Drink local: Calvados Christian Drouin (The Christian Drouin Calvados Estate), Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

After our tour of the estate, we had an opportunity to taste, with local cheeses, the three highest quality blended calvados offerings from Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

After our tour of the estate, we had an opportunity to taste, with local cheeses, the three highest quality blended calvados offerings from Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

 

A little ways northwest of Pont-Leveque (famous for its eponymous mild, cows milk cheese packaged in a square wooden box) is the commune of Coudray-Rabut, in the heart of the Calvados region – about one-half hour’s drive south of the Normandy coast and Deauville, Trouville, and Honfleur (where we were docked).

Calvados is a distinctive apple brandy produced only within the boundaries of the Calvados appellation contrôlée.

 

The estate, representative of the local architecture of the 17th century, comprises a group of half-timbered buildings; Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

The estate, representative of the local architecture of the 17th century, comprises a group of half-timbered buildings; Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

 

We visited the Christian Drouin Calvados Estate which is located in the heart of the region.  The estate was originally located near Honfleur until 1990 when Christian Drouin Junior moved the production to a former cider farm in Coudray-Rabut.  The estate, representative of the local architecture of the 17th century, comprises a group of half-timbered buildings: the press-house, the stillroom, store-rooms where the spirits are aged in barriques, the bottling plant, and a small manor house.

 

The apple orchard in the Estate is a traditional high-stem orchard, planted and grafted between 1991 and 1993, Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

The apple orchard in the Estate is a traditional high-stem orchard, planted and grafted between 1991 and 1993, Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

 

Over 30 different apple varieties are grown and pressed for the Calvados and cider.  The resulting juice is distilled in copper stills and then aged in large oak casks (barriques).  We had a chance to taste Pommeau (a blend of apple juice and Calvados brandy) along with several local Norman cheeses, followed by the three highest quality blended calvados offerings from Calvados Christian Drouin (see the top photograph).  As a special treat, our host, Christian Drouin Junior, let us enjoy some of the rare and delicious single vintage Calvados bottlings – 1990 and 1995.

 

One of the store-rooms where the spirits are aged in barriques, Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

One of the store-rooms where the spirits are aged in barriques, Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

 

A bottle of “Calvados Pomme Prisonnier” – Calvados in a glass bottle with a whole apple (now fermented) that was grown in the orchard inside the bottle; Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

A bottle of “Calvados Pomme Prisonnier” – Calvados in a glass bottle with a whole apple (now fermented) that was grown in the orchard inside the bottle; Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

 

The very special single vintage bottles of Calvados – of the past 25 years’ selection, we liked the 1990 (aged in a former Cognac barrique) the best;, Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

The very special single vintage bottles of Calvados – of the past 25 years’ selection, we liked the 1990 (aged in a former Cognac barrique) the best;, Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

 

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