Andrew Guard

2017 Cidre Belle Brutale, Cidrerie du Vulcain

The name means Brutal Belle and the label was drawn by Jacques’ niece Zoé.

It is made from apples Jacques purchased from a grandpa in Normandy who has old orchards planted to haute-tige trees (high standard bush trees.)

If Trois Pépins is normally the cider that presses all the right buttons for dryness and saltiness, Belle Brutale takes this to an entirely different level. On the first sip, the “brutale” part of the name is warranted. Its dryness and saltiness will catch you off-guard: they are jaw-dropping. But once past the element of surprise, you will notice Belle Brutale’s incredible precision and clarity, and its beautiful texture. It lives in the world of sea water very subtly flavored with heirloom apples and citrus, of fino sherries, of the fresher, more acidic of the Cantillon bottlings, and beverages based on noble bitters. It is a VERY adult drink, a minimalist exercise on salinity that could have a place in a museum of modern art. Becky Wasserman  

The first taste of a Vulcain cider will usually cause disbelief. They are so… pretty! And so different.

Dry to moderately sweet, with a discreet salty finish, the different blends or individual varieties speak so clearly yet so delicately —watercolors, not oil paintings. Essentially, these ciders are unmistakably Alpine: at their core is transparency, levity, and altitude; the same cool wind that runs through most Alpine wines; the freshness of a mountain stream.

And they stand apart, different from French or Basque ciders, with less to none of that animal, fermentive character.

Jacques Perritaz, the man behind La Cidrerie du Vulcain, works exclusively with the local orchard fruits of Fribourg: ancient varieties of apples, pears and quinces grown on high-branched, untreated trees. The Fribourg terroir, with its cool climate and diverse soils, provides for beautiful nuances in the aromatic expression of the Vulcain ciders, an effect that is only enhanced by the old age of the high-branched trees.

The fruit is bought directly from the producers, and Jacques often harvests himself. By creating a buzz and demand for his phenomenal cuvées, the goal is to valorize Fribourg’s older, high-branched orchards that otherwise risk abandonment. Jacques hopes to preserve the inherently rich natural environment of Fribourg that is essential to maintaining biodiversity. This movement has been otherwise promoted by the FSP (Swiss Landscape Foundation). Taken from beckywasserman.com