Julien Fremont Cidre Silex
I discovered Julien Fremont through a beautiful Calvados poured at Chicago’s Telegraph wine bar several years ago. The purity of the spirit astounded me and I’ve been on the hunt ever since. Research led me to Louis Dressner’s website (Fremont’s US importer) and a list of intriguing sounding dry ciders. Thanks to an impromptu side trip from the Loire to Normandy by Sedimentary Wine, Fremont is excitingly now available in our market.
Normandy’s Cutting Edge
This is not typical cider. Fremont is not a typical Normandy apple grower either. He hangs with wine makers like Jean Foillard and has broken with the AOC rules for Pays d’Auge because he wanted to make a drier, more ‘natural’ style of cider, without inoculations and other manipulations. The AOC rules for Pays d’Auge actually require cider to be sweet and it was through discussions with Foillard’s contacts in the wine and restaurant world of France that Fremont kept hearing more and more demands for dry cider to put on restaurant lists. After working a harvest with Foillard, Fremont bought into the hand harvesting, low intervention ways and completely changed the style of his ciders. For a family operation dating back to the mid 1700’s, these changes mark a pretty radical shift in the region (though Fremont still uses his family’s original press from the 1760’s).
Dry, Delicious, Drinkable
The Silex is one of Fremont’s “terroir” ciders, made with heirloom apples grown entirely on “cailloux” or Quartz, allegedly bringing some dry mineral-like notes to the cider. I did not detect the ‘minerality’, but I did find a beautiful, unusual cider that is full of fascinating funk and yeast notes, intensely fruity apple fruit but a very dry, clean finish. The effervescence is refreshing but not overdone and the cider has an unusually soft texture that makes it eminently easy to drink. At 4.5% ABV I blew through two 750ml bottles in an evening and felt none the worse.
In short, this is atypical, delicious, natural cider unlike anything you’ve had before.
$25 through Sedimentary Wine