out there and trying ‘real’ cider, made with traditional apples and methods (music to my ears). You really couldn’t get any further from the much leaner, dryer Australian cider styles. But do yourself a HUGE favour - find this cider, grab your best mates, sit down and just appreciate it. That’s what it’s meant for!
Producer: Cidrerie Manoir du Kinkiz
Region: Brittany (France)
Rating: 9 out of 10