Why you should be excited
Frequin Rouge is a traditional French cider variety from Normandy that contributes to high-quality ciders.
The story of Frequin Rouge
If French cider apples were as well known in North America as English ones are, I expect we'd see more of Frequin Rouge in the cider orchards popping up all over the continent.
That's because this old variety, which originated in Brittany and is widely planted in Normandy, has much to add to a cider blend, including colour (it oxidizes like crazy after pressing), an appealing fragrance and good flavour.
Yes, Frequin Rouge suffers from scab and, like many cider varieties, tends to be biennial, providing much larger crops in alternating years. But those issues are common among cider apples and the benefits of Frequin Rouge outweigh them by far.
We say "Vive la France!" and "Vive la Frequin Rouge!"
Frequin Rouge Facts
Discovered in Brittany, France, 19th century.
Flavour, aroma, texture
Makes a deeply-coloured bittersweet juice of good quality for cider.
An attractive, tall apple covered with red blush and stripes.
When they’re available
Mid-late season (usually in early October).
Quality for fresh eating
No, thank you. This variety is for cider only.
Quality for cooking
Ditto. Press and ferment.
Quality for cider
Very good. Contributes decent levels of sugar and tannin, two of the key elements of really great cider.
So-so (let them sit no more than a few weeks before pressing).