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Calvados

The Calvados region is located in Basse-Normandie (Lowe Normandy), where apple cider was brewed perhaps as early as the 8th century and, today, Calvados is one of France’s best loved brandies, though unlike the grape brandies Cognac and Armagnac, Calvados is distilled from cider.

Whilst the popularity of French apple brandy grew, taxation and prohibition more or less contained it within the Calvados area, and after the French Revolution when the area was properly identified, the term Calvados was already in common usage when referring to apple brandy. The phylloxera outbreak during the 19th century ruined so many vineyards that Calvados experienced a boom of popularity – it being unaffected by the pest.

Calvados is a very popular digestif, and in France it is enjoyed as part of a “café-calva” – a hot coffee served with a glass of Calvados.

Calvados is distilled from a number of different apple varieties (over 200 are legally permitted), and it is not uncommon for there to be over 100 different varieties used to make a single Calvados. A combination of sweet, tart and inedible bitter apples are used to attain the right balance of flavour.

The apples are usually picked by hand, and are pressed and fermented to make cider. This is then distilled; either twice in a traditional Alembic, or singly in a continuous column still. The former still produces complex, well-ageing Calvados and the latter accounts for fresh, tangy, approachable Calvados.

The spirit is aged for a minimum of two years in oak casks, though it is not unusual for it to be aged for substantially longer – often decades.

Did you know?... ...Calvados is often enjoyed as part of “le trou Normand”, in which a small glass of Calvados is taken between courses in a meal, often with sorbet, as a palate cleanser.

Calvados

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Domaine Dupont 1997
(70cl, 42%)
Made by Domaine Dupont in the heart of the Pays d'Auge region of Calvados, this is a lovely 1997 vintage, made with a mix of 30% sweet apples, 30% bitter and 40% acidic. Perfectly rounded.  More info
$82.01
From the heart of the Calvados region, Berneroy aged this VSOP in Limousin oak for around 8 years. It has a great flavour and they recommend it with the cheeseboard, chocolate, or even as an...  More info
$50.70
Aged for between 15 and 18 years, this is a wonderfully aromatic Calvados from Adrien Camut.  More info
$153.47
Berneroy Fine is a beautiful Calvados with notes of fresh apples and buttery vanilla.  More info
$35.96
This delectable VSOP Calvados was created by the Etienne family in the heart of the Calvados region. Domaine Dupont VSOP is juicy, crisp and fruity.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$66.25
An XO Calvados from Berneroy - situated in the heart of the region. This is Berneroy's premium expression, a blend that features Calvados which has been well aged in oak casks. It is brilliantly...  More info
$58.40
This Calvados from Château du Breuil is aged for 2 years before bottling, this was awarded a silver and "best in class" at the 2008 International Wine and Spirit Competition and a Bronze at the 2009...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$41.20
Réserve du Château is an 8 year old Calvados from Château du Breuil, carefully matured for a wonderful aroma of walnut, almond and vanilla. Awarded a silver and a "best in class" at the International...  More info
$70.34
Distilled at Domaine Dupont in 1977, this calvados is bottled at cask strength to maximise its complexity and concentration. It is distilled from 80% bittersweet apples, and 20% tart apples, which are...  More info
$250.45
1989 Vintage Calvados from top producer Domaine Dupont, aged in 400 litre casks from the Loire valley. Dupont use a selection of apples, 30% sweet, 40% highly acidic and 30% bitter. The result is a...  More info
1989 vintage from Domaine Dupont, aged in 400 litre casks from the Loire valley. Dupont use a selection of apples, 30% sweet, 40% highly acidic and 30% bitter. The result is a wonderfully balanced...  More info
This calvados is distilled in a still using the continuous distillation process and is matured in small oak barrels. Vieux is based on a blend of different apples.  More info
$43.64
Fine Coquerel is distilled using the continuous distillation process, and matured in small oak barrels. It's an apply calvados blended from spirit aged two years minimum.  More info
$31.50
A deliciously soft, rich and fruity Calvados made with spirit aged for between eight and fifteen years in oak. For the first part of its maturation, Calvados Coquerel is rested in new oak barrels...  More info
$45.39
Château du Breuil VSOP is distilled from fruit from the 42 hectares of hillside orchards before maturation in Troncais or Limousin oak. Soft and rounded.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.0/5)
$45.45
A 1994 vintage Château du Breuil, distilled from apples grown on the company's 22,000 apple trees in Normandy.  More info
$102.49
Produced in the heart of the Calvados region, this is a fine, aromatic spirit, with notes of butterscotch, apple and spice.  More info
$152.26
A half bottle of Domaine Dupont's 1997 Calvados. They make this with a mix of 30% sweet apples, 30% bitter, and 40% highly acidic apples. The result is a great deal of complexity and balance.  More info
$54.31
Rich and very tasty 25 year old Calvados from Lemorton, the top producer in the Domfrontais region.  More info
$197.11
Apples! Gorgeous fruits! No peeling, no mess, portable - they've got it all and more. They even make Calvados! This is a 1960s bottle of Calvados from Fermicalva, a neat piece of history from our...  More info
$232.75
The Roger Groult family distillery can be found in the hills of the Pays d'Auge, where they've been making their Calvados for 5 generations! Distilled twice in traditional direct-fired stills, this...  More info
$54.32
Daron XO Extra
(70cl, 40%)
Daron is made in the very heart of the Pays d'Auge in Calvados, and the company has been operated for five generations of the same family. Today, only the very first pressing of juice is used and the...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$67.80
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