Posts Tagged ‘Philovino’

Neige – An Apple Ice Wine from Quebec

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
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In December, we were invited to attend a tasting of what I thought was going to be apple cider at Philovino, a wine shop operated by Bruno Quenioux. I blogged about tasting cider at Mr. Quenioux’s shop back in July of last year. This time, we were in for a big surprise because the “cider” that we came to taste was in reality an apple wine, or more specifically, an apple ice wine.

The concept of producing wine from frozen apples is confusing to the uninitiated. How, you might ask, does one get wine from this?

There are two ways* and both methods are used by La Face Cachée de la Pomme, the company that produces the wine that we tasted that evening.

Method 1 – Cryoconcentration
In autumn, very ripe apples are picked and kept in cool storage until winter. At the end of December, apples are then pressed and the freshly-extracted juice is placed outside in the extreme cold temperatures of January. Slowly, the water crystallizes and separates from the sugar. After a few days of intense cold, the concentrated apple nectar (called “must”) is drawn off and placed in stainless steel tanks where it ferments for a period of approximately eight months at low temperatures before being bottled.

Method 2 – Cryoextraction
In this method, apple ice wine is produced from varieties of apples that do not fall from the trees in autumn; they are picked in December and January when the temperatures are near –15°C. These apples have been dehydrated by the sun and literally cooked by the cold and the wind. Sugars have been concentrated through natural cryoextraction. The frozen apples are then pressed to extract the nectar. The must is then placed in stainless steel tanks where it ferments for a period of approximately eight months at low temperatures before being bottled.

More than 6kg of apples are required to produce 1L of apple ice wine.

We tasted this limpid, light-amber wine and were astounded by its intense apple aroma and rich apple-and-butterscotch flavor. In the mouth, it is soft, smooth, and very sweet, but not cloying. It makes a great after-dinner drink and can be served as an accompaniment with certain sharp cheeses, such as aged cheddar and blue-veined cheeses.

In searching the Internet to learn more about the apple ice wines that are produced by La Face Cachée, I was surprised to learn that the role that Mr. Quenioux played in their development has been overlooked. Quenioux was impressed by this wine when, as manager of the wine shop at Lafayette Gourmet (of the Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris), he tasted it for the first time. Sometime later, François Pouliot, founder of La Face Cachée, contacted Quenioux for advice on how to improve the quality of what was already a good product. Quenioux suggested using a different variety of apple and provided guidance on the process of fermentation. Now, five years later, Quenioux says that Neige tastes even better than when he first enthused about it.

Bruno Qenioux and François Pouliot

Bruno Qenioux and François Pouliot in front of Philovino
Photograph courtesy of Philovino

Neige is sold in Bruno Quenioux’s wine shop:
Boutique Philovino
33, rue Claude Bernard
75005 PARIS
Open from Tuesday to Saturday
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

*Information about the production of apple ice wine was gleaned from La Face Cachée Web site.

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Wine and Chocolate Pairing at PhiloVino

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
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Porto Quinta do Infanada Ruby and Fabrice Gillotte Equateur 72%

Porto Quinta do Infanada Ruby
Fabrice Gillotte Equateur Chocolat 72%
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On Thursday, March 29, I attended a wine and chocolate pairing organized by Bruno Quenioux of PhiloVino and Marie Gantois of Mococha.

At the PhiloVino wine shop, a group of about twenty persons gathered to taste three wines that Bruno had paired with three pure chocolates of origin that Marie brought from her shop. (See Marie’s YouTube video of the event here.)

Marie Gantois of Mococha
Bruno Quenioux of PhiloVino
Photo by

Apart from enjoying from enjoying the wine, the chocolate, and the company the people who gathered at PhiloVino, the purpose of the tasting was to see what kind of harmony or complementarities we could detect when a certain wine was paired with a certain chocolate. During the event, I was balancing a glass of wine in one hand and a camera, pen, and notebook in the other, so was rather distracted. At the first opportunity, I decided to repeat the tasting exercise at home with the first wine/chocolate pair that was presented that evening.

Yesterday, I purchased a bottle of Porto Quinta do Infantado Ruby from PhiloVino and a tablet of Fabrice Gillotte Equateur Chocolat 72% from Mococha. At home, Monique and I each poured a small glass of port and broke off two squares of the chocolate. We then sipped the wine and noted our impressions.

While Monique found the port soft with a long dry finish, I found it dry, not soft, on the tongue with a peppery finish. Both of us agreed that the wine had a fruity bouquet and was not overly sweet.

We then nibbled the chocolate and noted our impressions. The chocolate was quite bittersweet. Monique declared that it had earthy qualities with a hint of fruit. The best I could perceive was that the chocolate was intense (and at 72%, it should be!).

Finally, we nibbled the chocolate and sipped the wine at the same time.

When I tasted them together, I thought that the chocolate smoothed out the dryness of the wine. Monique said the opposite—that the wine smoothed out the taste of the chocolate. This, for her, was a complementary effect. I thought that the flavors of the wine and chocolate were fighting for dominance, which, for me, meant that the two together were not a harmonious pair.

Regardless of the conflicting opinion, we’ll enjoy this bottle of port over the next several days (without the chocolate, which has already been eaten). It will make a great after-dinner drink!

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Bruno Quenioux – A Champion of Independently-produced Wines

Thursday, March 1st, 2012
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Bruno Quenioux - Wine Maverick

Bruno Quenioux
Wine Maverick and Proprietor of Philovino
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In this month’s Paris Insights, we present Bruno Quenioux, maverick wine merchant and consultant. A passionate apostle of independently produced wines, he has been relentless in his efforts to promote them. Formerly the manager of the wine department at Gourmet Lafayette, he now owns and operates the wine boutique Philovino.

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Bonne Lecture!

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