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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

July 6, 2014


The Sunday Quest for malternatives, calvados part deux

Because we’re not done with Calvados!...

Daron 'Fine' (40%, OB, Calvados, Pays d'Auge, +/-2013)

Daron 'Fine' (40%, OB, Calvados, Pays d'Auge, +/-2013) Three stars A house that I don’t know too well. What I really enjoy is the fact that they’re telling you about all the apple varieties they’re using, in this case Peau de Chien (dog skin – ha), Douce Moen, Clos Renaud and several other local varieties. Colour: gold. Nose: hey, great! This one has more briny oomph, good vinegars, even a little tar and smoke… It’s got an agave-y side that I do enjoy. Also ‘opening a new pack of liquorice allsorts’. I really like this youthful nose. Mouth: it’s a sweeter Calvados indeed, we’re rather on apple liqueur, cakes, then blood oranges, with always a faint tar/smoke in the background. Even a little salt! Finish: quite long, surprisingly salty. Comments: the (smooth) Islay of calvados? Did they peat their apples? A very good surprise, seems that I’ll have to try to put my hands on older Darons. SGP:552 - 80 points.

Anée 'Fine' (40%, OB, Calvados, Pays d'Auge, +/-2013)

Anée 'Fine' (40%, OB, Calvados, Pays d'Auge, +/-2013) Two stars Anée is a brand that’s owned by Busnel. More about Busnel later… Colour: gold. Nose: back to normality. It’s a grassier, drier, less sexy calvados, in fact apart from raw cider apples, I do not find many other aromas. No flaws, but I find it very simple. Mouth: yeah, in fact it’s rather okay, with some apple pie, a little caramel, a few roasted nuts and drops of acacia honey, and it’s even quite good and pleasantly rounded (a little marmalade as well), it’s just a little too simple. Finish: medium length. Honeys, baked apples and cake. Comments: the nose was absent, the palate was very fair. Yeah, it’s some fair calvados. SGP:540 - 72 points.


Busnel 'Vieille Réserve V.S.O.P.' (40%, OB, Pays d'Auge, +/-2013)

Busnel 'Vieille Réserve V.S.O.P.' (40%, OB, Pays d'Auge, +/-2013) Two stars Another large and old brand that’s widely available in France. They tell us that they need sixteen pounds of apples to make one bottle – which is more than one kilo of barley, isn’t it. Colour: deep gold. Nose: many apples, as well as something rather pleasantly acetic. Apple vinegar, apple cake, baked apples, with a little caramel, fudge and cappuccino. Good balance, everything’s in place, it’s just a little… mundane? Mouth: good, solid, easy calvados, starting honeyed and slightly fudgy/caramely, then we have more overripe apples, then just touches of oak spices, cinnamon, a little nutmeg and ginger, and then more cider. Fast, easy, approachable, sympathetic. Finish: good length, sweet, round, easy. Caramelised apples. Comments: some would call it ‘commercial’, but I think it’s a well made calvados. It’s just not very… interesting? SGP:540 - 75 points.

Roger Groult 15 yo (41%, OB, Calvados, Pays d'Auge, +/-2013)

Roger Groult 15 yo (41%, OB, Calvados, Pays d'Auge, +/-2013) After the large brands – wait, none of those were Diageo-sized – let’s have true artisan calvados. Roger Groult is a well-reputed small house, I’m sure this will be good… Colour: gold. Nose: it’s a sharper, grassier and much drier calvados after the good commercial ones. It’s not a very easy nose, I guess it’s more for die-hard calvados freaks. Calvados maniacs? I also find whiffs of ‘cabbage’ sulphur, which isn’t particularly nice, is it? Very austere calvados, that’s for sure… Mouth: good, what wasn’t in the nose is on the palate. It’s still grassy and austere, but there’s a good complexity and, above all, a very appealing herbal side. Aniseed, wormwood, celery… Finish: no, drop that, the very grassy and ‘cabbagy’ side is back. Comments: a problem with the bottle? Not much fun to be had with this baby, but we’ll have another Roger Groult soon, so we’ll see. SGP:271 - 55 points.

That’s enough for today, but stay tuned…







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