Menez Brug - Fouesnant, France

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Stats:

  • 25 yr old father to son transition company

  • 10 hectares of M106 orchards

  • 20 main varieties

  • Buys in local fruit

  • Uses no acid fruit

  • Common to grow the local powerful varieties and buy in more general fruit (70 varieties known locally)

Produces:

  • 10 tons of apple/hectare with no management and 20-25 with management

  • Intensive cultivation will produce 65 tons/hectare, though there is a clear perception that high density does not produce good flavored apples /cider

200,000 btls cider /yr (AOC)

Keeving trick: Keep cellar records on antique slate.

Keeving trick: Keep cellar records on antique slate.

2000 btls Lambig /yr

6000 btls Pommeau (AOC)

Notes on the region and the orchard:

  • The soil is shallow so the trees are a bit smaller, and there is not much nitrogen in the soil.

  • Pruning for light air flow purposes

  • Sprays copper sulfate and magnesium, for scab and bacterial control

  • Very high acid soil so each 3 yrs add  Lime to raise the pH

  • Makes use of the communal weather station to time sprays

Harvest:

  • All mechanized from sept to November

  • Apples stored in apple bins 2 weeks to sweat (if hand picked)

  • Machine harvested fruit is presses the next day

  • Apples are piled in 4 variety groups

The pressing:

  • Wash, sort, grind

  • Macerate in a tank for 1-2 hours sometimes overnight! To calm the tannins and only with low overnight temps.

  • Maceration is judged by total browning of pomace.

  • Pressing for 2 hours in a large bladder press (slow clear extraction)

  • Pump into 10,000 L tanks at 8-10 degrees C.

  • Add PME at pump in

  • When tank is full (2 days of pressing) add CaCl and pump cycle to blend for 1 hour.

The Brown hat cometh:

  • 2-3 days after CaCl the hat forms and between 5 and 12 days to be completely formed.

  • When hat is big and strong they will rack of the clear juice underneath.

  • Fermentation:

  • 5g/hL SO2 as juice fills tank and 5g/hL more when tank is full then 3 more g at bottling

  • As yeast blooms cider is repeatedly racked to maintain a rate of S.G. 1.002 / week

  • All at 8-10 degrees- if rate is too high then will use filter to reduce yeast population

  • Usually stabilizes at 1.030

  • Crossflows at  1.028 and pitches commercial yeast for bottle conditioning

 

Then we went to meet the Mayor.