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WHAT IS CALVADOS?

Calvados is an apple brandy made from distilling cider into a spirit, known as eau-de-vie, and aged at least 2 years in oak barrels. Hailing from the Normandy region, known for its mild climate, high rainfall, and abundance of apple orchards, Calvados has been produced locally for at least 5 centuries.  What began as a local tradition from apple farmers and cideries became increasingly popular over the years and evolved into the precisely distilled spirit we know today, available in three distinct PDOs. 

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Calvados 

Aged for at least 2 years in oak barrels, Calvados PDO spirits must contain 35% of fruit from high-stem orchards (the traditional method of cultivating apple trees) and are usually distilled in columns (continuous distillation). It can be produced throughout Normandy.

Calvados Pays d'Auge

Produced in the eastern part of the Calvados administrative department and in a few parts of the Orne and Eure administrative departments, this designation requires  45% of the fruit from high stem orchards, and can also include up to 30% of perry pears. Pot stills are required for distilling.

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Calvados Domfrontais

Produced in the South of Normandy, extending to the Manche, Orne and Mayenne departments, this PDO distinguishes itself by the high proportion of perry pears grown here. In fact, the proportion of pear trees planted must be at least 25% of the total area, and the ciders used for distilling must contain at least 30% perry pears. Domfrontais is distilled in a column still and aged 3 years in oak barrels.

Aging Calvados

Calvados can either be eau-de-vie all distilled in the same year (vintage Calvados) , or a combination of eaux-de-vie from several different years. Once bottled, Calvados no longer ages. There are several aging categories available: 

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Very Special (VS)

Aged for 2 years

Reserve

Old

 

Aged for at least 3 years

Very Old (VO)

Very Superior Old Pale (VSOP)

Can also be called "Veille Reserve"

Aged for at least 4 years

Extra Old (XO)

Hors d'Age

Très Vieux

Can also be called "Très Veille Reserve" or "Extra"

Aged for at least 6 years

For more information, consult the Calvados appellation site.

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