Montreuil Calvados Reserve, France (750 ml)

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Manoir de Montreuil is a collaboration between legendary importer Charles Neal and veteran calvados producer Patrice Giard. The project uses apples from Giard's beautiful, cow-filled orchards in the Pays d'Auge which are distilled twice using a traditional Alembic still. Older varieties of apples are favored because of their complexity despite the fact that they don't produce as much juice -- it's truly a labor of love. The Montreuil label represents a more fruit-forward style than Giard's classic line. Charles blends a spirit with bright orchard tones that sit very nicely in a cocktail, but the calvados has enough finesse to enjoy on its own In 2006, importer Charles Neal spent some time in front of the still with Patrice Giard while he distilled his year-old cider. They began tasting through a number of barrels together, and an idea was born to combine a number of barrels into the best possible young blend. The result, called Reserve, is comprised of 30% barrel #38 (distilled in 1998), 40% from barrel #32 (distilled in 2000) and 30% from barrel #4 (distilled in 2003), creating blend whose average age is seven years old. The initial release is a mere 480 bottles. It shows forthcoming apple flavors, along with a touch of vanilla, smoke, spice and subtle hint of beeswax.

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