During the 1980s, Eric Bordelet was one of the most influential figures in the Parisian wine scene, as he spent several years at the helm of the wine program at the illustrious Michelin Three Star restaurant l’Arpège. However, his native Normandy called him, and he handed over his sommelier duties and returned to the windswept orchards of Normandy in 1992, desiring to bring his superb palate to bear the high-powered ciders of the region. Bordelet was greatly encouraged in this endeavor by his close friend and confidante, the late Didier Dagueneau of Pouilly-Fumé, who was one of the Loire Valley’s most talented winemakers and colorful characters. Bordelet took over his family's 19 hectares property of Château de Hauteville, and planted 22 additional hectares of orchards in fields that had been fallow, all of which he transitioned to biodynamic farming. Along the way he has risen to prominence as one of the world's greatest cider producers.
Like great wine, great cider is a reflection of the underlying terroir of the orchards, the quality and the variety of the fruit trees planted, the yields in the orchard and, of course, the age of the trees. The same deep, intricate root systems that deliver unmatched complexity in wines produced from old vines are at play in the orchard as well. In fact, the orchards planted in 1992 upon Bordelet’s return to Château de Hauteville are more a gift to his children and grandchildren, as his current production is based entirely on the older orchards planted in his ancestors’ time, some of which date back two hundred to three hundred years (pre-French Revolution)! He has more than thirty “heirloom” varieties of apples and pears planted in his orchards, a diversity that contributes to the complexity one finds in these singular elixirs. All have a gentle mousse, and though they vary in the amount of perceptible sweetness on the palate, across the board the ciders and poirés of Eric Bordelet are defined by their purity, beautiful balance, taught acidities and a sophistication that rivals great wines.
We are pleased to work with an array of Bordelet beverages:
Sidre Tendre [Doux] – Apple cider made in a gently off-dry sparkling style, with racy acidity giving the wine an almost dry impression that works marvelously as an aperitif or at the table.
Sidre Brut Tendre – A slightly drier version of the Sidre Tendre.
Sydre Argelette – Named for the type of stony soil in which these “old vine” (old tree) apple trees are planted. This reserve apple cider made from more than twenty different varieties of apples, which are chosen along the lines of forty percent bitter-sweet, forty percent sweet and fruity-styled varieties, and twenty percent for the great acidity and cut that they give the finished cider. It is made from extremely low yielding old apple trees, producing an intensely flavored and very complex cider that ages extremely well. Bordelet describes the Argelette as being very “winey” in style, and “some vintages have to stay in the cellar longer.”
Poiré Authentique – Pear cider made from 50 year old trees. Made in a traditionally off-dry, sparkling style that works brilliantly with goat cheese.
Poiré Granit – Reserve bottling, made from three hundred year-old pear trees. These sixty foot high trees have never seen one bit of chemical treatment during their long lives and produce absolutely marvelous fruit. Bordelet makes from them a brilliant sparkling cider that has great complexity, refined bubbles, a deep underlying minerality, with excellent length and impressive cut on the finish.
Cormé – The Cormier tree produces small seed fruit ranging in color from yellow to red to gray. It is the only wild tree that produces edible fruit in large quantities, and it was once appreciated for its medicinal virtues. Hailing from the ancient western French province of Maine, Cormé was a drink enjoyed as early as the 15th century. The name iis from a gaelic term "curmi", which means fermented beverage. Like apple ciders and poiré, cormé was a fermented beverage consumed by the poor. Bordelet's idea, using eight varieties of this small seed fruit ranging in color from yellow to red to gray, was to recreate a drink with an authentic taste of a bygone era, with rich and unedited fruity flavors that are unknown to today's cider drinking population.