Calvados

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Daniel Mattisson
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Calvados

#1 Post by Daniel Mattisson » October 17th, 2014, 10:21 am

I'm looking to buy some Calvados, possibly some "higher end" stuff. Any recommendations on what to buy and if there are any US stores that have a decent selection? Looking for something in the $100 range. Stylistically not sure what I like at this point, only that I prefer Calvados to brandy and have really enjoyed the 3-4 bottlings I've tried (mostly standard stuff).

Thanks in advance.

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#2 Post by jrozes » October 17th, 2014, 1:30 pm

Not sure where you're located, but our local Total Wine has a fair selection (11 at the moment) and they have stores scattered around the country. Unfortunately, mine's in WA state where they passed a 20% tax on all hard liquor sales, so it's cheaper for me to just have stuff shipped from elsewhere.
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#3 Post by Scott Sutherland » October 17th, 2014, 1:55 pm

I have a bottle of the Adrien Camut 12 year old Calvados which I think is terrific. It's around $100 a bottle.

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#4 Post by Daniel Mattisson » October 17th, 2014, 5:53 pm

Thanks. I was considering the Camut 18 @ 150, good to hear that the 12 is worth it. Does anyone have an understanding of the difference between a "vintage" Calvados vs. one with the years aged specified? Ie. does Calvados age in bottle at all, or is the only thing that matters age in cask? I've seen some bottlings from the 60's and 70's, but without mention of the bottling date.

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#5 Post by Todd Hamina » October 17th, 2014, 9:18 pm

why not just burn $500 and call it education. these will hold once opened for a long time. get some fun stuff.
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#6 Post by Tran Bronstein » October 18th, 2014, 6:31 am

Calvados is produced the same way as Armagnac and Cognac so think of it the same way. If it has an age statement, it is actually a blend of several different component eau de vies whose average age comes out to be the age statement on the bottle. Some are older than the age stated and some are younger.

On the other hand, if it is a vintage from a specific year then all the components must be from the specific year stated. In either case, the master distiller/blender decides what the final blend and how many components make it up will be. It will only be a single cask spirit if specifically stated on the bottle.

Many spirits and even some wines use a similar production process.Think of whisky, rum and Tawny vs Colheita Port. Which is better is purely a matter of your own preference. My personal thought based on sampling is that age statement spirits tend to be richer, sweeter and more complex whereas the vintage ones tend to be lighter, drier, refined and possess way more finesse.

I always summarize the difference between the two this way: age statement spirits are the entire band playing with the bass turned way up. Vintage spirits are the lead singer in the spotlight doing a solo with the bass turned down and the treble turned up to highlight their voice.
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#7 Post by Doug Schulman » October 24th, 2014, 6:27 pm

Great information, Tran.

It's worth mentioning that Calvados is brandy, but I understand what you're saying, Daniel. Calvados tastes a lot different from, say, Cognac, although when they're old there are also a lot of similarities to me.

I am very impressed by Morin 25 Year, but I haven't had any of the older stuff from Camut, so I can't compare.
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#8 Post by Craig G » February 27th, 2016, 11:09 am

I'd like recommendations for a Calvados that can do double duty on its own and in cocktails. My daughter likes a cocktail I made for her with muddled apple, Calvados, honey and lemon (and I found that it's great with Fee Bros. Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters).

We're slow drinkers so I'm okay with something up to $60 or so. One I was looking at is LeMorton Reserve Calvados Domfrontais at K&L.
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#9 Post by Travis Fantz » February 27th, 2016, 2:56 pm

My current Calvados is Chateau du Breuil, 15 year. I don't drink a lot if it, but had to buy it after having it at a restaurant. I'm sure it is a lot cheaper outside of Oregon.
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#10 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » February 29th, 2016, 12:43 pm

Craig G wrote: One I was looking at is LeMorton Reserve Calvados Domfrontais at K&L.
The Calvados from the Domfrontais can be very different: They must have a percentage of brandy (all calavados is brandy) from cider pears. These are pears, like cider apples, which are too tart and tannic to eat for pleasure, but which make excellent pear cider in that part of the Calvados region. In recent years Domfrontais was given its own Calvados AOC. I really like the stuff, particularly from a producer I've visited called "Pacory", whose pear cider is imported into the US http://www.skurnik.com/?s=pacory, but whose Calvados is hard to fine, maybe impossible.

RE: aged Calvados: at some age point, I find that the fruit disappears and the brandy become more or less anonymous from the wood and alcohol. I think the best Domfrontais and other Calvados is from 16-20 years old. Age is not always better, to me. And, the brandy, will not continue to age in the bottle, as the effect of aging is largely from exposure to oxygen and concentration from evaporation.

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#11 Post by William Segui » February 29th, 2016, 1:48 pm

I've been dying to try this. I know Steve and his palate is excellent

http://recenteats.blogspot.com/2015/11/ ... vados.html

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#12 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » February 29th, 2016, 2:08 pm

I was trying to see what I could find about Bordelet's calvados..pears/apples....why it costs $230 a bottle for 18 year old calvados....as I like Bordelet's ciders, when well priced.

http://pmspirits.com/press/eric-bordelet-calvados/

apparently Bordelet didn't even make it...just bottled it from a neighbor's production. So....fruit not grown by Bordelet; brandy not made by him. Seems like a pretty big premium to have his name on label. Just my view.

Thanks for the heads up, though. It was interesting to read about.

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#13 Post by Arthur Gamon » August 6th, 2017, 6:19 pm

Just dug this thread up. In 1984, my wife and I ate at a hotel at Gold Beach in France, and had a memorial calvados for the WWII landing. GREAT!! But sold out. An Hor d'age. Just wondering if there are any US versions of calvados that are as good as the French versions for a decent price--under $100?
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#14 Post by Sean Devaney » August 7th, 2017, 8:44 am

Arthur Gamon wrote:Just dug this thread up. In 1984, my wife and I ate at a hotel at Gold Beach in France, and had a memorial calvados for the WWII landing. GREAT!! But sold out. An Hor d'age. Just wondering if there are any US versions of calvados that are as good as the French versions for a decent price--under $100?
I will qualify this recommendation with the fact I don't drink much calvados/brandy but one of the best apple brandies I have had is Osocalis Apple Brandy.
Our Apple Brandy is produced from over a dozen varieties of apples all grown in the cool coastal mountains of Northern California. We use everything from the local produced Hauer to a large component of crabapples. Indeed, we began distilling here in Soquel to take advantage of the long apple growing tradition on the Pajaro Valley. While our base cider is more reminiscent of of the ciders from the Basque coast, we use the traditional French distillation and aging techniques of Calvados. Apple is a difficult spirit to tame: it starts life with a fire and vengeance and must be coaxed and cajoled over many years to yield its pomey essence. Indeed, it takes almost a decade in barrel to soften and supple and come forth the apple character so loved on the French Atlantic coast. Our apple brandy has taught us patience, but after 15 years of waiting, we finally released our first bottling in 2010.
I don't know the cost but their website is here http://www.osocalis.com/

The brandies are very nice too. You might have to source them from Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard http://www.santacruzmountainvineyard.com/brandy.html

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#15 Post by Arthur Gamon » August 11th, 2017, 1:38 pm

Sean, thanks for the response. We will go to Sacto in this next month, and plan to stop at a couple of spirits stores that might have apple brandies. Want to try the Osocalis, Clear Creek and Lairds Straight apple brandy.
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#16 Post by Bob Kot » June 18th, 2018, 4:41 am

Try – “ Busnel, Calvados 12 Yr. ''Hors D'Age' “, approximately $70-$80.

This apple brandy is comprised of a minimum of 40 varieties of apples selected from Normandy, the heart of Calvados country. The apples are pressed into cider and then fermented using natural yeasts. Only the finest ciders are selected for double distillation, and then aged 12 years in oak casks for complexity and smoothness. It is a great after-dinner drink that can be traditionally enjoyed straight up, or mixed in coffee.

Very impressive at this price point.

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#17 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » June 20th, 2018, 8:48 am

Have you had it....and, if so, how would you describe it?

All these things in the description..which sounds from the producer or seller?? ...are interesting, but...for me the key to any calvados....is the character of what's in the bottle. At some point, to my taste, it loses too much of the apple character..and becomes a bit anonymous...I avoid brandies like that if I can.

So, i'm curious re: what you know of this one.

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#18 Post by Doug Schulman » June 20th, 2018, 11:40 am

I've recently discovered the apple brandies from Germain-Robin. I think their XO is significantly better than anything I've had from Calvados (I'm no expert on Calvados, though). It has great complexity and maturity of age combined with almost unbelievable freshness of fruit. Average age is 17 years, from what I have read. There's some weird stuff going on with the pricing since Gallo purchased Germain-Robin. I don't know what that means for the future of this product, but I bought a few bottles just in case.
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#19 Post by Bob Kot » June 20th, 2018, 12:57 pm

Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow wrote:Have you had it....and, if so, how would you describe it?

All these things in the description..which sounds from the producer or seller?? ...are interesting, but...for me the key to any calvados....is the character of what's in the bottle. At some point, to my taste, it loses too much of the apple character..and becomes a bit anonymous...I avoid brandies like that if I can.

So, i'm curious re: what you know of this one.
===============

Yes, I've had it. Been drinking this one for years.
The description is from the producer and is necessary to give context.
I would agree that it's "character" for any of these spirits is at the core of the taste profile, and that can be subjective and complex at times.
In general I would say it's elegant, subtle, with a good entry on the palate and, a moderate balanced finish.

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#20 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » June 21st, 2018, 9:13 am

To me, the most important aspect of a Calvados is the apple/pear fruit left in the brandy...albeit subtly so.

I particularly like the Domfrontais ones....as the apple-bear blend is intoxicating aromatically in aged Calva from that AOC.

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#21 Post by Brent C l a y t o n » June 21st, 2018, 10:16 am

Not a big Busnel fan. My preferences tend toward Dupont (which is a brand I now represent but I have liked it for decades) and Christian Droin.
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#22 Post by Rob_S » June 21st, 2018, 11:01 am

I have a couple of bottles of single year Drouin calvados and they are superb. Prices seem to have gone a bit nuts but the 1977 I have is really really good.
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#23 Post by Terry H a r r i s » July 15th, 2018, 3:34 pm

I've never tried/had any calvados. But, whenever I hear the word I think of this catchy Golden Earring tune:

[youtube]GxChMx4oliw[/youtube]

To be fair, it sounds as if all couldn't be blamed on the drink . . . . [wow.gif] [cheers.gif]
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