Hard Cider: How D'Ya Like Them Apples?
Ever since I was 15 and traveling through France and Britain with my family, I've loved European dry, alcoholic apple cider. This is probably because my parents wouldn't let me drink beer, scotch or (much) wine, but they would let me get the occasional buzz off cider. While there, I developed an affection for the dry, crisp apple-y taste of the stuff.
Trying the 2006 Etienne Dupont Bouché Brut de Normandie--a birthday gift from my lovely wife, no less--the other day was therefore a poignant experience. Not because I was feeling nostalgic for my teenage years (which I'm not), but because this drink is so damn good. Made from apples from the Pays d'Auge section of Normandy, this beverage is made more like a wine, but comes out tasting in between a light, apple-y Champagne and a lager beer. The nine types of organically grown apples are juiced and fermented with ambient yeasts, and bottle-fermented unpasteurized and unfiltered. It gets a vintage date because the cider will evolve and gain complexity over a couple of years. Simply fantastic stuff, it's apple juice for adults.
I recommend you get a bottle from Healthy Spirits (2299 15th St, 415-255-0610).