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Union Libre Cidre & Vin
Terry Sullivan

Union Libre Cidre and VinSummary: Union Libre Cidre & Vin is a union of two styles of cider, an ice cider and a fire cider. It is also a union of orchard and vineyard. Visitors will sample ciders produced by totally different methods.

Union Libre Cidre & Vin is the first producer of fire cider. An ice cider is made with frozen apples. A fire cider is made by using heat to evaporate the water content leaving a high sugar (25º Brix) apple juice.

The name Union Libre Cidre & Vin was chosen to represent the union of fire and ice. It also signifies the union of the orchard and vineyard. The name also brings to mind the union of knowledge and creativity. Union Libre was founded in 2010 when two couples Anouschka Bouchard and her husband François Busque and their friends, Martine St-Onge and Rémi Filion acquired the estate. Formally the orchard was planted in 1971 by the Davignon family. In 1989 the Levasseur family bought the orchard. Their cidery Fleurs de Pommiers was created in 1992.

Union Libre Cidre and VinUnion Libre Cidre and VinOrchard and Vineyards

Anouschka met us at the Dunham estate and discussed the orchard and vineyard. The 75 acre estate has an orchard and vineyard. Mostly slate and shale make up the composition of the soils for the orchard and vineyard. The orchard consists of 5,500 apple trees on 22 hectares (54 acres). Varieties include Cortland, Empire, Spartan and McIntosh. The apples are harvested for ice cider between New Year’s Eve and the second week of January. The sugar level of juice in a frozen apple is between 32º Brix and 38º Brix.

The 1.1 acre vineyard has plantings of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Gewürztraminer, Vidal Blanc and Seyval Blanc. During the harsh winters, vines are covered with geotextile fabric. The first wines produced with the onsite grapes is expected in 2014.

Union Libre Cidre and VinTasting Room

Behind the L-shaped tasting bar a black wall has a list of the products and the aromatics from fire cider and ice cider. The wall looks like a chalkboard with very nice printing. Anouschka explained the differences between the products.

Union Libre Cidre and VinCiders

The 2011 Fire Cider, fermented for several months in vats and then aged in oak barrels, was a dark yellow color. There was an apple aroma, while the taste offered apple, cinnamon and peach notes. The cider was sweet and there was a hint of smoke on the fruity finish. The 2011 Cidre de Glace was a yellow colored ice cider. The cider had the aroma and taste of apples and honey. There was a hint of citrus on the sweet finish. Pair with cheeses and desserts.

We tasted two apéritifs. The apéritifs were made from Cortland, Empire, Spartan and McIntosh apples. The 2004 Cidre Apéritif was a dark gold color. The 16.5% alcohol cider had nuts and alcohol on the aroma while apples and caramel were on the taste. There was a hint of tannins on the crisp finish. The 2005 Cidre Apéritif was also a dark gold color. The aroma had floral, brown sugar and hazelnut notes. The smooth taste was predominantly apple. There was a crisp finish with hazelnuts yielding to floral. The apéritifs can be paired with cheeses, foie gras and chocolate.

Quebec is known worldwide for their ciders. Visit Union Libre Cidre & Vin for a tasting of two completely different ciders, one made by ice and the other by fire.

Union Libre Cidre & Vin
1047 Bruce Rd.
Dunham, Quebec, Canada J0E 1M0

GPS: N45º 06.552’ W72º 51.427’

Article written June 2013

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