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Introduction to Calvados

Map showing Calvados, Armagnac, and Cognac-producing regions, France

Location:

Calvados is produced in Normandy, on the Channel Northwest of Paris.

 

Appellation and soil:

There are three official areas of of Appellation: Calvados Pays d'Auge, Calvados, and Calvados Domfrontais.

The soil in the Pays d'Auge is clayish, while elsewhere it comprises of more granite soils. 

 

Distillation:

Calvados is double distilled in a Charentais still for the Pays d'Auge appellation. For all the other appellations, single distillation is a column still is mandated.

Apples for producing calvados

Ageing:

Mostly Limousin oak is used, however some producers experiment with other woods such as sherry casks. 

 

Legal ageing in wood is as follows:

VS, XXX: 2 years minimum

Vieux, Reserve: 3 years minimum

VO, VSOP: 4 years minimum

Extra, XO, Hors d'Age, Napoleon, Age Inconnu: 6 years minimum

 

Brief Process:

The apples are pressed and the juice is left to ferment in stainless steel tanks, becoming cider. After 6 weeks minimum – some producers age their cider quite longer – the cider is distilled. The spirit is then put into wood for ageing and will later on be blended and reduced to about 40%. 


Video about the Calvados region (French)