Cidrerie du Leguer
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A five hour, scenic drive southwest from Paris, Bretagne (or Brittany as Americans like to call it), is a welcome refuge from the tourist’s beaten path. With a wild and lengthy rugged coastline, the peninsula is known for it’s pink-ish hued sands, thick forests, and strong Celtic heritage. Compared to Normandy, the well-known heart of cider production in France and Brittany’s inland neighbor to the north, Brittany is more maritime. It's extreme climate lends a hand in producing excellent artisan ciders with a higher level of acidity, bitterness, and ability to handle a little more residual sugar.
It is in Brittany that Cédric Le Bloas is crafting artisan, terroir-driven ciders that have an undeniable depth and toothsome grip. They are neither totally rustcidercraftmagic, nor polished and suave; they feel rounded and brimming with flavor, yet crystalline and direct.
Cédric Le Bloas was born and raised in Brittany, France. Cédric left Brittany to study agriculture and travel through France. With his wife Kate, Cédric eventually made his return to the peninsula, upon which discovering a four-hectare “almost abandoned” cider farm in the town of Lannion. Featuring granite soils with various levels of clay and a diverse mix of both heirloom and indigneous apple trees, this was decidedly the place for the couple to embark on their next adventure, Cidrerie du Leguer, celebrating their inaugral 2016 vintage soon after.
Cédric and his wife (along with their trusty labrador, Goël) farm organically, but the truth is even more simple than this: they mow the lawn, prune the trees, and encourage natural predators for pest control. That’s it.
In true Bronson Alcott, Fruitlands-era spirit, Cédric collects apples only once they have fallen, putting them in crates to further ripen. From harvest to bottling, all work is done by hand and with minimal intervention. Instead of filtering the juice, Cédric uses the old-school process of keeving to clean the musts and remove pectin. Apples are washed with water; all fermentations occur naturally; and the ciders are bottled without sulfites or other additives.
Still in the early years of production, Cédric is continuing to focus on experimentation, tasting and learning. The key, as Cédric sees it, is learning to tame the apple’s high acidity and fine but very pervasive tannins. Early experiments with black currant (for the rosé) and hops have resulted in beautiful, integrated ciders that have more complexity, yet don’t lose their vinous quality.
Cidrerie de Leuger’s first chapter has begun, and we could not be more excited to introduce these ciders to Illinois.