Apple brandies from the ‘AOC calvados Domfrontais’ region in the south of Calvados are very rarely discovered in Australia. The appellation was created in 1997 and reflects the long tradition of pear orchards in Domfrontais due to the region’s clay and limestone soil which is better suited to the strong, deep roots of pear trees. Consequently, Domfrontais Calvados’s differ from their Pays’d’Auge counterparts by being made from at least 30% pears, as well as the traditional Calvados component of apples. The inclusion of pears makes not only for a lighter-coloured spirit, but also one which emits a more feminine and elegant bouquet. The regulations are otherwise similar to the A.O.C. Calvados and require a three year minimum of ageing in oak barrels; orchards to consist of at least 15% pear trees (25% from the sixteenth harvest) and only the column still is to be used.
Gontier’s Calvados Domfrontais is all the more unusual for being a ‘fermier’ or ‘farm-made’ calvados. Fermier is a descriptor which indicates that the Calvados is made entirely on a farm in a traditional agricultural way according to high quality demands. These are still occasionally encountered both inside and outside the Pays d’Auge, but rarely on the export market.