Calvados Claque-Pepin

Vital, grandfather of the current owner Benoit Louvet

History:

The name Claque-Pepin comes from a type of apple variety, which when ripe, rattles when shaken. The name translates to the seeds (pepin) which rattle (claque). The property is located in the Normandie region, nestled between the Domfrontais and the Pay d'Auge, in the 17th century farm next to the ancient chateau of Serans, formerly the family estate of the Louvet family. 

  

Claque-Pepin officially began in 2005. However, current owner Benoit Louvet has been immersed in the world of distilling and ageing for many years. He began his "apprenticeship" fairly young with his grandfather Vital. After working for a few other Calvados producers as cellar master, he decided to start his own artisanal production and perpetuate the art of making calvados and cider, while respecting the Normand tradition and the environment.

 

Entrance drive to Claque-Pepin

Knowledge:

Calvados is made from cider. Those farmers who are licensed to “boil,” travel from farm to farm with their vintage stills (alambics), distilling the cider into calvados.

 

Operation of the Alambic:

 The cider enters the still through the heat exchanger in the upper region and descends tray by tray. The heat transforms the most volatile elements in the cider (water and esters) into vapor. This vapor then travels in the opposite direction, where it is concentrated with the alcohols, esters, and flavors. This is then concentrated in the smallest column from which the eau de vie emerges at 72%. 

Benoit Louvet in the Claque-Pepin Calvados cellars

 

Appellation:

The property and orchards are ideally situated in the Calvados AOC, just in between Pays d’Auge and the Domfrontais, producing cider and Calvados with the round and refined flavors of Calvados of the Pays d’Auge and the spicier notes typical of Calvados of the Domfrontais.

 

Benoit Louvet grows apples and pears but also buys from a few growers around, especially in the Domfrontais, an area he loves. After he makes his cider, an itinerant distiller comes to the farm to distill Benoit’s ciders to his specifications.

 

The young calvados are redolent with apple and pear, maintaining the subtle aromas of the fruits. The older calvados reveal flavors of orange blossom and candied fruit, as well as hints of balsamic spice, wood, cigar box, and chocolate. 

Tasting Notes

Calvados Fine

A young calvados with a golden hue, a pronounced aroma of apples, and a soft mouth feel. This quality is a blend of apples and pears which come mostly from the Domfrontais area.

 

Ideal as an aperitif, mixed in cocktails, or for cooking.

 

Available in both 375mL and 750mL.

 

REVIEWS

92 points. "Bright, fresh aromas suggest apple and apricot. The soft, spiced palate shows stone fruit and coconut drizzled with honey, finishing with a baking spice exhale." (Wine Enthusiast 2021)

Calvados Hors d'Age

Claque-Pepin Calvados Hors d’Age is crafted from a blend of old calvados. Aromas of flowers on the nose with flavors of fruit, pear, and vanilla and a slight hint of oak on the palate with a long finish. 

 

REVIEWS 

94 points. "Concentrated vanilla and spice mingle with a violet hint on nose and palate. The finish is long, warming and tinged with allspice and cocoa." (Wine Enthusiast 2021)

 

Finalist. Great Value. 93 points. Excellent / Highly Recommended

"Earth and fruit elements on the nose call to mind an apple orchard after a light rain. The flavors follow suit with a muskiness that blends with fresh apples. Gentle spice comes through with cinnamon and notes of zesty lemon peel." 

(Ultimate Spirits Challenge, 2017)

Calvados Organic Vieille Reserve

The first certified organic calvados available in the U.S. Average 6 years old.

 

A pale yellow amber with a floral, fruity nose with aromas of iris and nuts. Herbaceous and vegetal on the palate. 

 

REVIEWS

97 points "Hitting all the right notes, this shows fresh apple and vanilla aromas that lead into a rich ­butterscotch and honey palate. The feather-light finish shows salted caramel, roasted nuts and a flurry of cinnamon and clove." (Wine Enthusiast, 2021)

 

92 points. Excellent. Highly Recommended.

"Deep aromas of poached pear, apples and cinnamon. Clean and pure flavors of peach, brown sugar, caramel, and baked pineapple all intermingle on the smooth and full texture creating an overall indulgent effect." (Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2018)

Claque-Pepin’s 10 Year Old Organic Calvados

Our newest organic calvados is deeper, rounder and longer than the delicious Vielle Reserve, delicately balancing oaky notes of apple, and pear.

 

REVIEWS

95 points. "Caramel and spice aromas plus a floral hint lead the way. The palate shows toffee-drizzled baked pear and hints of cocoa and hazelnut, lightened by a violet exhale. Cinnamon warms the long finish." (Wine Enthusiast 2021) 

 

Gold medal 

(Brandy Consumer Choice Awards 2021) 

 

93 points, Finalist. Excellent, Highly Recommended 

(Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2020)

Calvados 20 Ans

Red mahogany color, nose of dried fruits, cigar box and hint of orange peel. The palate is very much like the 20 yrs old with a stronger intensity of the wood and an added note of caramelized apple and a touch of smoke. It has a very refined finish, really round and silky, where the fruits (apple and pears) manage to still be lively. It’s amazing to see them come thru so well after 30 year!

 

REVIEWS

93 points. "A mix of toffee, cigar wrapper and leather aromas entice on the nose. The palate is drying up front, echoing leather and spice. The midpalate is enlivened by tart lemon peel, plum skin and dried cherry. Hints of vanilla, toffee and clove entwine on the mouthwatering exit." (Wine Enthusiast 2021)

Calvados 30 Ans

Dark gold color with hints of amber. Pear forward nose balanced with aromas of wood, tobacco, spice, cinnamon, and candied fruit on the nose. The palate is redolent of port, walnuts, and  wood and presents a remarkable smoothness. This high-quality calvados is made from fruit from the designated calvados area. 

 

Sweet and balanced, best enjoyed as an after-dinner drink.

Calvados 40 Ans

Shiny copper color, toasty baked apple nose with resiny walnut notes. The palate is sweet initially, then dries up, revealing flavors of cinnamon, unsweetened cocoa, and then sweetens again with notes of quince paste and caramelized apple pie (tart Tatin). Toasty long finish, where all the flavors of the palate remain in unison long after the last sip.

 

REVIEWS

94 points "Celebrate a special 40th birthday or anniversary with this bottle. Leather and baking spice aromas lead into a light palate that opens with toffee then evolves into lemon peel, cigar wrapper, chamomile tea and walnut. It exits with a long cocoa powder fade." (Wine Enthusiast 2021)