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Hugues Desfrieches 30 Year Old Calvados Pays d’Auge

  • Hugues Desfrieches 30 Year Old Calvados Pays d’Auge

Hugues Desfrieches 30 Year Old Calvados Pays d’Auge

  • Availability: In Stock
  • Quantity Available: 9
  • SKU #: 10183
  • $189.99


Hugues Desfrieches 30 Year Old Calvados Pays d’Auge

  • Availability: In Stock
  • Quantity Available: 9
  • SKU #: 10183
  • $189.99


Hugues Desfrieches 30 Year Old Calvados Pays d’Auge

Here is a Calvados that from first glance shows its time in oak with a deep amber color. The nose showcases notes of baked apple, red and green apple skins, some caramel and whispers of smoke. The palate is medium-bodied and supple with flavors that echo the nose with additional hints of toffee and spice. The finish is long, with lingering impressions of pepper, smoke and baked apple.

Before we get into the current generation, we want to talk a bit about the family he came from. The Desfrieches name is very well known in the Calvados region. Leon Desfrieches created his brand Le Pere Jules back in the 1960s. He chose this name as a nod to his father (Pere) Jules who had been active in Calvados business since 1919. Leon became very well known around France as a charismatic promoter of Calvados as a whole while also highlighting his own work. In addition to raising the profile of Calvados and building a brand, he and his wife raised three sons. They grew up on the family farm surrounded by bucolic orchards containing some 50 varieties of apple trees. It was a rural and pastoral locale quite close to the American World War II cemetery in St. Desir.

While the setting was beautiful, Leon directed his domaine with an iron fist. With three sons and one successor, two sons effectively have to find their own way. One of his sons, Valerie, left working in the orchards and started a cooperage nearby. (Fast forward to the current day and he is the only cooper that makes and repairs barrels throughout Normandy, and he also sells barrels to other wine regions across the country.) After Valerie’s departure, the buzz around the Pays d’Auge grew louder; which other son would take over for Leon: Thierry or Hugues? To cut to the chase, Thierry (who had a son who would eventually work at the domaine) was chosen to succeed Leon. Hugues was given a choice: work under your brother or go your own way.

Hugues and his wife Corinne jointly decided to strike out on their own. They found a property, largely in ruin, in the tiny Sainte-Marguerite de-Carrouges. This was an hour and a half south of the family’s base in the Pays d’Auge and almost virgin territory for Calvados in which to make a new start. Over the next decade, the couple worked relentlessly, planting their open land with acre after acre of apple trees. They planted over 20 different varieties and farmed the trees organically. They refurbished the neglected buildings on the property and converted them into storage areas. 

As they went about planting and rebuilding they also bought used barrels from Hugues’ brother and grew their own paradise of stock. The attention of the business was primarily their apple and pear ciders while laying down Calvados for the future. 

Our man on the ground Charles Neal visited the domaine for the first time in the summer of 2020. His wife had returned to her native France during the start of Covid lockdown so Charles was able to travel to France and see some producers. Charles had met Hugues when he was working for his father a decade and a half ago, and heard through the Calvados community that he was making excellent Calvados on his own. The stock that Hugues and his wife had developed was only 10 years old: While the Desfrieches’ current stocks didn’t match up with our preferred buying habits, there is a Napoleonic law quirk that worked to our benefit.  When Hugues left his father’s property, he exercised the legal right to take a certain percentage of his father’s inventory. In addition to the more recent young Calvados, Hugues also has a library of Pays d’Auge Calvados ranging from 20 to over 40 years old. The bottle is listed as thirty year old, but is pushing much closer to the 40 year mark. The base cider was from the 1980 harvest and it was fermented and rested for nearly a year before it was distilled in 1981. Its cellar location has changed but the passion that was there at its creation remains. Michael Kennel, D&M




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