Maker: Domaine Manoir de Montreuil, Montreuil-en-Auge, Calvados, Normandy, France (Giard family)
Apples: Various heirloom French cider varieties.
Place of origin: Domaine Manoir de Montreuil, Pays d’Auge, Calvados, Normandy, France.
Purchased for $13/750 ml (Westborn Market, Berkley, Michigan)
Appearance: Golden orange.
Nose: Sourdough starter, sawdust, dried apricots.
Palate: Fizzy and sweet. Caramel apple with peanuts, smoked pork shoulder.
Finish: Mild but meaty. Apple wood smoked pork.
Parting words: The Giard family has owned the Manoir de Montreuil estate since the eighteenth century. Like many apple growers in Calvados, the Giards produce cider and brandy from their estate, both under the Pays d’Auge appellation.
As far as I can tell, the brandy is not available in the US, except for in California where it sells in the $40-$45 range, which seems like a bargain for estate Calvados. One of the estate’s claims to fame is its large herd of free-range cattle which are allowed to roam the orchard and fertilize the soil the old-fashioned way.
I have found some Norman ciders to be overly tannic and funky. While the nose is funk and tannin forward, the palate is surprisingly fruity and even meaty on the back-end. While the orchards may be home to a lot of beef, the finish is porky. It’s like quality pork chops smoked over fruit wood.
It pairs very well with food of all kinds and is a great value at $13. Be careful, though! When I started to untwist the wire cage, the cork shot out, leaving a foamy mess all over my dining room floor.
Manoir de Montreuil Cambremer Pays d’Auge Cidre is recommended.