The Cadillac of Calvados

12/16/14 -

The Calvados made by Camut is the Cadillac of Calvados. This might sound like a gimmick or hyperbole, but this 7th generation estate brought Calvados from the bars of Normandy to the most swank, white tablecloth restaurants in Paris. Like good wine, good Calvados starts on the farm and only great quality apples will make remarkable spirits. The orchards at Camut are planted to ancient, late-ripening apple varieties that larger producers find too fussy and difficult to work with. Although not certified, the Camut family manages the historic Domaine de Semainville organically partly aided by Limousin cows who eat diseased, early-falling apples and provide their own brand of fertilizer. During harvest season the apples are picked and cleaned, then their leisurely fermentation lasts up to seven months. In the fall this cider is distilled twice in copper pots fueled with traditional apple wood. After distillation, the resulting spirit rests in large 30-40 year old barrels. The secret to the rich, supple flavors is that these casks are never filled more than three quarters full allowing maximum oxidation and softening of the spirit. To further this goal, the barrels are often racked back and forth several times a year which also helps work out volatile elements. This results in a mind-boggling amount of lost volume, as the alcohol evaporates (as much as 50 percent over twelve years), but as Jean-Gabriel Camut recalls his pioneering grandfather: “Adrian once said you have to lose something to gain something.” And gained something they have! John Rankin

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