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Meet the Producer: Marie-Agnes Hérout of Hérout à Auvers

by Joan Kitterman March 12, 2018

Meet the Producer:  Marie-Agnes Hérout of Hérout à Auvers

Marie-Agnes Hérout is a third generation cider producer whose family orchards are found on the beautiful and rugged Cotentin Peninsula, not far from the Normandy landing beaches.  Marie-Agnes is passionate about her cider heritage, a craft that she learned at the knees of her grandparents. Marie-Agnes' products are certified organic in France and also carry the prestigious Cotentin AOC, a certification that Marie-Agnes was responsible for getting awarded to the region.

Come meet Marie-Agnes at two special tasting events this week: 

L'Oursin, Sun. Mar. 18 from 5pm to 7pm for a casual tasting at the bar.

The Boat Street Kitchen, Mon. Mar. 19 at 6pm for a six-course Normandy farm table dinner! 

Get more details here.

What do you enjoy most about producing cidre/poiré/Calvados?

Il s’agit d’une production exigeante et donc passionate. Chaque année est différente : les jus sont différents, la fermentation est différente, le comportement en bouteille est different. Il y a comme un enjeu remis au cause à chaque millésime.

Cider-making is demanding and I'm passionate about it. Each year is different - the juice is different, the fermentation is different, its behavior once in the bottle is different. Each vintage has its own unique challenges and opportunities.

Thinking of cidre, poiré, Calvados, what is your favorite time of year and why?

Le moment le plus enthousiasmant est en octobre, lors de la première pressée : on retrouve les parfums du cidre nouveau. Le moment le plus grave est la surveillance de la prise de mousse en bouteille, et l’ouverture de la première bouteille d’une nouvelle cuvée !

I'm most enthusiastic about the month of October, at the time of the first cider pressing when you smell the fragrance of the new cider.  Then, the most serious moment is monitoring the effervescence as it begins to foam in the bottle and then when you open the first bottle of the new vintage!

Your family has been involved in cidre making for generations, but what made you decide you wanted to follow that path too?

Je ne sais pas vraiment… les circonstances, un attachement affectif peut-être… une philosophie.

I don't really know - the circumstances,  an emotional attachment maybe....a philosophy.

Do you have a special batch of cidre, poiré, Calvados that you make just for you and your family?

Non, c’est mieux de partager!  J’ai simplement fait l’année dernier un essai de fermentation en fût à Calvados. Une cuvee spéciale “Coup de Foudre”. Très intéresant : un cidre plus corsé, parfumé, renforcé en alcool grace au fût qui redonne un peu de son Calvados.

No. It is always better to share it!  But last year, for the first time, I made a cider fermented in Calvados casks.  A special vintage called "Coup de Foudre".  It is very interesting:  a cider that is more full-bodied, perfumed, and has slightly more alcohol thanks to the Calvados that was in the casks.

What is the one thing you want Americans to know about your cidre, poiré, Calvados?

Le Cidre Cotentin est un produit noble : au commencement il y a un arbre. Or un arbre c’est précieux. C’est le “temps long”.

Cotentin Cider is a noble product.  It all starts with a tree. A precious tree.  It takes a long time.

What was the most difficult part of pursuing an AOC or AOP?

La difficulté est de conserver le caractère traditionnel, tout en réalisant un produit techniquement irréprochable. Le combat entre respect de la tradition et du patrimoine, d’une part, et modernité et rentabilité, d’autre part!

It was difficult to conserve a traditional character while creating a product that is technically flawless.   There is always the need to respect tradition and heritage on the one hand, but also achieve a modern, profitable approach on the other!

What do you tell someone who is trying French cidre for the very first time?

Je leur parle d’arbres et de pommes, puis d’oenologie. Notre cidre est précieux. Il se mérite!

I talk about the trees, the apples, then the oenology.  Our cider is precious and it merits the explanations!

Describe for someone who has never tasted Cotentin Cidre what it tastes like.

Le Cidre Cotentin, avec son pétillant, est joyeux : il doit mettre de bonne humeur. Sa couleur jaune à jaune orange est attractive. Le cidre est d’abord une boisson de soif ! et donc d’envie.

Cotentin Cider with its sparkling effervescence is a happy cider - it puts you in a good mood.  The golden hue is attractive.  Cider is first and foremost something to quench your thirst - so you want it!

Why should Americans like French cidre?

Parce qu’ils sont curieux de découverte et de nouvelles experiences. C’ets aussi un pproduit simple : un seul ingrédient, la pomme. Peu alcoolisé (5% pour un Brut), et peu sucré (extra brut). Le Cidre s’associe avec une large palette de la gastronomie occidentale.

Because Americans want new experiences. And French cider is also a simple product with one simple ingredient, apples.  It is low in alcohol (5% abv for a brut) and very low in sugar (especially the Extra-Brut).  Also Cider goes well with a wide range of western-style foods.

What food does your cidres go well with?

Le Cidre Cotentin est le Cidre du repas par excellence. Le Cotentin brut ou extra brut sa marie très bien avec toutes les viands rôties, ou cuites au barbecue, mais aussi les poisons prepares à la crème par exemple. On appréciera le Brut avec des fromages de caractère : la pomme apporte une touche fruitée discrete. L’Extra brut sera servi sur les fruits de mer, comme les huitres natures.

Cotentin Cider is the perfect cider for meals.  The brut and extra-brut go well with roasted or barbeque'd meats as well as with fish dishes with creme sauce.  You'll also appreciate the brut with high-quality cheeses - the apple flavor brings a very discrete touch of fruitiness. The extra-brut goes well with seafood, especially raw oysters.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about Herout a Auvers?

La famille HEROUT est présente à Auvers depuis au moins le XVIIe siècle, et la terre de cette region colle à nos semelles ! Le goût de la pomme et du cidre, mais aussi du Calvados m’a été transmise par mes parents. Eux même ont été les porteurs de mémoire d’une tradition. Cependant, le Cotentin est une petite region qui se découvre doucement, discrètement, dans sa diversité et son caractère bien spécifique qui se retrouve dans les bouteilles de Cidre Cotentin !

The Herout family has been in Auvers since at least the 17th century. The land of this region has stuck to the soles of our shoes for a long time!  The knowledge of the apples and the taste of the cider as well as the Calvados I produce was passed down to me by my parents.  They, themselves, were the recipients of these memories and traditions. The Cotentin is a small region that is slowly discovered with its diversity and unique character that you find in our bottles of Cotentin Cider!




Joan Kitterman
Joan Kitterman

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