Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Christian Drouin - Demi Sec

Nothing makes me happier in this big wide world of cider than a decent French cidre. The more murky, funky, sweaty and rustic the better in my eyes. The many Frenchies I’ve drank seem to encapsulate the orchard and fruit so effortlessly in the bottle that when you smell the cider, you feel like you’re actually there. The powerful aromas and epic flavours are so impressive and unmatched. It really makes you realise why you love this noble little drink so much. But it also makes you wonder why they are vanishing off Aussie bottle shop shelves like a fart in the wind? Explain that.   
When I got my hands on the Christian Drouin – demi sec, I was like a little kid on Christmas morning. The Christian Drouin brand which dates back to 1960, is based at their Coeur de Lion Estate, Coudray-Rabut in the Pays de Auge. Like many other producers scattered throughout Normandy, Christian Drouin make and specialise in the production of Calvados. Made from mostly bitter apples, the demi sec is the sweeter of their cidres with a lower alcohol of 3 per cent. Being labelled ‘not pasteurised’ and ‘not filtered’ suggests the cidre was keeved to give its natural sweetness and carbonation.

On opening, the cork blew off like a hand grenade. I was suspecting a possible refermentation here, as the carbonation in the glass was ferocious with a beer like heady foam. We have to remember this cidre has travelled half way across the world in hot conditions, probably stored in a hot warehouse and then sent to me. So I can see there may have been an issue. The bottle was super thick, heavy and chunky too, possibly as a safety precaution? Christian Drouin do state that their cidres are "an alive product”. The colour was a beautiful cloudy candied orange.

The nose was utterly rich and layered. Thick and fresh like the cidre was made the day before. The pure French apple nose was charmingly attractive and quite addictive with tonnes of orange blossom and apple skin leading the way. This was a nose on steroids, with huge amounts of persistence and clarity. The secondary characters where not so evident here, just pure primary fruit.
On tasting, the sweetness was somewhat overpowering to begin with. This was definitely a sugar bomb. After some adjusting, it was hard to go past the luscious, thick and moreish flavours. What I love about French cidre and which was seen in this cidre, are the powdery/grainy tannins which coat the mouth and add a beautiful bittery texture (and we all know I’m a texture lover in cider).The other thing which I did enjoy was the sweetness tasting real and not fake. It was a sweetness which didn’t make you feel sick. The length of this cidre felt endless, with lovely flavours of orange marmalade and bruised apple. The foam added a fluffy weight.

Although this cidre was on the sweet side, its charm and length won it for me. It was beautiful and everything I expected. Yes it was cloudy and a little lumpy from some residual yeasts, but that’s called FLAVOUR! This is the true definition of orchard to bottle. This type of cidre would work well with a spiced pear paste and cracker platter on a balmy summer’s afternoon. That’s my idea of food matching.
Producer: Christian Drouin
Country: France (Coudray-Rabut, Normandy)
Alcohol: 3.0%
Website: www.calvados-drouin.com

Rating: 17 out of 20


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