Calvados is a brandy produced by distilling cider made of apples and pears, a light and very aromatic wine produced in Normandy by fermenting the juice of apples and pears which are first chopped, pressed and fermented.
Just like Cognac, Armagnac and Brandy, Calvados is a brandy which is produced by distilling a wine, therefore an alcoholic beverage which, by means of distillation in a still, is transformed in vapor, thanks to heat, and then condensing it gets back to its liquid state in a coil which collects the vapor, reaching a minimum alcohol by volume of 40°. The liquid obtained is refined in oak wood and then it can be mixed with other Calvados or diluted in order to reach the desired alcohol by volume.
Classification of Calvados
The one called Calvados and that's it, is the simplest and also the most common one, the base cider is distilled just once, very often in a continuous alembic still: let's say it is the most immediate and simple product.
The finest one is Calvados Pays d'Auge, rich and nuanced, produced with apples coming from the same region and subjected to two distillations, strictly done with discontinuous copper stills. The distillation process is slower and more careful and also the complexity of the final product is more nuanced.
Acronyms of aging of Calvados
Fine, Trois étoiles, Trois Pommes indicates calvados with an aging of two years.
V.O., Vielle Réserve, V.S.O.P. indicates distillates with four years of aging.
Extra, X.O., Napoleon, Hors d'Age and Age Inconnu, indicates distillates with an aging of six years.
Millesime, vintage, that is when the vintage is exceptional and it is mentioned in the label, however attention, in this case it is specified the production year, but not the aging.