There’s something special about vacation drinks. You’re in a new place and try a local product in a wonderful little cafe and everything blends together harmoniously. After a long day of driving along with an excellent stop at one of France’s top cidreries, I finally pulled into Quimper in Brittany. By the way, trying to park in Quimper is a unique experience. It’s all steep hills and tiny winding roads. It’s like trying to park in Seattle if you took a topographical map of the city and scrunched it up to be even hillier and more compact. After settling into my hotel, I walked into the small downtown and found an open restaurant for dinner. It was midweek night in the off-season, I think there was one other table occupied.
I don’t remember the name of the place, but I could walk right to it if you dropped me in Quimper. I ordered my food and a bottle of cidre from a maker I’d never heard of: Les 3 Freres. I don’t remember what I ordered, probably crepes (Brittany’s specialty and the ideal pairing for cidre), but the food, cidre, and atmosphere combined to make the perfect “Welcome to Quimper” experience. As life is funny, my first appointment of the next day was at Chateau de Lezergue, maker of Les 3 Freres! I knew them from their US bottling known as Aval. Needless to say, I brought a few bottles home. When I opened this one last night, the first sip took me right back to that little cafe in Quimper. That’s the magic of vacation beverage. In a single sip, it can bring you right back to that moment. Your brain is flooded with all the images and smells of the first time you tried it. You get to relive the magic of travel 8,000 miles away that cafe all within the limits of a humble glass.
Les 3 Freres is one of the labels produced by Chateau de Lezergue in Quimper, Brittany. Labeled as “fermier,” all the apples for this cider were grown in their own orchards. It’s the equivalent of what you’d see in the United States when a bottle is labeled “Estate Grown.” This is their Brut (dry) version. It’s won a silver and 2 golds over the years at France’s top cider competition.
Appearance: Light haze, gold.
Aroma: Apple cobbler, pears, orchard floor, herbal, woodsy, butter sauted apples, caramel.
Taste: Medium tannins, medium- acidity, medium+ astringency.
Overall Impression: Les 3 Freres Brut is big on cider apple taste. It’s a complex combination of tannic delights balanced against big fruity aromas and just enough acidity to pull it all together. Dry and eminently quaffable, this is a very pleasurable and excellent example of a Breton Cidre.