Domaine de Merval Calvados Appellation Calvados Contrôlée


Domaine de Merval overhead view of property and fields

About Domaine de Merval

Located in the heart of the Pays de Bray region of Normandy, on the site of a 17th century castle, Domaine de Merval is a unique setting. It provides the site of the Lycée du Pays de Bray, an agricultural school that secondary students attend to obtain practical experience in agricultural industries, including apple cultivation and, in turn, production of cider and calvados. Students learn firsthand the technical aspects and value chain associated with a variety of agricultural processes and products.

The crown jewels of the domaine are its orchards, including a conservatory orchard containing 420 varieties of heirloom apples that are emblematic of the Pays de Bray region, in addition to 12 hectares of cider apples. Every aspect of calvados production takes place at the domaine's cidery and attached distillery.

Domaine de Merval Organic Farming

About Domaine de Merval

Born in 1988, its vocation was then to relaunch the production of farm cider in Haute-Normandie after years of dwindling orchard-planting and cider production in the region. Since 1990, the educational operation has served as a field of application for students and has earned a place for itself among the great cideries by joining the list of "Cuvées Prestiges-Cidres des Pays de Haute-Normandie".

Today, practicing entirely organic farming, Domaine de Merval works on a daily basis toward an autonomous and economical system which aims at the maximum of interactions that emphasize the "Human - Soil - Plant - Animal - Transformation" system.

A collective of 10 people work on the different workshops of the farm: The people who work on the farm are paid through our agricultural activities. Passionate about their vocation, they pass important skills on to high school students.

The Estate covers 120 hectares where permanent meadows, temporary multi-species meadows, grain fields, as well as haute-tige and basse-tige orchards.

100 Norman dairy cows enhance our "all grass" system, the herd is in full pasture for nine months of the year.

We also cultivate meteils grains (combinations of cereals and protein crops) to supplement the animals as needed. Thus, we ensure maximum autonomy and traceability.

90% of the milk is processed into Coeurs de Neufchâtel AOP Bio Fermiers au Lait Cru (approximately 220,000 pieces / year). The other part of the milk is sold to the Biolait structure.

12 hectares of cider orchards to produce: apple juice, apple-strawberry, sparkling, sour, Cider and also two renowned AOCs: Pommeau de Normandie and Calvados.

The farm serves as technical and educational support for the school, which explains the presence of a conservatory orchard (more than 420 old varieties listed) and an educational flock of sheep (10 ewes).

Domaine de Merval Calvados Cask 103

Cask 103

18 years old | 50.8% abv

Distilled in 2002 and bottled in 2021, Domaine de Merval offers this inaugural single cask release Calvados from some of its oldest stocks, bottled brut de fût, meaning it was bottled at cask strength at 50.8% alc./vol, with no chill-filtration, water, or color added, so you can experience the true bounty and terroir of the Pays de Bray.

Dense and rich, this Calvados opens with an aroma of stewed apples and spices, with notes of stone fruit and dried fruit peels. Supple on the palate, showing rich fruits and candied spices. The exceptional finish seamlessly balances dry tannins and lingering rich fruit.

Buy Now @ K&L Wines

Buy Now

Domaine de Merval Calvados Fermier

K&L Wines Buy Now

2002 Domaine De Merval
18 Year Old Single Barrel
#103 Cask Strength Calvados (750ml)

Buy Now @ K&L Wines


Domaine de Merval Calvados Conservation and Protection of Historic Apple Varieties

Conservation and Protection of Historic Apple Varieties

"The objective is to put back in orchards, terroir by terroir, the old varieties emblematic for the typicity of juices, ciders, Calvados and Pommeau, and thus meet and anticipate consumer demand for authentic products, explains President François Juguet. We work jointly with the Chamber of Agriculture, the CICD (interprofession of cider products in AOC and AOP) and the French Institute of cider production. If a positive response from the Region [is received], the post of our permanent staff is guaranteed, and the re-establishment of local varieties will see the light of day among interested producers in the five Normandy departments!"

In 2021, the Merval Estate Association continued its pursuit to defend the recognition of local apple varieties, in the face of a withdrawal of public funding from the Normandy region. In support of its mission, it filed a report and request for continued funding, summarized by Mr. Juguet's comments above.

The Normandy Region's response is expected sometime in 2021. This would be a new step in the fight for the association created by a handful of local farmers in 1982. In 1989, when the first year of school commenced on the domaine, Fernand Bazerque, a retired teacher, began to collect varieties of apples in and around Bray country, which he set up in a small conservatory orchard on the school grounds, opposite the castle. When Fernand died, he left an exceptional collection of more than 400 old local varieties.

Once the high school was installed, the Merval Estate Association became less active, but reformed in 2018 to save the conservatory orchard, as public funds to cover the costs of the site ran out, meaning it is the school itself which must take care of it.

Today the conservatory orchard represents an exceptional heritage and an unprecedented genetic reservoir in Normandy. Our volunteers can be proud to support the home of 100 unique apple varieties out of the 9,600 listed by the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (Inrae) in Europe.


Harvest & Press

Every year, around the end of September, the apple harvest begins. In 2020, the Domaine harvested 150,000 kilos of apples from 80 different varieties. The apples are collected, sorted by hand, and placed in a traditional a paquet press. The apples receive a light press, in order to extract only the most desirable juices.

Domaine de Merval pressing apples for Calvados
Domaine de Merval Calvados Distillation


Unlike nearly all distillers within the Calvados AOC who use single continuous stills, Domaine de Merval employs a double distillation in a copper alembic. When the governing body of Calvados production began remaking the rules of the AOC in the late 1980s, Maitre d'Chai and headmaster at the Lycée, Francois Juguet, believed the new regulations would mirror the standards of AOC Pays d'Auge, where double distillation in copper alembics is required. Luckily, Juguet began his career in Cognac, where double-distillation in copper alembics is also required.

Thus, shortly after Mr. Juguet came to work at the school in 1995, the domaine purchased its Charentais still from an old distillery in the nearby town of Gournay-en-Bray. Juguet believes that his eau de vie benefits from the batch distillation process, gaining an abundantly aromatic profile.

Francois Juguet

The master distiller at Domaine de Merval is Francois Juguet. Mr. Juguet actually started his distilling career in Cognac in the 1980's and later translated his experience to Calvados after joining the Lycée in 1995. Since that time, he has focused his energy on creating a full-cycle agricultural product, from apple cultivation to the making of cider and finally, Calvados. Mr. Juguet's meticulous attention to detail and love for each one of his sleeping casks are qualities that he hopes to translate to his students learning at the cidricole.

Domaine de Merval Calvados tasting
Domaine de Merval Calvados tasting
Domaine de Merval Calvados tasting
Domaine de Merval Calvados tasting


Domaine de Merval Calvados Fermier

Calvados "Fermier"

Some quality-minded producers in the Normandy region live up to a specific type of quality control – the production fermier - which indicates that the calvados is farm-made using traditional agricultural methods. The ethos of Domaine de Merval is that of full-cycle farming, with the entire process from apple cultivation to distillation and aging carried out at Domaine de Merval.

AOC designated Calvados regions map
credit: Calvados France

AOC Designated Calvados Regions

Domaine de Merval is in the Pays de Bray, within the Seine-Maritime department of Normandy, France. There are three distinct AOC designated regions that can produce Calvados in Normandy:

Calvados AOC

The Calvados AOC is broad, covering land areas that span across Normandy. Most orchards produce ciders and, to distill Calvados, employ single column stills that travel from town-to-town (but in some cases, distill twice in alembics or hybrid stills).

Calvados Domfrontais AOC

One of two smaller delineated regions located in the southeast of Normandy, the Calvados Domfrontais AOC requires the inclusion of pears.

Calvados Pays d'Auge AOC

Arguably the most esteemed of the three AOC, Calvados Pays d'Auge has several requirements, such as double-distillation in copper alembic stills.