High quality apples are vital to the creation of a great cider
The orchards of the Famille Dupont estate cover 30 hectares (74 acres) right at the heart of the Pays d'Auge region, 6000 apple trees in 13 different varieties.
Just as for the vine variety in the creation of a wine, the choice of the apple variety is essential in the creation of a cider. They all have their own characteristics and it is their blending which allows the desired balance to be attained. If the proportion of bitter and bittersweet apples is the most significant, the sharper varieties also play their role in giving freshness and fine subtlety in the mouth.
The poor soils of the Pays d'Auge region, consisting of marl and chalky marl of the Oxfordian (secondary era) limit the growth of the trees and this leads to the production of small apples. The aromatic intensity is thereby increased and the ratio of skin to pulp helps to favour the extraction of tannins. Nitrogenous fertilisers (which swell the fruit by water retention) are not used - giving priority to quality rather than yield.
The harvesting extends from September to November, because some varieties mature earlier than others. Apples are only gathered when at full maturity, which necessitates at least three visits to each apple tree. To prevent the fruit from being damaged, storing in the attic has been abandoned in favour of storage in openwork wooden boxes locally called "pallox".
After this the apples are sorted manually.
In order to reach perfect balance in its ciders and calvados, Domaine Dupont uses no less than 13 different varieties of cider apple, all perfectly adapted to the Pays d'Auge terroir.
Noël des champs