Sunday, December 11, 2016

2014 Georgian Hills Maréchal Foch (Ontario VQA)

I had wanted to try this Foch for a long time, given that it comes from a "non-traditional" wine growing region in Ontario: the southern shore of Georgian Bay. That, plus the fact that I'm a fan of the Maréchal Foch grape, made this a "must get" wine.

Varietal Foch was easy to find in Ontario up to and just past the turn of the millennium; slowly afterwards, though, it began to disappear from the winescape. For this reason, I am always excited to find new examples of varietal Foch, as this is a grape which deserves more respect for the heft of the red wines that it can produce in climates with short growing seasons and occasionally harsh winters.

The Georgian Hills Foch is closed with a natural cork; upon pulling out the cork, I noted lots of inky-purple saturation on the end of the cork (a signature sign of many red-hybrid wines) and also noted some tartrate crystals intermixed with the pigment.

The wine pours with a deep, saturated, black/cherry hue. In the glass, hue is an intense but translucent black/cherry/garnet when held against a light. Foch is a teinturier grape—one that has pigmented skins and pulp, and therefore, it makes a wine of great visual intensity.

The aromas are of light black cherry; they are simple, and not as layered as the much missed, oak-aged Niagara Peninsula Fochs tended to be (and as the Vieni Reserve from Niagara still is). That said, the cherry fruitiness is inviting.

Bright acidity and light but good tannins arrive on the entry. The wine is dry and pleasant on the mid-palate, and at 12.5%, it is gently warming. Very good structure on the mid-palate, without the zinginess that many a Baco Noir has. I've always thought that Foch was the more interesting of these two grapes (both were common in Ontario, but Baco is still more widely produced today).

$14.95 at the LCBO; available at stores mainly near its area of origin.

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