Today I'm reviewing two new Calvados brought in by Captain Cognac, Nicolas Palazzi (though maybe he should change his moniker to Captain Calvados considering how much of it he's been bringing in lately).
Domaine du Tertre is run by two brothers who make cider and distill a small amount of it into Calvados. They use around 30 varieties of apple, ferment it for six months without heating and use indigenous yeast. Like many French brandy producers, they distill on a traveling column still.
These two bottles come from single ex-Cognac casks and are bottled at cask strength with no additives. The U.S. is only getting 90 bottles of each.
Calvados Domaine du Tertre 2000, 16 yo, 52.6% abv ($200)
This has strong oak notes on the nose with some underlying apple. The palate starts dry and oaky, then the fruit comes in, but it's a very dry apple flavor. It's got a thick, chewy mouthfeel. The finish is woody and slightly fruity then turns to chocolate covered cherries, but without the sweetness, if that make sense.
This is a really lovely and complex Calvados. It's the polar opposite of the big fruity style of some Calvados (Camut for instance); it's drier with oak notes and tannins. It's a great Calvados for a whiskey or Armagnac drinker. Really fantastic stuff.
Calvados Domaine du Tetre 1998, 18 yo, 51% abv ($225)
The nose on this one has maple syrup notes along with oak and a sort of musty note. The palate leads off sweet and then turns earthy with some sulfur like notes. The finish is slightly fruity and sulfuric and then develops apple and oak. This one is sweeter but has less overall fruit character than the 2000.
These were both great. Between the two, I preferred the 2000, which was drier and more complex, but those who prefer more fruit in their Calvados would probably prefer the 1998. They are currently available at Astor Wines but should be popping up in other locations soon.
Thanks to Nicolas Palazzi for the samples.