On the Cotentin peninsula on the English Channel (in the Normandy region), subject to the most powerful tides in Europe, Cotentin cider carries with it the strength of its birthplace. Non-carbonated, unpasteurized, this authentic, full-bodied and slightly sweet cider displays its nature with the characteristic taste of the sea, punctuated by the subtlest hints of bitterness.
Cotentin cider is a cider of high environmental value, firmly inscribed in the region with the most woodlands and groves of France. Its taste presents subtle aromas, including hints of butter and dried herbs, with a discrete acidity that presents with a beautiful balance in the mouth, letting the bitterness express itself with an enticing freshness. The bitterness is particularly noticeable in Cotentin ciders that appear with the label “extra brut.”
The Cotentin cider orchards have been known for their quality since the 13th century with the arrival by boat of tannic varieties of apples from the northwest of Spain. The presence of sheltered areas of land allows the apple trees to adapt to the notoriously windy conditions of Normandy, and to avoid the apples falling off the tree before reaching maturity. Today, the apples are harvested within a zone that occupies the northern half of the Manche département of northwestern Normandy. All operations, from apple production to fermentation, take place within this territory.
Over the passing of time, producers have maintained cider-producing methods and passed them down across the generations, including the exclusive use of a natural, in-bottle fermentation process lacking both carbonation and pasteurization. Today, there are nine producers of Cotentin cider with an annual production of 120,000 bottles (data from 2017).
Cotentin cider is one of the newest protected geographic indications in the European Union, having just obtain EU-wide protected designation of origin status this year, and has benefited from French protection since 2016.