Without a doubt, Cidrerie du Vulcain is the best non-grape sparkler I’ve consumed.
It all started with an idea.
Jacques Perritaz is the mastermind behind Cidrerie du Vulcain in Fribourg, Switzerland. Jacques wasn’t always a cider maker. He used to work for the Swiss government as a biologist focused on preserving natural habitats. During one of his work projects, he spotted neglected apple and pear trees in the countryside. Upon examining them further, he realized they were two hundred year old trees growing heirloom fruits from ancient cider varieties. They served as a reminder of another era, a time when farmers could make extra money selling fruit to a once-thriving cider industry.
When Jacques met Eric Bordelet, one of the premier cider producers in the Normandy region in France, his life was forever changed. Bordelet proved you can make cider as interesting as wine, and sell it too. He knocked on doors and found the owners of the trees. He asked to harvest the fruit and they accepted; after all, they had no use for them.
Jacques makes a full line of ciders, ranging from dry to sweet. My personal favorite, the Trois Pepins (three seeds), is a dry blend of apples, pear, and quince fermented on native yeasts and lightly filtered. The aromatics on this are crazy complex, with green apples, leather, lemon juice, pineapple, and dry wood. The flavor is sweet and a tiny bit sour at the same time, and reminiscent of smashed apples and pie crust. The mouthfeel is crisp and light. Undeniably refreshing. I could drink this all day. And clocking in at 7 percent alcohol I could go to town on this stuff. All day I say!
Photo credit: Cidrerie du Vulcain website.
In Dallas, I found this bottle at Pogo’s. They carry about five different ciders from them, all ranging from dry to sweet.