La Ferme De Billy
Panache Cidre Brut
La Ferme De Billy Panache Cidre Brut (5.0% alcohol by volume) is produced by La Ferme de Billy in the area of Caen Bessin and Pays d’Auge in Normandy, France. It is marketing in the US by Panache, a majority women-owned Minnesota small business with a commitment to building and environmentally and economically sustainable local community. The company started with a love of apples and desire to reintroduce heirloom apples into daily consumption. Heirloom apples come with a history of hand-crafted artisanal practices creating products like hard ciders, botanically infused apple juices and caramels, jams and fruit compotes.
The cider has a rich, full, fruity apple smell with subtle faint spice and smoky notes. it is brilliant amber permeated by streams of rapidly rising bubbles. As it drops it creates a 1/2" frothy white cap that reduces to a thin film and a slightly thicker ring of bubbles around the rim. Norman ciders are noted for squeezing flavor and elegance into a package with reasonably low alcohol and this cider is no exception. This elegant, big, complex cider features layered flavors with a subtle hint of barnyard. Big lightly sweetened apple flavors up front go bone dry by the finish. The tannins provide structure and are just big enough to reach out and dry things out on the finish. Acidity is medium low. While not dominating, the smokiness is a bigger flavor element than it is in the aroma and produces a light hint of ham in the background. The body is full and the medium carbonation has a champagne-like texture but less intensity.
You can't go wrong drinking a Norman cider with Norman cheeses such as Camembert, Pavé d'Auge, Livarot, Pont l'Evêque, Neufchatel, Boursin, Brillat-Savarain and Brin de Paille. One of these cheeses, a fresh baguete and a bottle of La Ferme De Billy Panache Cidre Brut makes for a perfect spring afternoon in the garden or sitting on a park bench by a lake. A few slices of Prosciutto di Parma, Serano Ham or Jambon de Paris will add to your enjoyment. If you are dining, try a Norman chicken recipe, roast pork, fatty fish or Asian dishes. The dryness and carbonation of La Ferme De Billy Panache Cidre Brut pairs nicely with sushi cutting the heat of wasabi while cleansing the palate. I enjoyed the cider immensely and rate it 90.