Andrew Guard

2018 Cidre Trois Pepins Extra-Sec, Cidrerie du Vulcain

Equal parts Apple, Pear and Quince  - Pink flowers, hay, and temptation: the skin of a small wild fruit you cannot help taking a bite of even if you know it’s about to hurt you. And indeed, the palate does hurt you. What a rush of salt and acidity, plus the astringency of quince skin. The fruit is dialed down to such a bare minimum it conjures up the Star Wars crawl: salt and acidity prominently in the foreground, the fruit on the distant horizon (in a galaxy far, far away) yet there, and very clear. Transparente, Premiers Emois, and the Poire are pastoral; Trois Pepins is minimalism. It’s a very, very grown-up drink. And does it ever make you want to eat: sashimi of some translucent white fish with salt and yuzu; thinly sliced raw baby zucchini with olive oil, lemon, and shaved parmesan. Caviar. Most definitely caviar. Trois Pépins could have been called Forbidden Fruit. 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