To preserve the purest expression of the apple and its terroir
The apples are washed and sorted: just before being pressed, the fruit travel along a sorting table where they are verified manually. Apples showing signs of rot are discarded. If this has become common nowadays in cider making, it is still very rare amongst ciders destined to be distilled to create calvados.
The apples are pressed in a specially modified membrane press normally used in winemaking. The grated apples are stirred frequently throughout the slow extraction at low pressures. In contradistinction to the more traditional presses, which provide a lot of pressure in one place, using this technique, the skin and pulp are uniformly pressed, sufficiently gently and slowly for the must to receive all the aromas the apples can provide.
At the end of the pressing process the must has already acquired the attractive golden amber tints of cider. After several weeks of fermentation in vats, the cider is racked and bottled.
Fermentation will subsequently continue slowly in the bottle, and the carbon dioxide that is naturally produced is retained by the cork to create the natural effervescence of cider.
The faint haze and the deposit present are the proofs of this bottle fermentation. They give the ciders from the Domaine Dupont their unique aromatic complexity. Stocked upright in good conditions (less than 15°C (59°F) the cider will improve and its mousse will become finer and more persistent.
Cider destined to become calvados is aged six months on its lees to enrich its aromatic expressiveness. This is the perfect time span to avoid any tainting (deviation/corruption). The distillation can then begin.
In the early '80s Etienne Dupont went to study the double distillation methods used to make Cognac. He was thus able to adapt the golden rules born of a long tradition of excellence. He subsequently kept on improving them so as to obtain the most perfect possible result. The estate's alembic allows the distillation to take place flexibly and with precision. Double distillation is essential to receive the AOC "Calvados du Pays d'Auge". (To find out more about calvados distillation...)
The calvados is then aged in casks: new oak casks that were only lightly heated for the first three months, where the calvados gains hints of vanilla, then in older casks for long aging, where its flavours intensify and become more complex. The most volatile alcohols evaporate slowly. The calvados progressively approaches its final sipping strength. (To find out more about calvados aging...)
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