Calvados Review: Calvados Marquis de la Pomme 20 ans
Origin: Domaine du Coquerel
Cost: €70 from Domaine du Coquerel
What they say:
Marquis de la Pomme 20 ans is a blend of Calvados selected and aged in order to offer aficionados a wonderful length and an explosion of flavours on the palate.
Brown amber with dark copper glints
Soft alliance of fruit and rancio
Beautiful balance between flavours and length on the palate
To be served pure
Tasting advice by our cellar master.
Our know-how finds its personality in the balanced blend of eaux de vie specially selected to give this Calavados roundness and smoothness.
What I say:
A 20 year old blend of casks from Domaine du Coquerel, bottled under their Marquis de la Pomme label. During our visit I asked Pierre about how their blends were constructed as he showed us through their warehouses and we discussed cask management. The answer I found slightly surprising. Cognac, he confirmed, Cognac is the centre for everything. From the regulations under which they distill, where their stills are made (and repaired from) and where their blending expertise comes from. A master blender regularly visits from the Cognac region to sample their casks and make the selections for their blends. Very much like Scotch whisky master blenders, they work to a flavour profile rather than an exact recipe. Assessing the cask qualities, batches of relevant age will be hand-picked – in this case all must be of a minimum 20 years old. Pierre also told me that their wood/cask management is such that Calvados destined to be bottled younger (e.g. fine, rare, vsop and possibly even some casks for the XO) will use new or first-fill casks which have a big influence over a short time period. For their older ‘blends’ and Millesime (vintages) then re-fill casks or re-racking of spirit is used such that the longer they are kept, the lesser wood influence is required. The blender is always seeking a fine balance between oak and spirit, too much oak and it is time to be bottled, however keep that balance going and the Calvados can be matured for decades. This expression is bottled at 42% ABV, according to Pierre they bottle all their expressions over 15 years old at 42% for historical reasons, it is typical of the eaux-de-vie or Brandy style plus it presents flavours onto the palate for longer (i.e. as opposed to reduction to 40% ABV).
Dark amber bronze with reflective copper highlights (14/20), medium-large tears leave long medium legs
Fruity initially with apple but also hints of apricot and both smothered in honey, tannic woody oak, a hint of orange oil, linseed oil, reminded me of old wooden benches in a machine shop, machine or gear oil, hints of coffee, putty, tanned leather, nutty and musty rancio, quite dark
True to the nose this 20 year old expression is fruity initially on the palate with a burst of apple and golden raisins and again predominated with sweet honey, putty/linseed oil, tannic leather and oak, stewed apples, a touch of menthol/spearmint, clove oil, crystallized ginger, tobacco leaf, a hint of dark chocolate, jasmine and sandalwood.
Long, sweet fruits followed by drying and tannic leather, herbal menthol and clove oils
Rancio indeed! Slightly challenging with almost floral jasmine, sandalwood and eucalyptus. Rather than being balanced in totality this expression seemed to burst with fruit initially then switch to rather dark and tannic woody flavours. For me a touch more wood was present than fruit perhaps
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