To make a good chillin' wine, it takes fruity grapes. Or apples. What I prefer - by all means - sometimes. Especially the cidre made at Bordatto, to me is real state-of-the-art. Its richness in colour and taste, the drinkability and the refreshment a bottle of the Bordatto cidre brut brings, is remarkable. Pascale and Bixintxo Aphaules affectionate reception at their cidrerie placed at Jaxu even makes the feeling stronger: This is a place to be!
As usual: The romans stand accused
Viniculture in the basque region started with the romans - just like in the most wine producing landscapes in europe. Since then, wine established itself as the drink of the wealthy. A basque quote says, that "It is better to drink bad wine, than good cidre", explains Bixintxo, showing an overwhelming smile on his suntanned face. A smile that wasn't there from the very beginning of Bordatto. It was quite difficult for the young couple to make a living. He and his wife Pascale only had access to half an hectare of grapevine - too less to make a living. Irouleguy, the region they live in, is quite well known for its wine, but not for cidre. But Bixintxo remembers the roman cidre-tradition, red about it and started looking for apples. So they discovered apple trees. Lots of apple trees. In the end they started their Cidrerie in 2001, today they are owning 4 hectares of apple trees. But to cover the demand, they buy apples from farmers in the neighborhood. With the same quality standard, they put to themselves. All biological, of course.
No windfallBefore harvesting, at Domaine Bordatto all windfall will be collected. Bixintxo wants no bad apple at all, because this disturb the clear fruity taste of his cider. When the ground around the trees is all clean, the harvesting starts. Only ripe and undamaged apples will be collected. In the production of cidre, hygiene is even more important than in winemaking, Bixintxo mentions. After harvesting, the apples will be washed and grated. This applemash goes into a modern hydraulic press. Very carefully, indeed. The rest of the pressing, called press cookie, is delivered to farmers in the village. They use it as animal feed. The cow dung is returned to Bordatto, where it is used as fertilizer for the apple-trees. A closed production circle!
The fermentation of the apple juice starts spontaneous with the wild yeasts from the appleparing or the yeasts existing in his cellar. This today is the state-of-the-art procedure in ambitious winemaking. And of course: Bixintxo regards himself as a winemaker, perhaps even more. To make wine out of apples is a lot more complicated than to make it out of grapes. So here we have - vignerons cidriers!