Nice job tackling a difficult topic last week on phenolic bitterness from Hamilton Weaver, Darla Hoffmann, Jeremy Eubanks, Daniel Veit and Sean Dowling.
This week: Calvados producers
Name 3 and state why you like them!
Lemorton — pear heavy, a long history in the Domfrontais, a southern appellation of Calvados that requires at least 30% of the distilled cider to be made from pears.
Dupont — from the Pays d’Auge, making Calvados aged in oak barrels for periods ranging from 2 to 40 years.
Toutain — five generations of producers, the Hors d’Age is aged 15 years and well balanced with a round mouthfeel and long finish. Also makes a Vieille Reserve (30 years) and Tres Vieille Reserve (45 years).
Adrien Camut producing Pays d'Auge AOC - The first Calvados I fell in love with, all estate grown apples.
Massenez producing Calvados AOC - I mean the apple in the bottle just brings me back to my childhood and reminds me of the model ships in bottles. The wonder and amazement of how do they do THAT. call me a sucker.
Second on the Lemorton - Domfrontais AOC- The high percentage of pear does produce, in my opinion a more elegant eau-de-vie which indeed, is quite noticeable. I enjoy the fact they age for many years and hold back to release vintage sku's.
Chateau de Breuil 15 Year Old Pays D'Auge- Because I happened to have a glass with dinner tonight- and then read this. Really dry, actually sort of tannic, with beautiful aromas of baked apple, vanilla, hint of pear. Very rich and an easy transition for me from bourbon. Opened up beautifully as it watered down with one big ice cube and showed much more complexity, cinammon, spice, even a bit floral, apple blossom.
I don't know a lot about Calvados beyond the basics but now I love this brand and just read that they own 22,000 apple trees that surround their castle, where the Calvados is made. So I'm drinking brandy from a castle.
They do mention that this is usually made with around 80% fallen apples (higher sugar content) and ~12% pears. Chateau de Breuil makes their own cider (a lot of houses buy cider) and controls every step of the production process.
I had the pleasure of visiting Normandy this past October. Loved the spiced apples and carmel notes of Pierre Huet from the Pays d'Auge, and of course a few of the larger houses like Christian Drouhin with it's apple butter characteristics and Roger Groult's 8 year with it's cinnamon and vanilla spice and round rich mouthfeel. Both very consisitent in their eloquent sipper styles. My favorite flavor profiles are a combination of oak spices and butterscotch notes with hint of the alcohol on the finish.
Calvados Boulard in the Pays d'Auge, founded in 1825 by Pierre-Auguste Boulard. Producing top awards wining cuvees: Extra, Auguste, XO, VSOP, and Grand Solage Boulard.
Peirre Huet and Christian Drouhin are the only ones I have great experience with. All of the others I've had have been tasted at big events, but that's a terrible place to find favorites. The Drouhin isn't super complex, but is consistent, well priced, and versitile, making it a great cocktail goto for me.