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Calvados: The Spirit of Normandy Hardcover – November 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


Calvados is an astounding 700-page stroll through the history and culture of Normandy and Calvados producers, through orchards and cellars, down to seemingly esoteric details, like what a producer might have scribbled in chalk on a typical barrel. Mr. Neal looks at the multitude of different apples, from sweet to acidic, that might go into a producer s blend. --Eric Asimov, New York Times (Nov. 2, 2011)

About the Author

Charles Neal is a leading importer of French spirits and is the author of Armagnac: The Definitive Guide to France’s Premier Brandy and has contributed to The Art of Eating and The International Wine Cellar.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 766 pages
  • Publisher: Board and Bench Publishing (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 061544640X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615446400
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 7.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Aceto TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 28, 2012
Calvados is first the fresh crush of apple, followed by a breath of fire, trailing spice. And Calvados, The Spirit of Normandy, is one lovely companion to this underappreciated spirit. I wish only that there were a Kindle edition that came with each nicely hard bound copy. As nicely as is sits with me in my reading chair, it is too big to lug around the orchards and caves. Yes, the paper is heavyweight and glossy. The format cleanly and comfortably laid out. But at more than750 pages, I have no room in my rucksack. This is no travel guide.

The first two hundred or so pages are all preparatory to meet the makers. They will stimulate both novice and aficionado. This is one book to prepare for doing extended field work. As Calvados sipped is the aperitif to build your appetite for the strenuous lunch soon to be set before us, so too will this book fortify the mind to encounter all that lies ahead. It will serve as your digestif upon returning home, laden with bottled booty.

Mr. Neal is your Chief of Staff, worthy of an Eisenhower planning Operation Overlord. He nimbly lays before us just the right map for each objective, clear and nicely colored, spreading across two commanding pages when fitting. All vital historical and cultural information is smartly organized at the proper level of detail. Luck favors the prepared, mon ami.

Mr. Neal does take a couple of pot shots at us Southerners, referring to our impulsive, hot Latin blood. He does so to contrast the redoubtable Norman, who is apt to be more patient, humble and friendly. Fair enough, I suppose. The Normans in our village fit that bill. Still, we of Armagnac can be friendly in our own animated fashion, especially for Calvados poured over our Agen Plums.

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Berle W. on October 11, 2011
I received an industry copy of Calvados: The Spirit of Normandy the day that it was published by The Wine Appreciation Guild. At over 700 pages the book is as comprehensive as anything ever written on the subject of that fine brandy, whether in French or English. If the point size of the small type was increased, the content would have stretched to beyond 800 pages. Every single producer of Calvados is featured, in addition to their means of production.

Charles Neal (author) triumphs here not only in his completist coverage, but also in his prognostication that the heretofore unheralded virtues of Calvados will soon be discovered by the spirits world, mainstream and cognoscenti alike. No other Calvados authority in the United States can claim to know as much as Mr Neal, and yet he graciously gives credit to those whose works precede his own.

Watch intently for the emergence of an apple brandy industry in America, and look closely at Washington, the apple capital of the world, to provide the best examples! Thank you to Charles Neal for amply providing much-needed inspiration!
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By Manfred on February 12, 2014
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Everything you could possibly want to know about Calvados and its producers written in an entertaining but informative style. Information on everything from the producers, production, the cows that graze under the apple trees and which Calvados to drink with which movies!

I've been a fond drinker of Calvados for many years and have been lucky enough to visit Normandy many times. This book has taught me many of the nuances of this wonderful digestif and I now understand why I like my favourite producer as much as I do.

Essential reading for anyone who enjoys a Calvados.
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