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Cider making

This is the main activity at The Sapinière.

Our cider comes in four varieties :

All our ciders have one thing in common and that is they are naturally sparkling. This is obtained by secondary fermentation that takes place within the bottle.

This technique is more difficult to master but it does allow the yeast to express its aroma. Our aim here is to obtain an aromatic profile.

The difference between our four ciders is the blend of varieties and the bottling density.

The semi-dry is easy to appreciate and goes well with white meats, tripe etc. or in the afternoon with shortbread or crêpes.

The dry cider is a connoisseur’s variety. Its bottling density is quite low and it is rich in tannin (polyphenols). It has a sharp taste to it. This cider may accompany red meats, game…

The Verger du Littoral, is produced using a blend of apples from the local Bessin area such as Cuvée du Rivage. Dishes that go well with it include creamed fish, coquilles St Jacques etc.

Le Rivage is a prestigious selection suitable for aperitifs, and may accompany chicken and lamb dishes, or a true “camembert au lait cru” cheese.

You will have got it by now – the ciders from The Sapinière are meant for accompanying meals. They are produced with pure cider apple juice, with no added sugars and are naturally sparkling. Another feature of our ciders is that their alcohol content is relatively low, between 3.5% and 5.5%.

Production of Pommeau

Pommeau is an aperitif bearing the “Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée” label, meaning officially controlled designation of origin. This beverage is not as well-known as the Pineau des Charentes or the Floc de Gascogne. It is not as sweet either due to the apple juice used for it not being as sweet as the grape juice used for the Pineau or Floc.

Pommeau is produced by blending apple juice and Calvados. All the natural sugars contained in the apple juice are preserved through the action of the alcohol present.
After maturing in oak barrels for at least 14 months, the blend will start to oxidize and acquire its unique aroma which is where its beauty lies.

You can have it as a chilled aperitif and it goes intricately well with melon instead of having Port. It lends itself well to deglazing sauces for our Coquilles St Jacques for example. The Madeira aromas developed during the aging process make for a marvellous topping on a chocolate fondant.
Pommeau may not be the best known of Normandy produce, but you would do well to make its acquaintance and try it out.

Production of Calvados

A well-known apple brandy or eau de vie, Calvados comes from distilling cider, unlike Pommeau. In France Calvados rivals Cognac.

Our farm produces around 4000 litres/year of Calvados, and a part of that is then used to make aperitifs.

Currently we market two types of Calvados: young Calvados and the “Hors d’âge” (beyond age)

What I like about this drink is tasting it at times other than at the end of a meal even though Calvados is considered a digestive by connoisseurs.

*Alcohol may harm your health and should only be consumed in moderation.