Finding an importer you can trust is not an easy feat. You don’t have time to jump on a plane once a month and vineyard hop in France, inspecting the grapes and tasting some of the finest wines ever created by man. That’s where finding a guy like Frederick Corriher comes into play. Frederick is the owner and founder of Route des Vins Imports, a new generation in French Wine. He’s all about mixing up the tradition of winemaking. It’s not just about the big dogs, the expensive bottles, the well-known names and legendary vineyards. It’s about finding the honest winemaker, the one that is loyal, hard-working and willing to make high quality wine simply for the sake of making bottled poetry.
In France, the tradition of winemaking is often passed down from generation to generation. From this passage comes new ideas, new energy, and a new commitment to excellence. Route Des Vins Imports is a ‘new idea’ wine import company. They respect and appreciate the hard work and commitment of the pioneer boutique importers that preceded them and whose names have become famous in the wine world but are not content to simply fall in line and do business the way that it has traditionally been done.
Frederick Corriher spends most of his time in the vineyards and cellars of France selecting cuvées and culling out the finest that each vigneron has to offer. Very often, the cuvées he selects are special blends that are reserved only for the United States.
There’s nothing worse than opening a bottle and wishing you had opened it years ago while it was still alive.
We asked Frederick how his curates his rare and exclusive portfolio. He said “The growers that I represent are absolutely the backbone of my business. Most of them I met through existing business relationships in France, but some of them I met through friendships that my family has forged over the years while traveling to Burgundy. I only represent small, family-owned and operated estates. Nothing mass-produced. I am a little different than a few of my fellow importers in that there is no signature style that I seek. High-quality is a must, but I don’t seek a certain style. More than anything, I look for loyal, hard-working people that are willing to make less wine but better wine when the vintage calls for it. There also has to be a certain ‘feel’ that I get from the grower as a person. All of my growers are without pretense. They’re honest, good people. If I don’t get that feeling from them, there is no way that we can work together.”
We also asked his opinion on aging fine wines. “My palate is geared more toward young wine. It’s likely a result of my tasting very, very young wine all the time, but it could be a result of my not having the patience or budget to wait on old wine. If I could give one bit of advice vis a vis the again parabola that exists with every kind of wine it would be to drink it on its way up.”
That search for the perfect winemaker seems to translate into the perfect bottle of wine. The tasting with Frederick ended with a little insight into their company culture.
“On the consumer level, we are certainly populist in our approach. That is, we don’t cater just to the elite accounts, and, if anything, we’ll market ourselves in the opposite direction. It’s a strong belief of mine that we win when more people have access to our wines and have the opportunity to buy them. My brother, John Lotan Corriher, our Director of Logistics, put it best, ‘Any place that sells wines will do.’ Likewise, I just heard my friend Allan Benton, a guy in Madisonville, Tennessee that makes the best smoky bacon and country ham in the country, recall some advice his dad told him, ‘Son, if you play the other guy’s game, you always lose.’ That’s also our approach. We hope both our customers and growers find us friendly, approachable, and, more than anything else, gentlemen.”