Staff Note: a personal favorite; apple & pear on the nose, baked apple, tannins and fresh crispness on the palette.
Unfiltered & Unpasteurized
The orchard: There are now 6000 trees of typica Pays d'Auge apple varieties. The trees average twelve years of age. The older the tree, the less the yield, and the better the character of fruit. Also, the low trees contain apples with more sugar. Therefore, much of the orchard is composed of low trees. Typical varieties include Saint-Martin, Binet, Noel de champs, Mettais, Frequin and Rouge Duret. Most are bitter sweet. Sweet, acidic, and tannic apples are all used in the same proportion for balance.
Etienne Dupont believes that only one great cider can be made, given any set of apples, because the balance has to be perfect. There are three maturities for each general category of apples [bitter, sweet, acidic], giving nine types in all. Each type is collected at three different times between October and December subject to maturity. Soil is, calcareous, and marly.
This soil produces small fruit with highly concentrated flavors perfect for the production of cider. No nitrates are used, allowing for a slow, complete fermentation. Nitrates act like steroids in apples, bulking the fruit up with water and lessening concentration of flavor. They are thus, undesirable.
More importantly, apples are picked manually, making the quality of fruit consistently high.