Eric Bordelet for many years was a well-known name in Paris gourmet and oenophile circles. And well it might be, as its bearer was the sommelier of the 3 Michelin-star restaurant, Arpège. Until 1992, when Eric made the move back to his family’s land in the Loire. Inspired by friends and contacts in the wine world, including Didier Dagueuneau of Pouilly-Fumé fame, Eric determined to use the fruits of his family orchards to revolutionise the idea and the taste of cider.
On the 7.5 acres of land that Eric came into, there were more than 20 heirloom varieties of apples and over 15 varieties of pears (some of which were planted in the 18th century). Each of these true varietals (no hybrids here!) has its unique character, which prompts Eric to blend sweet, sour and acidic acids in each cuvée to get the balance just right.
Very unusually for cider, Eric’s are vintage-dated with only natural pétillant (which explains the very gentle nature of the mousse). Eric’s orchards are planted as densely as most vineyards, at 2,000 per hectare, rather than the 600 per hectare more regularly found for orchards; this is just one example of the ways in which Eric’s background in wine influences his philosophy as a cidriculteur. Fruit is hand-harvested and left to dehydrate for a few weeks before being pressed and fermented. Eric’s cuvées cover various sweetness levels, and also terroirs.
The skillful balance between acidity and sugar gives Eric’s ciders impressive weight, and means they can pair extraordinarily well with a whole range of food. Our favourites thus far have been Camembert fermier, foie gras, cassoulet, creamy scallops, roast chicken or tarte tatin.