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Paul B.

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WTN: Hart Cellars 2004 Foch-Vidal Blend

by Paul B. » Wed May 31, 2006 10:50 pm

This is another of Howie's homemade wines that he recently gave me when we met up in Niagara. I had previously tried this wine (though of another vintage) at MoCool a couple of years back. This time, though, I was able to spend some time taking a more analytic look at it - the 2004 vintage, to be precise.

12.5% alc. Clear garnet colour with a ruby tinge at the core. Bright, crisp nose comprising elegant strawberry fruit with citrusy influences from the Vidal component. I don't know what the percentage of each grape variety was in the '04, but I can say that I get both Vidal aromas and Foch aromas on the nose here simultaneously, so it's definitely true to the blend. A bit of plum and coffee-roastery aromas now emerge courtesy of the Foch. Crisp with bright acidity on the palate and an extremely well balanced, round, tart mouthfeel. I think I sense some oak, but if it is there it is very slight. Beautifully dry and appetizing; palate-cleansing with excellent table qualities. This is definitely what I would call a pizza or lasagna wine. Clean, warm and dry finish. Light-to-medium-bodied.

Vidal and Foch blended together is a combination that I hadn't seen before Howie introduced me to this wine of his. It's an interesting concept, and obviously has similarities to the Chianti paradigm. It's also exciting to think that such house wines can easily be made from vines grown in backyards all across the Eastern U.S. and Ontario. I'm not sure if Howie co-fermented the grapes or later blended separate batches, but personally what I would do if I were to try this with my own grapes would be to use a red hybrid and a white hybrid that basically ripen at the same time; I would then crush and co-ferment the two on the skins (including the white skins) for maximum tannin extraction. I like the way the Vidal adds lift to the Foch (gives it a brighter edge), and creates a wine that is crisp and elegant.

Howie, I definitely suggest that you bring some of this to the Sunday Picnic this year. I also suggest that any hybrid skeptics give the blend a try.
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Howie Hart

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Re: WTN: Hart Cellars 2004 Foch-Vidal Blend

by Howie Hart » Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:41 am

Pleased you enjoyed it. The '04 is a bit different than the '02 you had a few years ago. In '02 I obtained the grapes from a local grower (Bruce Giles). He has since torn out his Foch and didn't have any Vidal for me in '04. The '04 was from pressed juice and crushed must from NOTL. One of the differences in flavor would be that when I can get Vidal grapes, I blend the hard press wine into the Foch and keep the free-run and soft -pressed juice as varietal Vidal. They are fermented separately, as Foch ripens mid-late September, while Vidal ripend mid-late October. I did give a bit of oak. I'll make sure I bring some to NiagaraCOOL.

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