Cider Review: Dan Armor Cuvee Speciale Cidre Brut
While perusing the alcohol section at Trader Joes last year we saw a corked and caged 750ml bottle of seemingly French cidre for $4.99. I thought to myself, “How good - or how bad - could a $5 large format bottle of cider be?” Curiosity won, and we went home with a bottle of Dan Armor Cuvee Speciale Cidre Brut.
After looking the bottle over more closely I realized we had a legitimate bottle of French Cidre: Dan Armor Cidre Brut is made in Brittany from fresh-pressed Breton apples. After that, I cellared it for some time to allow it to mature (read: put it in the basement and forgot about it) until recently. We were having pasta, so I went to find a mildly tannic cider that would cut through the richness of the dish.
Deep amber and mostly clear. Lots of carbonation on pouring that leaves many tiny bubbles rising up in the glass.
Slightly overripe and cooked apples, with a hint of leathery, French funk (but less than many French cidres).
Sweet baked apples up front. An unexpected but welcome amount of crisp astringency balances with the expected drying bitterness from the bittersweet French apples. The carbonation enhances the baked, ripe apple flavor. Though it does taste like sharp culinary apples are mixed with traditional bittersweet cidre apples, it’s balanced. Minimal mustiness, clean and almost crisp.
Medium to Semi-dry, but the tannins bring a drying sensation. Tongue prickling, bright astringency not typical the French cidres I’ve had in the past and carbonation cleanse the palate. There’s also a lingering bittersweet apple taste, as if I bit into a Michelin. The top of the tongue and sides of the mouth end up feeling quite dry.
I would classify Dan Armor Cuvee Speciale Cidre Brut as a modern French cidre. It’s not going to compare to Christian Drouin or Famille Dupont, but remember this is a $5 bottle of cider. It would be a good introduction to French-style cidre for anyone used to drinking modern cider. The acidity and tannins are balanced, so there’s still a bit of traditional French cidre feel to it, especially at the finish. For $5, I don’t think you can go wrong here. Good value for money.
Oh, and it paired very nicely with our Banza pasta, Ashley’s homemade tomato sauce and Greek sheep milk Feta.