Once upon a time in Ontario and British Columbia there was a grape called Maréchal Foch a French hybrid grape. It made common wine and, in an era, when Canadians did not appreciate or know Vitis vinifera grapes they drank it. As tastes changed and the Canadian palate became more “sophisticated” Maréchal Foch grapes were pulled a fate suffered by many grapes. So today Maréchal Foch is now a rarity. I encountered it 3 years ago in the Okanagan produced by Oak Bay. It was quite good. So I see it as on “sale” in an e-mail from Malivoire Wine Company Limited in the Niagara wine region. Surely if the Okanagan can do it well Niagara can too? You might find more of it in Nova Scotia and Quebec than you can find in Niagara.
The Malivoire 2020 Old Vines Foch in colour is a bit more purplish than red. Aromas of smoke, blackberry, blueberry, licorice, black cherry, cola and candy cane. On the palate smooth with little tannic influence. There is a Welch’s grape influence as what can I say the wine is grapey but in a pleasing way. But let that grapey wave pass and you’ll notice some good traction to the wine with some peppery overlay on the mid plate with almonds, tobacco, anis, dark chocolate with a long spicy finish. Some might treat this wine as highly dismissible and on the wild side but those with an adventuresome and patient palate might call this wine deviously complicated. It is not what it may it apparently seems to be. Baco Noir can make an awesome wine but not handled with care by the winemaker it can be a disaster. I would think the same might be said for Maréchal Foch. The winemaker here has mastered the beast!
The wine would suit lamb burgers or short ribs. The wine was aged 17 months in American oak 18% of which was new. The vines were planted in 1972. The wine will improve marginally over 2023 and peak in 2024.
You can order this from the winery at Malivoire.com.
(Malivoire Albert’s Honour Old Vines Foch 2020, VQA Ontario, The Malivoire Wine Company Limited, Beamsville, Ontario, $26.95, 12%, 750 mL, RKS Wine Rating 89/100).