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The French Spirits Forum- Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados

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Kpiz   
Kpiz
3 hours ago, HoustonNit said:

ae036df00ae146bef27618b6e2baafd1.jpg

 

Of the calvados you posted, Morise and Gerard Maeyaert are the two that seem to be have limited or no import into the US, so I'd go with one of those. Personally I'd go with the Morise Hors d'Age for 35 Euros. I wish I had my Calvados book with me so I could look up more info about them. Depending on how much effort you want to put into finding calvados from smaller producers, you could also try going to farmers markets, where it seems fairly common for cider and calvados producers to sample and sell their products. I stumbled upon one market while I was in Normandy that had one cider producer and one calvados producer, and I ended up buying a bottle of their vintage-stated calvados from 1998 for something like $20.

 

Also, look for the phrase "Production Fermiere" on calvados bottles. This essentially means that the apples used all came from one farm/orchard (I forget all the rules but that's the gist), so you know it's not a label owned by one of the larger blending houses (which are mostly available in the US). It's a bit like distinguishing a distiller that makes their own products from one that's an NDP...not completely analogous, but close enough.

 

Hope you're enjoying your trip!

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HoustonNit   
HoustonNit

Thanks Kpiz for the reply. Tomorrow we're heading to the coast, Somme Most likely. Unless I find something something more interesting on the way I'll go with you're recommendation for Calvados unless I see some more interesting. Also need to make a post in the cider thread, pickings have been somewhat limited as well. However I believe if I find anything promising it's a 30 minute commute vs. 3 hours to Calvados.

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HoustonNit   
HoustonNit

Hi Kpiz on my return to France my father-in-law had a nice surprise for me. He picked up some home made calvados from one of his neighbors.

 

I think very good and interesting stuff.

 

One bottle is white and unaged. The other was aged in the cider barrrel. I have no idea how to gauge Calvados age but would guess 4-5 years in the barrel.

 

The bottles where put in is old wine bottles. The stars indicate it was a deposit bottle which was discontinued in the early 70s. There's a stamp on the bottle of 58. My guess is this was bottled in the early 60's.

 

Both bottles haven't been watered down. My father in laws guess is around 120 proof off the still and low 100s for the aged bottle. My my uneducated guess is still proof was slightly lower and the aged loss maybe 10 proof.

 

Both smell great and are quite nice if not a small bit strong.

 

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BourbonDude   
BourbonDude

Congrats on the nice score. I like Calvados although it's never really caught on in the U.S. compared to Europe. 

Edited by BourbonDude

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Kpiz   
Kpiz
On 9/2/2017 at 2:14 AM, HoustonNit said:

Hi Kpiz on my return to France my father-in-law had a nice surprise for me. He picked up some home made calvados from one of his neighbors.

 

I think very good and interesting stuff.

 

One bottle is white and unaged. The other was aged in the cider barrrel. I have no idea how to gauge Calvados age but would guess 4-5 years in the barrel.

 

The bottles where put in is old wine bottles. The stars indicate it was a deposit bottle which was discontinued in the early 70s. There's a stamp on the bottle of 58. My guess is this was bottled in the early 60's.

 

Both bottles haven't been watered down. My father in laws guess is around 120 proof off the still and low 100s for the aged bottle. My my uneducated guess is still proof was slightly lower and the aged loss maybe 10 proof.

 

Both smell great and are quite nice if not a small bit strong.

 

Wowza! As you probably know, most calvados is cut down to 40% ABV (sometimes 41% or 42%) so being able to try uncut and unfiltered calvados is a very cool and unique experience. It makes it even better that it was purchased from a neighbor.

 

They tend to re-use those barrels many times so the amount of color on that one is pretty nice. I think they strategically use cider-charged barrels to lend some additional tannin and flavor to an older calvados cask. So if a cask isn't imparting much flavor anymore, they'll age cider in it for a while, then empty it and fill it with calvados (and repeat this process as many times as they can). I think they do this with pommeau as well.

 

I'm glad you had a great trip and were able to try some good cider and calvados. I hope you're doing ok out there in Houston - I saw your updates in another thread and it sounds like you're getting through it. Let us know if we can help in any way.

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Kpiz   
Kpiz
https://mobile.twitter.com/nasaliquor/status/904047479095795712
 
Saw this looks really interesting afraid to ask the price.
 
18yr old cask strength at 51% Calvados.


Your fear is justified - MSRP is $225 on that bottle. There's also a 2000 vintage that P&M Spirits imported and was going for $200. SKU reviewed them a while back and liked them both but I can't bring myself to buy one. I ended up finding a Tertre bottling (I can't recall the vintage right now, somewhere around 2000) in a French online store that I paid much less for and had shipped to my friend in London. I just recently acquired the bottle and haven't had time to dive into it yet but I probably should!

SKU's review (check out the comments as well): http://recenteats.blogspot.com/2016/09/domaine-du-tertre-calvados.html?m=1

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HoustonNit   
HoustonNit

Thanks for the info. Considering that you where able to get the 2000 for considerably less and it's been out there for a while maybe I'll get super duper lucky and it's under a $100. Anything over and I'll wait to next year in France.

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Kpiz   
Kpiz
12 hours ago, HoustonNit said:

Thanks for the info. Considering that you where able to get the 2000 for considerably less and it's been out there for a while maybe I'll get super duper lucky and it's under a $100. Anything over and I'll wait to next year in France.

 

Admittedly the bottle I got probably wasn't from one of the single barrels that P&M Spirits imported. It was still a vintage, cask-strength, additive-free product though and that was good enough for me!

 

But yes, hopefully you'll be able to scoop one up at a deep discount if a store is unable to move the product. A cheaper alternative would be this cask-strength domfrontais calvados K&L brought in: http://www.klwines.com/p/i?i=1259608. It's 108 proof and excellent. I know interstate shipping can be difficult, though.

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Kpiz   
Kpiz

Well it appears I have a 1999 vintage of the Tertre which is bottled at 48.7% ABV. I just had a small pour and it is very good, loaded with concentrated spice and baked apple, and fairly dry. I'll revisit it soon and take some better notes
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HoustonNit   
HoustonNit
 
Admittedly the bottle I got probably wasn't from one of the single barrels that P&M Spirits imported. It was still a vintage, cask-strength, additive-free product though and that was good enough for me!
 
But yes, hopefully you'll be able to scoop one up at a deep discount if a store is unable to move the product. A cheaper alternative would be this cask-strength domfrontais calvados K&L brought in: http://www.klwines.com/p/i?i=1259608. It's 108 proof and excellent. I know interstate shipping can be difficult, though.


Would absolutely pick this up if available. The high pear concentration would also be interesting.

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HoustonNit   
HoustonNit
Well it appears I have a 1999 vintage of the Tertre which is bottled at 48.7% ABV. I just had a small pour and it is very good, loaded with concentrated spice and baked apple, and fairly dry. I'll revisit it soon and take some better notes
ad414a671ea5825074dacdfc44b05287.jpg


Very cool NASA just put up another posting.

They also have the 98 and 2000. From what I recall from SKU think he preferred the 2000 assuming it's the same bottling.

17d081f6eb870450b4a3d748cd6e2f9e.jpg

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HoustonNit   
HoustonNit
 
Wowza! As you probably know, most calvados is cut down to 40% ABV (sometimes 41% or 42%) so being able to try uncut and unfiltered calvados is a very cool and unique experience. It makes it even better that it was purchased from a neighbor.
 
I'm glad you had a great trip and were able to try some good cider and calvados. I hope you're doing ok out there in Houston - I saw your updates in another thread and it sounds like you're getting through it. Let us know if we can help in any way.


Even better I believe the bottle was gifted by the neighbor. Might be using it as a way to try to pick up my wife's grandmother. I'm on the sidelines so no idea, just reaping the rewards.

I think next trip I will try to make a more concentrated effort to at least pick up some decent cider and poire. I thiught other than some nice wines it was much more interesting than the mostly Belgian beers I drank.

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Kpiz   
Kpiz


Even better I believe the bottle was gifted by the neighbor. Might be using it as a way to try to pick up my wife's grandmother. I'm on the sidelines so no idea, just reaping the rewards.

I think next trip I will try to make a more concentrated effort to at least pick up some decent cider and poire. I thiught other than some nice wines it was much more interesting than the mostly Belgian beers I drank.


Well I hope for your sake that your wife's grandmother keeps stringing him along!

How often do you visit France? I'm interested to see the other cider and calvados you find out there

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HoustonNit   
HoustonNit


Well I hope for your sake that your wife's grandmother keeps stringing him along!

How often do you visit France? I'm interested to see the other cider and calvados you find out there

Every year for two weeks. I'll try to be a little more prepared next to see what I can pick up.

Next we'll probably do a side trip to the Alps region or Marseille area.

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EarthQuake   
EarthQuake

This is a great thread! I just returned from a two week vacation in France and only just stumbled upon it.

 

Some notes from my trip:

 

I love Armagnac. Love love love it. I got many a strange look when I ordered Armagnac with my dinner instead of wine, and even got some sass from the sommelier at one restaurant upon ordering a second glass, which came from an absolutely giant bottle (I should have taken a photo of her pouring it but sadly did not). I was traveling with some friends who drank wine with every meal, so I tried plenty of wine and some were pretty good but meh, give me whisky or Armagnac any day of the week. Previously I had only tried 2 Armagnacs, a Millet VSOP and XO that I was able to find locally here. Those were okay, and good, respectively.

 

The best Armagnac I had without doubt a was a 1985 Domaine Boingneres Bas Armagnac at a very nice restaurant in Versailles, it was absolutely fantastic. I had a few other vintage stated Armagnacs which I liked a great deal as well but forget the names.

 

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I purchased 3 bottles, a 25 year blend, a ~30 year vintage and a ~40 year vintage of random produces that I found on my trip. Unfortunately my luggage didn't make it home with me so I am still waiting to receive and open those bottles, I'll post some photos and notes on them when I get them. I didn't understand the various styles from different producers well enough to look for specific bottles, so I hope my random selection works out!

 

After reading this thread I wish I would have tried some cider and more Calvados! I did try an XO Calvados that came with a little sample set of small Cognac/Armagnac/Calvos at a fancy market. I don't expect this was a particularly good Calvados but it was miles better than any US produced apple brandy I've tried. I'll need to see what sort of Calvados I can find now that I'm back home.

Edited by EarthQuake

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