Pomme á Cidre: Exploring Regional Ciders of France

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Apples at a cidery

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2024 issue of Zymurgy Magazine

By Kristen Kuchar

France is a country known for producing some of the best wines available and is home to the most famous wine meccas in the world. But beyond Bordeaux, Champagne, and Burgundy is an area that isn’t known for wine, but for making hard apple cider.

In the western regions of Normandy and Brittany, as well as the French Basque region bordering Spain to the North, cider is the popular drink of choice. Here, cidre is produced along with poiré, the French word for perry. To the eye, traditional French ciders are typically clear and sparkling. They are generally light, low acid, low alcohol, high tannin and semi-sweet to sweet.

France produces the most cider worldwide, with its origins dating back to the sixth century. The country has a long history of growing fruit specifically used for cider making, along with the Asturias and Basque regions in northern Spain, and some areas in the United Kingdom and Germany. In 2018, 250,000 tons of cider apples were harvest in France, according to Business France. There are several different types of cider produced in France: Cidre brut is a dry cider, approximately 5% ABV; cidre doux is sweeter and generally lower in alcohol, about 3% ABV; and cidre demi-sec is halfway between the two, semi-sweet or semi-dry…

Access the full article in the May/June 2024 Zymurgy magazine.

This article includes the following:

  • Cider in French Culture
  • Terroir and Variety
  • Apple Wines and Brandies
  • Making French-inspired Ciders In the U.S.

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