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All about Calvados brandy
All you need to know about Calvados
What's the secret for a good calvados brandy? Fresh, tasty apples. This spirit undergoes a production process that is similar to the process for making apple cider, which involves fermenting apples. Then, the liquid ages in oak casks for at least two years. In order to be a true calvados, the spirit must come from Normandy, which is in Northern France.
Types of Calvados
Calvados spirits come in three age designations. Vieux or Reserve versions age for three years or more. VSOP Calvados, instead, ages for four years or more. Lastly, in order to get the designation of XO, Extra or Napoleon, a calvados must age for at least six years. There are vintage bottles of the spirit that are 25 years old and still taste delicious and are much sought after.
This liquor comes in sweet, bittersweet, tart or bitter varieties. AOC Pays d'Auge Calvados must undergo a double-distillation process and ferment for at least six weeks. AOC Calvados Domfrontais must contain 30% of perry pears.
Calvados vs. Cognac
While these two spirits are both brandy varieties, they're actually pretty different. Cognac is a result of the distillation of white wine, while calvados is basically distilled apple cider. The latter has a recognizable apple note, unlike Cognac, which has nothing to do with this fruit.
While Cognac has to meet strict requirements, such as containing at least 90% Ugni Blanc grapes, Calvados liquor is much more diverse, as producers can use over 300 different apple varieties. This creates a wide variety of liquors from which to choose.