As local produce, the various Pommeau AOCs draw their characteristics from the soil, the climate, the choice of cider apple varieties, the care lavished on tending the plantation, and from mutage and ageing.
The cider apples used for making Pommeau come from selected and identified orchards. Each year, the list of identified orchards is approved by the Central Committee for Wines and Brandies of the INAO (Institut National des Appellations d'Origine) based on the opinion of a commission of experts.
Identification of an orchard takes into account its geographical situation, its soil type, the varieties making it up (70% bitter or bitter-sweet apples), limited yield and rigorous maintenance.
Pommeau de Normandie
Pommeau de Normandie is made by mutage of the pomace with Calvados (apple brandy).
It is made with utmost care starting from cider apples gathered in selected orchards located in the "Calvados" appellation contrôlée area, which takes in the départements of the Calvados, Manche and Orne and also the borderlands of the Eure, Seine-Maritime and Mayenne.
Shallow argilo-calcareous soil in the Pays d'Auge, shale in the Pré-Bocage (area between Caen, Bayeux, St-Lô and Vire) and granite in the Domfront area, enable the apple trees to give of their best.
Just thirty or so varieties of cider apples, belonging to the categories bitter, bittersweet, sweet and sharp, are used to ensure that AOC Normandy cider has an incomparable aromatic bouquet. Their names are Domaines, Mettais, Bedan, Noël des Champs, Saint-Martin, Marin Onfroy, Rambault..., varieties selected for their qualities and subjected to the strict rules of the AOC system, to guarantee the distinctive taste of Pommeau de Normandie.
Pommeau de Bretagne
Produced in identical conditions to its Norman cousin, Brittany's Pommeau de Bretagne is a blend of the juice of apples produced in the "Cornouaille" appellation contrôlée area (identified orchards in the Finistère département) and in a list of communes in the other three Breton départements, with apple brandy from Brittany. The mild climate and nature's provision of granite and shaly soils bring out the tannic character of the main varieties, whose names point to the acknowledged value of tradition and the soil: Kermerrien, Kroc'hen Ki, Prad Yeod, Guillevic...
Pommeau du Maine
Pommeau du Maine is obtained from cider brandy carrying the appellation d'origine "Eau-de-vie de cidre du Maine" label combined with cider apple musts. The whole set
of operations leading to the Pommeau du Maine end product takes place within the identified geographical area, lying mostly in the southern Mayenne department, and on the northern edge of the Maine-et-Loire.
Located on the higher ground of Brittany, the Massif Armoricain, the appellation area enjoys a low altitude, a mild, sunny climate and light rainfall evenly spread across the plant growth cycle. All these factors help the cider apple tree to grow and produce fruit that is rich in sugar.