La Maison Ferré (Cider)

Cidre de Perche
Gregoire Ferré

Gregoire Ferré left his familial farm in 2009 and crossed the valley in the Perche part of Normandy to purchase 60 hectares. This farm has 24 hectares of orchards both apples and pears, 30 hectares of cereals and the rest pastureland for cattle. His father continues to look after the dairy cows on the old family farm across the valley. The previous owner of Gregoire’s farm produced calvados but not cider, which Gregoire began in 2010. Although not certified organic, Gregoire Ferré farms without the use of chemicals.

Gregoire also produces a calvados, more information is available here: La Maison Ferré (Calvados)

Cidre Brut “La Cave de Gabriel”

This cider is named for the grandfather of Gregoire’s wife. It is blended from up to 30 varieties of apples with the goal of balancing freshness (acidity) fruity/floral aromas and tannins. The apples are harvested between September and mid-December once they have fallen to the ground. Gregoire uses an old press built in 1954 that was designed to be mobile so that it would make the rounds from farm to farm during and after harvest time. It extracts only 50% of the possible juice and takes two hours to clean in between pressings, so it is not practical, but for Gregoire the results justify the pain. The fermentation occurs from indigenous yeasts and the cider is bottled without the addition of more yeast. It finishes its fermentation in bottle over the course of at least 3 months.

Region: Normandie / Bretagne

The list of apple varieties grown in France is daunting with over 600 varieties having been identified. Over the centuries, apple varieties have been cultivated locally, so that from one small area of Normandy or Brittany to the next, the varieties of apples will change and thus so will the expressions of the ciders. The varieties are categorized by flavor type: tart, bitter, sweet, tart-sweet and bitter-sweet. Each cider producing area has developed a regional style based on their particular blend of flavor types and using the local varieties within each category...

In the last couple of years Barbara and I have been attracted to wines with lower and lower alcohol levels and French ciders at 4% to 5.5% certainly meet that criterion. More importantly, though, the ciders that we have chosen achieve the difficult balance of our favorite wines, which is the combination of lightness and intensity.

All industrial and most independent cider producers have abandoned traditional methods of cider production and prefer to use selected yeasts for fermentation, pasteurization to end the primary fermentation and gasification instead of a natural secondary fermentation.

Happily, there is still a group of cider producers who want to make cider following the traditions of natural yeasts and without using either pasteurization or gasification. These are the producers that are passionately resisting the sterility of modernization and who merit our support.