Eric Bordelet's Poire Granit Cider

A Champagne-lover's cider

Ask most sommeliers about cider and they'll likely turn up their expertly trained noses. But not wine legend Eric Bordelet.

After several years as the director of the wine program at l'Arpège, the famed three-star restaurant in Paris, Bordelet traded his white gloves for work gloves and returned to his native Normandy to manage his family's orchards. Now he applies his peerless palate to crafting pear and apple ciders that bear little resemblance to other hypersweet expressions of the stuff.

The Poiré Granit, Bordelet's reserve bottling, is produced from a plot of 300-year-old pear trees that have never been chemically treated. This approach imparts to the pear all the attributes of an "old vines" Champagne, which ultimately creates a vintage cider with the richness and complexity that only age can bring.

The cider's surprisingly fine bubbles allow the sheer quality of Bordelet's fruit to take center stage: Intensely concentrated raw pear juice meets with just a touch of residual sugar, balanced by a crisp mineral streak typically found only in top sparkling wines.

And now that there's a light chill in the air, the Poiré Granit is a perfect complement to other "bests" of the season: squash, poultry and pie.