Cider making
© Philippe CAHAREL

La Mayenne, cider country

Brands include "Coup d'cit" and the exceptional "Sydre"

In the 16th and 17th centuries, orchards gradually replaced the vines in Mayenne, better suited to the climate. Cider brought happiness to many generations of labourers and farm workers before production declined, during the 20th century. The industry could have died out if a number of talented families had not taken the initiative to replant and return to production.

Today, Mayenne stands out for the quality of its ciders, apple juices and sparkling apple drinks. Find these quality products (often sporting an award from the many Agricultural Shows at which it is exhibited) at the tables of local restaurants and creperies, for sale with various wine merchants and in supermarkets and market squares… Better yet, visit the Mayenne cider growers themselves, on the farm.

The “Le Ferme du Pressoir” farm – five generations of cider makers

Planted in excellent soil, with ideal exposure to the sun, these orchards were planted with a rigorous selection of old varieties. Above all, the know-how of five generations have made the farm of Le Pressoir in Craon a wonderful and fascinating place to visit. The huge barrels are particularly impressive. Sonia and Rémy Viel carry on the family tradition of innovation in ciders, pommeau, perry and apple juice, alongside brandies, liqueurs, apple chips, and apple jam. One of their more surprising specialities is, “cidre de glace” (ice cider), made with natural cold. You’ll have to visit to find out what that means! Spirulina, a freshwater algae that is as natural as it is energetic is another new product of the farm.

Le Theil farm, tradition rediscovered

From a cider for family consumption to a benchmark commercial production, this is the story of the Roulands, their parents yesterday and their sons tomorrow.

Between valleys of the Mayenne and the Ernée, The Rouland family cultivates authenticity, quality and consistency in their production. The controlled ecosystem they have developed provides optimal protection to the orchards, of low and high trunk types.

Down on the family farm, typical of the Maine countryside, you can discover the world of cider and the variety of products on offer: dry or sweet cider, pommeau, perry and “Fine du Maine”, a delicious apple juice, pomm’bulles, and also apple cider vinegar.

 

Éric Bordelet, “cidriculturist”

Éric Bordelet, a former wine waiter with Dutournier and Passard, returned to the family farm in Charchigné, on the borders of Orne and Mayenne to invest in the production of organic and biodynamic orchards, patiently recreated from traditional species of apple tree.

The cider cellars are laid-out in the same way as traditional wine cellars, and the creation of each of the varieties combines respect for the properties of each fruit and ancestral natural fermentation techniques. In the shadow of the Château de Hauteville (our own “Downton Abbey” with its dramatic stories), Éric Bordelet, his family and his team, bring the mark of nobility to cider making.

Ciders, perries, “cormé,” and apple juice, all to be found combined with exceptional dishes on the tables of the finest restaurants in the world, in wine cellars, food shops and delicatessens everywhere.

The cider museum

From harvest to distillation, this is the place to find out everything you need to know about the brewing of cider and its many derivatives. At the Domaine de la Duretière, in Melleray-la-Vallée, you’re at the heart of the matter: a local cider producer, also making perries and calvados, the local liqueur. After visiting the new museum of cider, take the time for a tasting in the shop.

Mayenne with flavours of Normandy, at Sainte-Anne de Champfrémont, a rustic setting for a “conservatory orchard,” home to 70 varieties of apple trees and 20 pear trees.

Le Pommeau Du Maine Ferme Du PressoirLe Pommeau Du Maine Ferme Du Pressoir Le Pommeau Du Maine Ferme Du Pressoir

Did you know…

The Mayenne producers have promoted their Pommeau du Maine so well, that it today holds the prestigious Appelation d’Origine designation. Slightly sweeter and rounder than its Norman and Breton cousins, this pommeau is best drunk chilled as an aperitif and is an ideal accompaniment for meals.70% sweet apple juice, 30% bitter apples and a hint of cider brandy: Pommeau du Maine is made from the best varieties of apples grown on the long-trunk orchard style.

Pommeau du Maine, the perfect aperitif!

 

Jacques B.

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