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WINE OF THE WEEK

1997 Eric Bordelet Sydre Argelette, Normandy

May 19, 1999|S. IRENE VIRBILA

Normandy, the great apple-growing region of France, is known for its apple brandy (Calvados), but the Normans also make fragrant hard cider which goes beautifully with food.

I particularly love the ciders from Eric Bordelet, a sommelier by training who lists himself on his labels as a cidreculteur (cider maker) and pommelogue (apple fancier). His reserve Sydre Argelette, made from antique varieties of apples, is as full-bodied as a wine. It has a fine bead of bubbles and the delicious snap and sweet scent of a juicy apple. It would be particularly wonderful with pork chops and apples sauteed in butter or a classic Norman chicken in Calvados and cream sauce.

The same producer also made a remarkable pear cider in 1997 from a stand of 300-year-old pear trees. Called Poire "Granite," it has a haunting scent and taste of pear along with a gorgeous mousse and the finish of a grand cru.

(Available at Beverage Warehouse, Los Angeles, (310) 306-2822; Epicurus, Santa Monica, (310) 395-1352; and Wine Country, Signal Hill, (562) 597-8303. If you can't find this cider, ask your local store to order it from the distributor, Beaune Imports, Berkeley, (510) 841-9815.)

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