An AOC newby
Originally from the Middle East and north central Asia, the pear tree grows in the wild throughout the temperate areas of Europe and western Asia. Its fruit is then so small and sharp that it is better to turn it into a fermented cider-type drink. In the 4th century, St Jerome mentions perry by name (Piracium, Poiré in French) and seems to be the first writer to have coined this word in Latin.
Pear trees have probably been grown in Normandy even longer than apple trees. Beverages made from pears have long been widespread in the Normandy Bocage (or hedgerow country) and particularly in the Passais area (today the Domfreont area or Domfrontais) and the Mortainais (around Mortain), two traditional perry producing areas.
On the edge of the Massif Armoricain, the Domfrontais has deep soil and an oceanic climate in which pear trees thrive.
To this day, a feature of the area is an orchard of standard pear trees like none other in Europe. These trees are present all over the countryside, planted around farms in meadows grazed by dairy cows. You have to wait nearly ten years before picking the first pears and almost half a century to reach peak production. The tree is exceptionally long-lived. It is not unusual to find pear trees over 300 years old!
This outstanding heritage extends right across the western part of the Parc Naturel Régional Normandy-Maine nature reserve and has justified its active support to foster conservation and development of the traditional varieties through plantation programmes.
On December 12, 2001, the Commission Nationale des Appellations d'Origine confirmed the birth of a new Appellation in the world of cider-related products: Poiré Domfront AOC.
On December 24, 2002, a decree was published in the Official Journal rewarding the Domfront perry producers' syndicate for 10 years of research and conviction with the backing of the Parc Normandie-Maine for improving quality, marketing and promoting this product.
The agricultural framework law of January 2006 led to a review of the specifications of the AOC Poiré Domfront approved by Decree on 29 October 2009.
The area covered by POIRÉ DOMFRONT AOC extends across forty Communes where three departments meet: south-west Orne, southern Manche and northern Mayenne.
Since March 2006, the AOC is protected at European level within regulation n° 510/2006.The Protected Designation of Origin (AOP) is the transposition at European level of the French AOC for dairy and food industry products (apart from the wine sector).
As of 1st May 2010, regulation n°628/2008 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs, mentions the obligation to mark the AOP logo on the labels for protected designation of origin products, such as Poiré Domfront.