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Victor Gontier Calvados Domfrontais Apple Brandy (700ml)

Normandy, FRANCE
$119. 99
$1439.88 Dozen
ABV: 40%
Tasting note: [2005 vintage] Gontier is based in Saint-Georges du Rouellet, deep in the heart of Domfrontais. This bottling is labelled ‘fermier’ or 'farm-made', indicating that it was made entirely on a farm in a traditional way. Deeply coloured, initially varnishy, then dry cider-like on the nose (pears more than apples), it's full and round with ripe spiced pear flavours followed by apple pie, late cinnamon and acacia. It feels less woody than many Pays d'Auge examples, so less tannic at the finish, but also not quite as fresh and vibrant. 40% Alc./Vol.

Apple brandies from the 'AOC calvados Domfrontais' region in the south of Calvados are uncommon in Australia. The appellation was created in 1997 and reflects the long tradition of pear orchards in Domfrontais due to the region’s clay and limestone soil which is better suited to the strong, deep roots of pear trees. Consequently, Domfrontais Calvados differ from their Pays’d’Auge counterparts by being made from at least 30% pears, as well as the traditional Calvados component of apples. The inclusion of pears makes not only for a lighter-coloured spirit, but also one which emits a more feminine and elegant bouquet. The regulations are otherwise similar to the A.O.C. Calvados and require a three year minimum of ageing in oak barrels; orchards to consist of at least 15% pear trees (25% from the sixteenth harvest) and only the column still is to be used.

Other reviews... [1997 vintage] Gontier make some real artisan Domfrontais. Colour: gold. Nose: extremely aromatic, with the pears in the front and wonderful notes of artisan poiré (pear cider). Then Turkish delights, Haribo bears, bubblegum, liquorice allsorts and lastly, moss and fern after a heavy September rain ;-). Spectacularly fresh and aromatic. Don’t get me wrong, bubblegum does not suggest immaturity in this context, at all. Mouth: fresh, well on the fruits, very clean, with a saltiness and notes of fresh walnuts plus just a little grapefruit. Not extremely complex but very ‘chiselled’, which makes it dangerously quaffable, not only as a digestif. A calvados that left the ghetto! Finish: not too long but still very clean and easy. Comments: very, very dangerous, and much to my liking. I think this baby would even bear one ice cube later in summer…
85 points - Serge Valentin, whiskyfun.com