What makes Avintage wine cabinets so unique?

August 06, 2018 by French Corner Cellars

As we are sure you’ve all noticed, the amount of wine being consumed in the United States and Canada has seen a sharp incline in the recent years. As of 2017, the amount of wine purchases has doubled in the last decade! That increase is paced by the number of new labels to hit our shelves. Walking down the aisles of your local wine shop gives you access to all sorts of interesting and fun bottles you’ve never seen before, many being sold in that sweet $10 spot.

And with all these new, value labels to choose from, comes the other end of the spectrum – imports from other countries, produced by small houses, in small quantities, that range from $30 to past the $100 mark. The difference between both type of labels is usually quality, and amount of time needed to develop in the cellar. And so, in turn, the market for wine cabinets has seen an upward trajectory as well.

Enter French Corner Cellars.

An Avintage Evolution at the Whiteface Lodge, N.Y.

Avintage wine cabinets are a solid alternative to a proper cellar. It replicates the temperature and humidity level needed to age wine or prepare it for consumption. ‘Why Avintage? Why put my money on a product no one has ever heard of in the US and Canada?’

Let’s start with the obvious, which is, we are some of the few that haven’t heard of Avintage cabinets, Frio Group produces over 100,000 units a year. And not combined with other product types, they only produce wine cabinets – that’s a lot of chilled wine! And when we say there is nothing like them in North America, we mean it! Every multi-temperature cabinet currently sold in the U.S. and Canada has a physical separation between temperature zones – picture a cabinet with little compartments separating everything – but Avintage cabinets have a single, open space for your wine without any partitions. This free space is given to us by Frio’s patented Pushed-Air Technology. The cold air generated by the compressor is pushed upwards, and naturally warms up the higher its goes. This circulation gives the cabinets variable temperature, with no partitions!

Pushed-Air technology has been a boon for the wine cabinet market, not only does it supply stable temperature control, it also uses less energy, makes the units barely audible, and gives the option from 1 up to 6 zones of temperature – that’s more variable temperatures than any other unit available on our market! Couple that with a sleek look that goes with any design concept in any room of the house, and you can see why Avintage has become a leading brand in Europe.

There are units for every type of wine enthusiast – our Classic line is single temperature for deep-time storage, the Evolution range is multi-temperature for storage and consuming at proper temperature. The top Avintage cabinet is the Revolution: thin, sleek, modern, with 1-6 zones of temperature. And unlike other cabinets, the multi-temperature units aren’t tethered to any number of zones, it is free and open. A client can have an eclectic wine collection, with any wine ready-to-serve at a moment’s notice, and if they have a special event, perhaps a Champagne evening, you can set your temperature to 45* and fill the cabinet with these friendly bubbles, going right back to the initial settings afterwards.

We hope that this little rundown of Avintage products has given some insight on the quality of our cabinets. When it’s all said and done, French Corner Cellars is about sharing our passion for wine, and hoping that we help with what we all deserve: the best wine, in the best conditions.

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How Well Do You Know Alsace?

July 13, 2018 by French Corner Cellars

Alsace, the very mention of its name elicits fond memories for those of us lucky enough to come across one of its dry, racy offerings. Although one of the more highly regarded regions in France, it is also one of the least known to those of us across the pond. With this in mind, we thought we would give you a quick insight into an area responsible for some of the most haunting wines you will ever taste.

Alsace is one of the most Northern wines regions in France, along the southwest boarder of Germany. Because of the location Alsace has seen repeated changes of nationality, as its been passed back and forth between France and Germany several times throughout history, eventually being cemented as a part of France after WWII. Before that, every major power seems to have had its hands on the region, starting as early as 450BC.

Cross-influence between French and German styles began to waiver after 1945, with the German divergence over to less fermented, sweeter wines. Alsace wines, meant to be paired with food, remained dry and fully fermented. As time went on, the differences between their winemaking have diminished, with many German wines becoming drier and more powerful, and some Alsacian wines becoming sweeter. The ‘rediscovery’ of late harvest and dessert wines in Alsace occurred as recently as the 1930’s.

Alsace is split between two main areas: Bas-Rhin to the North, by their Capitol Strasbourg, and Haut-Rhin to the South, by the lower slopes of the Vosges mountains. Haut-Rhine is also home to Alsace’s Grand Cru vineyards. Although winegrowing goes roughly in a North-to-South direction, western influence of the Vosges mountains, and the Rhine river to the east have the biggest impact. The altitude gives balance between sun exposure, temperature, and drainage. The cool evenings afforded by altitude, coupled with the Vosges sheltering from rain and maritime influence brought by the westerly winds keep Alsace dry and sunny, extending their growing season well into the autumn. This gives the grapes good ripeness, and trademark crisp and refreshing acidity.

Many of Alsace’s grape varieties are the same used in Germany: Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner, Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Noir are the main varietals used here. The German practice of naming their wines according to grape variety, rather than location had made its way into their winemaking as well. As far as what to expect, Alsacian wines are predominately white, single variety, and unoaked. So, for those of you accustomed to big, oaky Californian chardonnays – bring some cheese and an open mind, you’ll be glad you did. And as always, be sure you drink your wines at the proper temperature, it makes a world of difference!

 

 
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The wines of Pouilly-Fumé

June 27, 2018 by French Corner Cellars

The Loire Valley is an area that is part of a growing notion that a region can be at once legendary, but also overlooked and undervalued, especially in a world where the juicy, overdone wines have become the norm. But wine enthusiasts know the best it has to offer is not to be missed, and the big three regions within it – the west around the Muscadet region (melon de Bourgogne), the chenin blanc area around Vouvray, and the “center Loire with Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé – produce wines that leave an indelible mark that you’ll carry with you forever.

Today’s focus is on Pouilly-Fumé, an AOC (Appellation d'origine contrôlée ) created in 1937 around the village of Pouilly-sur-Loire. It is located opposite to Sancerre on the right bank of the Loire river. Wines made here are always Sauvignon Blanc, in fact, Pouilly-Fumé when broken down refers to the village of Pouilly-sur-Loire (Pouilly) and Blanc Fumé - a local nickname for Sauvignon Blanc – (Fumé). The Fumé is French for ‘smoky’, as by derivation these ‘flinty’ notes are a trademark of good Sauvignon Blanc from this region (this smell is called pierre à fusil, or ‘rifle stone’ when literally translated). These flinty notes are attributed to the soil, limestone to the east (also known as Caillotes) and to the west a mix of Kimmeridgian Limestone with presence of fossils, Limestone/clay and siliceous clay.

Pouilly-Fumé’s vineyard dates back from the 5th century, but serious development didn’t occur until the Benedictine Monks received the land in the middle ages. Here’s a fun fact: sacramental wine is traditionally white wine, because red wine constantly stained clothes!

It is also interesting that until the 1860’s, vineyards around Pouilly-sur-Loire were mostly growing Gamay (of Beaujolais fame) and Pinot Noir. Sauvignon Blanc didn’t become dominant until after the Phylloxera louse devastated the land. Indeed, the American rootstock used to graft to the French vines took to the grape more easily. And so, in 2018, Sauvignon Blanc is the most planted grape in the appellation, with Pouilly-Fumé producing 1,859,771 gallons on average years.

A good wine from Pouilly-Fumé should have aromas of green fruit (lime, green apple, gooseberry), grapefruit and citrus notes, supported by mineral aromas of wet wool, slate and smoky flint. The structure and acidity should be vivacious, mouthwatering and nervy. In the mouth, Citrus (grapefruit, lemon) and floral nuances are accompanied by vegetal or mineral notes adding complexity. One of the most common problems when consuming these wines is over-chilling, perfect drinking temperature for cool-climate sauvignon blanc is 44*F, this keeps the balance between the fruit and acidity.

French Corner Cellars at the Adirondack Wine & Food Festival

June 15, 2018 by French Corner Cellars

French Corner Cellars at the Adirondack Wine & Food Festival

 

Mark your calendars for June 23rd & 24th for the 2018 Adirondack Wine & Food Festival in Lake George, NY, where French Corner Cellars will be doing a live demonstration of our wine cabinets. The event will showcase the best the Adirondacks and NY have to offer including distilleries, wineries, cideries, breweries, meaderies, artisanal food, food trucks, and more.

 

French Corner Cellars will be teaming up with Marcella’s appliance to bring you demonstrations for the Big Green Egg grill, our own Avintage Revolution 195, as well as an Iron Chef-styled cook off featuring Marcella’s own Mike Morrill – a CIA graduate – and Ny State’s Chef William Cornelius along with other special guests. French Corner Cellars will be offering presentations and education on the undervalued importance of wine serving temperature, and give the opportunity to view our highest performing Avintage wine cabinet!

With more than eighty tents and kiosks to sample (and purchase) from, there is more than enough for you and your family to take in over the two-day period, so make sure to bring your appetite, your thirst, and your sunglasses. We’ll see you there!

 
 
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Tasting 2003 Tenuta Oliveto Brunello di Montalcino

June 08, 2018 by French Corner Cellars

Tasting 2003 Tenuta Oliveto Brunello di Montalcino

 

Tenuta Oliveto is located in the southern boundary of Montalcino. They produce a small amount of wine, all of them using the sangiovese grape. Founded in 1994, the property came with vines planted long ago, but left in disrepair. This led to extensive renovations and replanting over a period of four years. The wines are fermented in Slavonian oak vats at cool temperatures, then aged in large French tonneau barrels. All of their wines are unfiltered.

The vintage in our Evolution cabinet was 2003, a year that was scorching hot, often resulted in wines that were rich, powerful, and viscous, but often lacking focus. Luckily Brunello has a higher elevation, so there was intense fruit, but good acidity and tannins still worked their way in the glass. Considered a bit of an ‘off’ vintage, it would be at a sweet-spot for drinking.

It was the perfect time to drink: time in the bottle had lowered the fruit, kept a good amount of acidity, and softened the tannins, yet keeping them pronounced. All this allowed the 2nd and 3rd layers of sweet blackberries, tobacco, mint, kisses of leather, a touch of balsamic, and herbal notes to flow through with precision and length. Add a juicy cut of meat, and you are in heaven.

During the warm and sunny seasons, grilling meat seemed the best course of action. In this case, medium-rare Hanger steaks were on the menu, as was a delicious black-rice risotto dish. 

What really made the whole experience what it was is the fact that we drank it at the proper temperature, something that is impossible to overstate as an often-overlooked component to a great wine experience. In this case, keeping and serving the Oliveto at around 65*F kept the balance, while reducing the volatile alcohol.

 
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French Corner Cellars and The Whiteface Lodge: A perfect pairing

June 01, 2018 by French Corner Cellars

French Corner Cellars and The Whiteface Lodge: A perfect pairing

 

         Whiteface Lodge welcome into it’s walls the newest family member: an Avintage DIVA Revolution 195! A perfect fit for a traditionally-styled Lodge that houses modern amenities. Let us show why this is such a special addition to this incredible upstate New York hotel & resort!

         The Whiteface Lodge opened its doors in 2005, the brainchild of former 1988 Luge Olympian Joe Barile. Since then it has become one of the most impressive hotels in the country. Nestled in the six million acres Adirondack Park, Whiteface Lodge has taken on the aesthetics of the parks 19th century lineage, and added everything a person needs to relax in the 21st. A movie theater, bowling, canoeing, and ice skating in the winter are just a taste of things you’ll be treated to.

         But the real magic lies in the lodge’s Kanu Restaurant & LoungeKanu features classic culinary creations, and their resort spa has hot tubs, steam rooms, saunas, wellness classes, fitness center and a full-service spa and salon menu. And what menu wouldn’t be complete without a killer wine list? And what killer wine list wouldn’t be complete without a Cabinet to keep it safe and drinkable?

And that’s where French Corner Cellars comes in.

 

         With its 1-6 zone temperature range provided by the Pushed-Air Technology housed within, Whiteface Lodge’s Avintage Revolution 195 will keep their selections at the perfect temperature for consumption in any room, under almost any circumstances. Their confidence in the product is shown as the unit placement is right next to one of their large fireplaces. It’s sleek design and wooden shelves fit in perfectly into the surrounding atmosphere.

         As massive and luxurious as the Lodge and Resort is, always remember that you don’t need six million acres to bring the style and class that an Avintage wine cabinet will add to any room in any home or business. Let French Corner Cellars help you choose the Avintage model that’s best for you.

 

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Happy International Chardonnay Day!

May 25, 2018 by French Corner Cellars

Happy International Chardonnay Day!

      Happy Memorial Day weekend ! And what a perfect weekend to celebrate International Chardonnay Day, it’s one of the most recognized grape varieties in the world – and for good reason! To help the celebration, French Corner Cellars would like to give you a little background on what is very likely to be in your glass as you read this.

      Chardonnay is a grape that is literally grown in every country that makes wine and known under various, obscure names such as Morillon (Austria), Gamay Blanc, Melon d’Arbois (Jura) or Petite Sainte Marie (Savoie). That being said (and we know we say this all the time), the grape has its origins in France, more specifically Burgundy where it is supposed to be a crossing between Pinot Noir and Gouais.. For many people reading this, wines made from Chardonnay are always big, oaky, buttery, and loaded with tropical fruit, and so many people think that’s what all Chardonnay taste like. But what many people are beginning to discover is that Chardonnay is more of a grape (much like many grapes) whose flavor profile depends on how it produced and where its grown.

      Take a thin-skinned grape like chardonnay and grow it in a cooler climate, with elevation, and age it in steel or concrete (e.g. Northern Burgundy), and you will get a wine that bears little resemblance to its warmer climate siblings (e.g. California). The big, round, oaky, and tropical fruit laden wine that everyone knows is presented with much more crisp acidity, fine mineral notes, floral notes, orchard fruit, and a kiss of tropical fruit. Now these are both extreme ends of the chardonnay spectrum, once you get into fermentation in oak vs. aging in oak, using older barrels, aging in partial oak, partial steel, etc., the wines are more varied then most people give credit towards. As Chardonnay is a very subtly-flavored grape, winemaking will have a significant impact on the final product.

      The takeaway of all this is never stop tasting wines, never say you dislike a grape variety, because there are far more to them than you can imagine, try different countries, different regions, different terroirs and different producers. Do this as much as possible, and we guarantee that you will be surprised at what you find. As Chardonnay shows a large range of flavor profiles, serving temperature will vary. Unoaked Chardonnays or with a higher acidity (Chablis for instance) will be served around 52*F, while oaked wines that have undergone a malolactic fermentation (creating the creamy, buttery flavors) will show well around 58*F. The best companion to your Chardonnays would be our DIVA Evolution or Revolution range that allows the wine to be kept at the perfect temperature never compromising on the experience!

~ ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND ~
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How well do you know Corbières?

May 23, 2018 by French Corner Cellars

How well do you know Corbières?

Plenty of people are familiar with Languedoc-Roussillon wines, It’s the single biggest wine producing region in the world, but very few people think to see what sub regions make up the whole. French Corner Cellars invites you to explore these areas, starting with its one of our personal favorites, Corbières.

Corbières (pre-Celtic for ‘Rock’ and ‘Berre’ - after the river Berre) is the largest AOC in the region, and the most important - making up almost 50% of Languedoc-Roussillon’s wine production. Before its official recognition in 1985, the winemakers had to label their wines Vin de pays d'Oc or Coteaux du Languedoc. Known for its spicy, earthy red wines, Corbières production consists of 95% Red wine, with a little Rose, and even less white wine.

Because of its sheer size, it’s hard to generalize about any aspects of Corbières (oddly enough, it does have one of the lowest population densities in France), it’s a mountainous area with Eighty-Seven villages, and eleven Terroirs (Montagne d'Alaric, Saint Victor, Fontfroide, Queribus, Boutenac, Termenès, Lézignan, Lagrasse, Sigean, Durban, and Serviès respectively).  Corbières encompasses a variety of microclimates and soil types that varies from terroir to terroir, it is a microcosm within the Languedoc, with common chalky clay to Rhône-like fine limestone and schist - these are located on limestone hills with a topsoil of schist, from which a wine of exceptionally deep and rich earthy character can be created.

Winemakers in Corbières will use up to nineteen grape varieties in their wines: Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, Mourvedre, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, Vermentino (Rolle), Piquepoul Blanc, Piquepoul Noir, Macabeu, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Lledoner Pelut, and Muscat Blanc. Carignan is historically the grape of reference in Corbières. While not all wines from this region are mind-blowing, the overall quality seems to be higher than several other areas – perhaps it’s the passion and drive of the people working the vineyards, who seem determined to make wines of a modern style, that still attract the attention of staunch purists. One of our personal favorites are the wines from Clos de L’Anhel, if you happen to come across one their labels, do not hesitate to pick it up. The grapes are organically grown and the wine has only 12 gr/l of sulfites, make it almost a “natural” wine.

 

Your average red wine from this region should be drank at 62*F, rosé at 47*F, and their white wines at 44*F. It can be tough keeping them all at serving temperature, but always remember that the best solution to this problem is an Avintage DIVA wine cabinet, available exclusively through French Corner Cellars.

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