Here's a real treat, and just in time for Halloween, too: Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery's 2010 "Back From The Dead Red" - a Maréchal Foch made in Grey County, Ontario.
This wine was recently featured at selected Vintages outlets in Ontario (check the LCBO website for availability in your area; Product ID: 260463).
As a long-time believer in the suitability of the Foch grape variety for creating flavourful red wines in Ontario, I am really pleased to see varietal wine from this variety once again gracing the shelves at Vintages. What makes this one all the more interesting is that it is one of the few new Ontario VQA varietal Foch wines to come out in a long time, and certainly the only one I've ever seen from Grey County, adjacent to Georgian Bay.
Would that Foch were "back from the dead" - in southern Ontario, too...
I've written many times about the unfortunate demise of varietal Foch in Niagara and southwestern Ontario in general. This red hybrid grape was used by quite a few wineries there up until about the early part of the new millennium. There was a general style for those wines: inky-dark (as Foch almost invariably is anyway), wildly pungent, and wrapped in oak. I think it's a style that could have easily earned a reputation as a regional specialty, had it been allowed to continue. To-date, I know of only one winery making quality varietal Foch in Niagara, and that's Malivoire. Theirs is an Old Vines version, and generally only available at the winery.
That said, I'm pleased to see a considerable stylistic kinship between the Foch wines once made in Niagara and the newly born Coffin Ridge Foch. Back From The Dead Red has an intensely dark garnet colour at the core, and a dark cherry-red meniscus. Swirling the wine prompts it to release a bouquet that's immediately reminiscent of cherries, peppercorns, and a pleasant rootsy, celeriac-like note. All of this is very typical for Ontario-grown Foch. The wood vanillins come in at right about this point, wrapping the whole package neatly in an elegant oaken frame. On the palate, the wine is brisk with well defined, tart, but balanced acidity. At 12% alc./vol., there is a gentle warmth, but no heat. The texture is clean - cleansing, in fact - and quite invigorating.
It's a versatile wine, because it will invigorate your palate prior to your meal; it will refresh your palate while you eat, and it will cleanse it after you finish eating.
Back From The Dead Red sells for $17.00. It's worth checking out!
The winery's website is: http://www.coffinridge.ca