Thursday, 7 March 2013

Cider of the Month - February


This month’s edition of Cider of the Month goes to:
Loic Raison – Doux

I was a little unsure of this French cider hailing from Brittany when I first laid eyes on it. It was a cider I had not heard of, it had a label which screamed “commercial”, and it was stocked heavily in a certain large liquor outlet which ends in the word 'Murphy’s'. But the ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ mentality rose from the ashes and so I went ahead and grabbed it. Well this was well over a four months ago, and it has been sitting in my study potentially waiting to be opened and drunk all this time. So I thought what the heck, and popped the top off this little Breton cider recently and well let’s just say I was blown away.  
Loic Raison’s history stems all the way back to 1923 - pumping out 200 tonnes of apples if you don’t mind!! But over time the cider brand has grown and is now consumed all throughout France and found all around the world. The cider also proudly displays the ‘Produit En Bretagne’ logo which translates to ‘Product of Brittany’. The whereabouts of the origin of the fruit (or region) is not displayed on the bottle. But I would have to say the Brittany apple regions of Cornouaille or Fouesnant would have to be likely culprits. The apples are Breton certified by the Indication Geographique Protegee or the Protected Geographical Indication too. So this little baby is one hundred per cent legit!

So why did I like it? Well firstly it shone a lovely golden honey colour, and poured with a large mouse which faded away into a persistent bead. The nose had big big aromas of sweet candy apple, apple blossoms, orange peel, honey with just a hint of woodiness. It was big, bold and super inviting. It smelt of a luscious and juicy sweet cider apple. Absolutely stunning.
The palate was big, thick and mega rich from what seemed to be bittersweet French cider apples. Yum! There was a beautiful balance of upfront sweetness and mouth sapping mid to late back palate tannin. Yes, there is a higher amount of natural apple sweetness (being doux), but it is in no way cloying or sickly. I always find French doux ciders never to be over powering with sugar, but always balanced and well rounded – unlike some manufactured sweet ciders. The floral and delicate apple flavours lingered long after the cider was swallowed. On the top label are the words ‘Fraicheur Et Fruite’, which in my perfect French translates to ‘Fresh and fruity’. This statement could not be anymore bang on! Other flavours of honey, sweet confectionery and orange were a real highlight. Textural nuances also consisted of a soapy mouth feel and a back palate tanginess and these tied in well with the whole palate.

This is a mouth watering Brittany cider which is simple, most probably keeved and perfectly balanced. It does come across as a more commercial style but the flavours and aromas will astound you. At two percent alcohol, it’s very light and not going to leave you feeling heavy and full. I reckon this cider would be perfect matched with a slow cooked pork belly dish. The real beauty about this cider is that it’s readily available in Australia.
Producer: Loic Raison
Region: Brittany (France)
Alcohol: 2%
Website: www.loicraison.fr   

Cheers!

2 comments:

  1. You're right, it is a more commercial cider and it does use some concentrate, but its a great example of whats possible/achievable using an industrial approach. The equivalents in many places (UK, US and probably Aus included) are often shameful in comparison. The French know how to make it without going too far and loosing some of the subtleties.

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  2. Good choice on ignoring your first inclination. Sometimes it is best to close our eyes and just go for it. good review

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