New To Calvados? No Problem!

It's French apple brandy, and it is absolutely delicious!
Apr 19, 2016
  • 10
    For his entry-level calvados, Drouin chooses apples and pears from the Domfront region, and single-column distillation (as opposed to the double-distillation in a pot still used for his other spirits) to create a lighter, earlier-maturing spirit. This young calvados is intended as an aperitif or to be used in cocktails.
  • 9
    The Château du Breuil was built in the 16th and 17th centuries in what is now Lower Normandy. The distillery itself, however, wasn't built until 1954. This Fine Calvados is aged minimally for 2 years in oak barrels.
  • 8
    This Calvados from the Pays d'Auge is produced in Le Breuil-en-Auge, in Lower Normandy. As is required of this region, the Calvados is double-distilled in copper pot stills. It is aged in French oak at the Château for at least 8 years.
  • 7
    This is the 4 year old VSOP from Calvados mainstay Pere Magloire. Here the fruit is all from the grand cru Pays d'Auge and distilled twice on column stills before a slumber in oak. The Magloire name has long been associated with the region, and can boast being the most successful brand in 1900.
  • 6
    This family estate grows their apples for distillation; in the case of this bottling, 80% bittersweet apples and 20% acidic apples were used. Six months after fermentation the cider is double-distilled and aged for a minimum of years, 25% of which were aged in new oak.
  • 5
    Manoir de Montreuil is a collaboration between legendary importer Charles Neal and veteran calvados producer Patrice Giard. The project uses apples from Giard's beautiful, cow-filled orchards in the Pays d'Auge which are distilled twice using a traditional Alembic still. Older varieties of apples are favored because of their complexity despite the fact that they don't produce as much juice -- it's truly a labor of love. The Montreuil label represents a more fruit-forward style than Giard's classic line. Charles blends a spirit with bright orchard tones that sit very nicely in a cocktail, but the calvados has enough finesse to enjoy on its own.
  • 4
    This Calvados is made from 80% bittersweet apples and 20% acidic apples that are harvested between September and November. The Vielle Reserve is doubled-distilled 6 months after fermentation and is aged for a minimum of 4 years in toasted 88-gallon barrels, 25% of which are new.
  • 3
    The Lemorton estate is located in Calvados' Domfrontais in the southern part of the region. As opposed to the neighboring orchards to the north, the pear tree plays a significant role here in the brandies and ciders. In particular, the Lemortons tend trees that are 70-80% pear creating a spirit with a distinctive white flower character and tons of juicy orchard fruit. Like most farmer estates in Normandy, the focus is actually cattle and providing milk for the area's legendary cheeses. This is their "entry-level" bottling, but don't let that fool you -- Lemorton's Reserve is a great representation of the Domfrontais and a fascinating contrast to Calvados made only of apples.
  • 2
    This is the calling card of the fantastic Camut estate located in the Calvados "Grand Cru" Pays d'Auge. Here, a complex system of two pot stills creates a very fine distillate that will be aged for almost two decades in the Norman countryside. The secret of Camut's incredible lush and rich spirits is that only 2/3-3/4 of the barrel is filled leaving lots of room for oxygen to interact with the aging brandy. The interchange causes the alcohol to evaporate and concentrates the natural apple flavor making for brandies with incredible texture, length, and richness.
  • 1
    The Camut estate grows a staggering 800 types of apples on their bucolic property in the heart of the Pays d'Auge region of Calvados. This, and the maturation in large semi-full oak barrels, creates a spirit with surprising complexity and softness for a relatively young brandy. The Pays D'Auge AOC requires double distillation in copper pot stills, but the Camuts go a step further by using wood fire to power the still the old fashioned way.