Domaine de Montreuil
Giard is one of the grand old names in the Pays d’Auge appellation of Calvados. The Giards have traced their family’s history back 12 generations to the 1700s. When Roger Giard, now in his nineties, retired, he handed the reigns of the Domaine du Manoir de Montreuil to his son Patrice, who now directs the property, situated on its hilltop location in Montreuil-en-Auge, along with his wife, Michelle. The family has 30 hectares (74 acres) of orchards, planted entirely in the traditional, free-standing hautes-tiges method, making for a total of about 3,000 trees.
As with preceding generations, Giard waits for the fruit to fall to the ground before collecting it. The cider ferments sur lie in well-seasoned tonneaux and stays in the large barrels for one year prior to distillation. After being double distilled on a gas-fueled alembic pot still purchased in 1998 from the Cognac region, the new spirit goes into a variety of seasoned oak casks; Giard prefers to refinish the ends of some barrels rather than buy new wood. These barrels are emptied and refilled every couple of years, and gradually reduced with rainwater to reach bottling proof.
The Selection and Réserve bottlings released by Montreuil represent a collaborative effort between Charles Neal and Patrice Giard, begun in 2006. While the two were tasting barrels together, the idea was born to combine a number of barrels into the best possible young blends for optimum mixability in cocktails.