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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.
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.
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
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%.