Flame Grape Press

Charles Neal's Calvados Long-Awaited Complement to Prized Spirit

(San Francisco - October 1, 2011) -- Spirits writer Charles Neal journeys into the generations-old orchards of Normandy, and novel literary terrain, in his new book Calvados: The Spirit of Normandy. The 700-plus-page tome on the much loved apple-and pear-based Brandy amply fills an endearing gap in French spirits literature.

It was lack of information and Neal's frustrated curiosity that first inspired him to write the book. "After reading every publication I could find on calvados, whether in French or other languages, I became disappointed with their generalized or, even worse, rehashed information from available sources. To write a truly comprehensive book on the subject, I realized I would have to research scores of growers all over Normandy to get the detailed information that more sophisticated wine and spirits fans now demand."

Neal began the project in April 2000. The result is the most authoritative text on Calvados in print.

We're introduced to the spirit calvados with a primer on the region's history and its people, its terroir, the anatomy of an orchard, fruit varieties, harvesting procedures, distillation, blending, and the fundamentals of calvados appreciation.

From there, Neal details more than 200 commercial producers, from industrial operations to tiny, family-run domaines. Each is profiled thoroughly, and includes extensive information on the producer's history, production methods and current offerings and tasting notes. The book is replete with photos of the Norman countryside and the profiled producers at work and play.

Neal is a wine essayist and the author of Armagnac: The Definitive Guide to France's Premier Brandy. He has contributed to The International Wine Cellar and The Art of Eating. Many of his essays on the people, spirits, and wines of France can be found on his website, CharlesNealSelections.com.

Calvados: The Spirit of Normandy is published by Flame Grape Press and distributed by the Wine Appreciation Guild. Hardcover, 766pp, 7 x 9 inches, hundreds of full-color illustrations, Index. $60.00; ISBN: 978-0-615-44640-0.

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