The year is 1962. The place is the heart of Normandy, between Caen and Laval. The farmers in the Domfront area are secretly making their Calvados on their farms when they are interrupted by state inspectors.
As discontent mounts, Count Louis de Lauriston takes the initiative of establishing a co-operative winery, putting an end to the fraud. That same year, a hundred kilometres away, Christian Drouin founded his business in Pays d' Auge. It was a million miles away, though, from the image of the shot of Calvados with coffee, and aimed to produce quality brandies. Its vintage collection was popular with private customers and restaurateurs the world over, from the United States to Japan and Russia.
Thirty years on, the Domfront co-operative winery was struggling. Although its inventories are of a high standard, the financial situation was challenging. When asked to take over management of the winery, Christian Drouin's son saw an opportunity to work with a terroir very different to the one he was familiar with. Here, the Calvados is all about pear. Whilst the brandy in Pays d'Auge contains only 2 to 5% of pear, Domfront has a minimum of 30%, rising to 60% at Count Louis de Lauriston. The soils of granite and schist outcrops promote mineral notes, while the column distillation in columns that are still taken to the co-operative's farms, perpetuate ancient production techniques and produce clean, taut Calvados, marked by a highly expressive nose and intense aromas.
Guillaume Drouin is now charged with running both businesses and he strives to strengthen the identity of each of the two brands, thereby emphasising the diversity of Calvados.
By Alexandra Reveillon