Monday, 28 January 2013

Cider of the Month - January

This month’s edition of Cider of the Month goes to:
Victor Gontier – Cidre Bouche Fermier (Farmhouse Cider)
Rustic, authentic, farmhouse, genuine and spectacular. Basically these five words sum up this cidre produced by Victor Gontier. This is what ‘real’ cider is all about. It’s produced in St-Georges-de-Rouelley in the AOC Calvados Domfrontais region in Southern Normandy. This AOC specifically outlines that all cidres and calvados produced MUST contain at least 30 per cent pear in the blend. This is the same for Domfrontais orchards too, where an orchard must contain at least 15 per cent pear trees to apple trees. There are also restrictions on the per cents of apple varieties, origins and classifications too, with only bittersweets and sharps allowed.
This cidre is a real humdinger, and it immediately impressed me with its personality. The colour was a hazy dark orange, and there was a nice light natural fizz which was persistent and very foamy. I liked it to pouring a beer, as it produced a large foamy head which disappeared after sometime. The nose was super complex and hugely farmhouse. Some descriptors I found comprised of old leather boots, petroleum jelly, bright marmalade, citrus, honey, stewed apricots and old soft apples. Different aromas of horse and blue mould added some authenticity to the blend. Don’t be put off by the mould characters, as they are beautiful and 100 per cent intentional. You have to remember these farmhouse cidres are put into old oak vats and left alone to their own devices – so anything can happen! This hands off approach also explains the onion/meaty reductiveness on the nose (mercaptans) too. But this does blow off after some swirls of the glass. There were still copious amounts of freshness though, which enhanced attractive mineral and stoney notes. This nose was very complex and rustic – almost resembling an old barn.  
The palate offered up some rich, thick, apple sweetness which was addictive and delicious. Some apple astringency, back palate bitterness and foamy carbonation all added a pleasant touch of texture. A long leathery flavour dominated the more subtle pear characters and woody oak notes. It was well balanced and quite full. The pears added a touch of volatile acidity on the back palate, but was by no means detrimental in any way. The whole palate of bittersweets and sharps was sown up with some lovely candied apple flavours which lingered long after the cidre was swallowed.
Never had a French farmhouse cidre? Then give Victor Gontier’s Cidre Bouche a go. Don’t be scared of its authenticity, as cidre has been made like this for centuries. I am positive you would not have tasted anything like this, but you’ll fall in love with its charm and individuality. This can be purchased in Australia too which is a massive positive for cider enthusiasts. Would love to hear peoples thoughts on it too!              
Producer: Victor Gontier
Region: St-Georges-de-Rouelley, Domfront (Normandy, France)
Alcohol: 4.5%
Website: None provided – go to   


  1. Sounds like a cider just for me. Not sure if I can get my hands on it though, great review

  2. Thanks Patrick. It's a real beauty!

  3. Any ideas where you can get it James?