Eric Bordelet, Normandy

Written by Al Drinkle

The ciders made by Eric Bordelet are simply the best that we have ever tasted.

Feel free to define the word “best” in any way that you choose – when one considers complexity, versatility, persistence, purity and deliciousness, all of the word’s applications in regards to fermented juice will accommodate our argument. You can even deduct points considering our staggering prejudice towards our exclusive producers and we still think that these will be the best ciders that you’ve ever tasted.

Prior to taking over his family’s orchard in Normandy, Bordelet was the sommelier of Alain Passard’s Michelin 3-star l’Arpège in Paris where he became acquainted with some of France’s most insightful winemakers. Through these relations, he developed his fearsome ideology regarding the production of world-class beverages and when the time came to return to his roots, he became unique amongst his cider-crafting peers by applying the techniques of skilled winegrowers to apple and pear farming.

Like a top vigneron, Bordelet is obsessed with farming high-quality raw materials as well as reflecting his unique southern Norman terroirs, thus his 15 hectares of orchards are devoted to carefully selected indigenous varieties, cultivated according to biodynamic principals, restricted to modest yields and hand-harvested. A band press is employed in the cellar and after wild yeasts ferment the juice to the desired level of residual sugar, he bottles with his own meticulously-maintained bottling line (this latter piece of machinery was acquired to take full measures against the affliction of brettanomyces, an unwelcome malediction in a Bordelet cider despite other respected cider producer’s acceptance of it). 

Eric Bordelet cider and poiré can be found amidst offerings of world-class wine in pre-eminent restaurants and bottleshops internationally. Charles Neal wrote that Bordelet’s products seem to resonate strongly with people who would otherwise be impervious to cider and we would take this a step further by saying that a Bordelet cider effectively transcends its category. We’ve even seen his ciders referred to as “apple-wine.” Perhaps this is part of the reason why he has reverted to the ancient spellings of “sidre” or “sydre” to further distinguish himself from his peers. 

In addition to two pear-based ciders, we offer Bordelet’s Brut, Brut-Tendre and Tendre, representing an ascending but always perfectly balanced level of residual sugar.  As with Vouvray or German Riesling, we predict that most of you will assume a predilection towards dryness, but that the fruitier styles will suspiciously sell out first… 

Time will tell, and either way, you owe it to yourself to become acquainted with these, the best ciders we’ve ever tasted.