211 Route De Pommereux
76 440 Saint Michel D'Halescourt
Phone: 02 35 90 61 39
Cidermaker/Guide: Herve' Duclos (owner)
Fruit: Uses 24 varieties of traditional French cider apples.
Orchard: 18 HA located on an east-facing hillside. Soils mainly Jurassic clay and limestone. Orchard is sheep grazed, no additional fertilizers or amendments used. [Rootstock type?] Orchard is organized by zone, each with associated varietal and/or fruit classification.
Harvest practice: All fruit is allowed to drop. Harvesting by mechanical sweeper. At end of season, hand-shaking of trees is sometimes performed to clear remaining fruit. Harvested apples are sorted on-site by orchard zone, allowing at-press blending by varietal and/or fruit classification.
Fruit processing: At-press blending generally used, with target pH of 3.8. All processing takes place at ambient (outdoor) temperatures. Hammer mill creates blended pomace, fed into bladder press. No maceration procedures per se; pomace often sits 1-2 hours as part of typical cycle pre-press and concurrent with press procedures. Three hour maximum maceration, according to Hervé.
Juice preparation: Uses PME (Pectin Esterase Enzymes) and calcium chloride, added to juice in blending/chilling tank; juice is chilled to approximately 8º C before racking into fiberglass fermentation tanks stored in 8º C cold room. No SO2 added at this time.
Keeve process: Naturally-occurring yeast for all fermentation. Hervé has developed a unique system to lift the chapeau brun, using a flexible impeller pump to introduce ambient oxygen into pump-over stream, helping lift the cap more quickly and reliably than with yeast metabolics alone. Cap lift and development are tracked with aid of translucent strips on side of each tank (non-painted fiberglass surface). Keeved juice racked from bottom, using inline sight glass to monitor racking process, i.e., when cap material appears, juice has been extracted.
Fermentation process: Fermentation occurs at target 8º C. Slow fermentation pace [degrees drop/week?] maintained as required using racking and cross-flow filtering. Final filter cycle used to arrest fermentation at desired SG target.
Maturation/Conditioning: Completed cider packaged with mobile in-line carbonation/bottling machine. Bottle-conditioned variants may utilize cultured yeast. No pasteurization. Bottles are stored on-site in ambient temperatures for aging/conditioning prior to labeling and sale.
Following our tour, Hervé had lunch with the group at nearby restaurant Auberge du Beau-Lieu, just outside Forges-les-Eaux, 2 Route du Montadet, 76440 Le Fosse.
Hervé was given a bottle of Liberty Ciderworks Manchurian Crabapple cider as a token of thanks.