Christophe Bouvet created La Ferme du Vastel back in 2007. The farm is owned by his grandparents and has been in the family for over 150 years. Located in one of the most northern points in Normandy, it is perfect for the production of high quality cidre.
He sells his products at the local market and to tourists during holiday seasons. With tiny production there is not much to go around, with cidres going to local restaurants and shops, Paris, and a few other parts of France. The only International markets are Japan, Korea and now Australia!
He has around 30 different varieties of apples. The apples are all collected manually by hand during Autumn, and usually there are two harvests, sometimes three. The grass is cut before harvest, to ensure the apples are easy to see – they are very small! The apples are collected in baskets and are full at about 10-12kg. They are brought back and left outside on a large tarps to ripen further for one to two weeks. They are then sorted and cleaned by hand before being pressed. Fermentation occurs in 2000L tanks with the natural yeasts and last several months. Several rackings occur in the cold weather, so as not to speed up the fermentation. He does a very light filtration with a cardboard plate filter - the coarsest possible, to remove a minimum of lees but without having too limpid a cidre, which would risk losing aromas. There is no addition of sulfur, malic acid or water - these are very natural cidres.
From importer Ryan Larkin:
How is the colour! Big smile as soon as you see it. A beautiful sunshine array of orange and yellow with lots of energy and light. Great bubbles too. Clean nose and very aromatic. Lots of apple skin, blossoms and honey. To taste it is very vibrant, with persistent but gentle bubbles. You will find lots of blossoms and florals, slight sea spray notes, honey essence, nectar, and an extravaganza of apple notes like you've never tasted before. It's extremely tasty and moreish, so much so that the bottle will be drained and the customer will immediately order another. You could slam so many of these, it's one of the nicest, easy going cidres I’ve ever tried. The balance is harmonious with nice dry extract, lovely acidity and a tiny hint of sweet apple. Absolutely effortless to drink. Not much else to say but YUM!!!