Saturday, November 01, 2008

Nouveau is here!

Before the French.

As a direct response to Dr. Vino, I am drinking local Nouveau, about three weeks before the gas-guzzling Beaujo Nou arrives. Now, if you know me, I do not care for carbonic macerated style wines, especially with that industrial bubblegumbanana-yeast flavor/aroma. (I also wish people understood Beaujolais first and understood Nouveau second. I could rant on this for a whole post.) To me Nouveau is nothing more than a marketing ploy, and trying to sell a mountain of leftover plonk in March is always a pain in the arse.



Then I tasted this vintage of Oliver Winery’s Marechal Foch Nouveau, from a 1 acre plot on their Monroe County vineyard. Be careful…it is pronounced “mar-eh-shall fosh”. I’ve had this before and never really cared for it that much. It was always nice, but that’s it. And nice doesn’t cut it.

Marechal Foch!

Marechal Foch is an inter-specific hybrid variety, once grown in the Loire (like Chambourcin), and once very common in parts of Canada and Oregon (a few Oregon and BC wineries still keep their old Foch vines). Many theories of parentage surround this cold-hardy vine, but I do know it was named after French marshal (Marechal) Ferdinand Foch.


Many of the wineries, particularly in Oregon and British Columbia pulled their vines once vignerons realized they could grow vinifera more successfully than once thought, giving way to Pinot Noir, Chard, and the clan of Bordeaux and Alsace varieties. There goes any exciting distinctiveness that an unusual variety would bring to the table. I appreciate those vignerons who keep their Foch and have confidence in its quality.

But I digress.

Foch's tomb.

Oliver uses Foch solely for their celebratory Nouveau. It has been a few years since I’ve had their Foch, back when I only liked big, modern, heavy reds. My tastes have changed, and now I’m going to celebrate the success of Foch.

Oliver Winery, Marechal Foch Nouveau, Creekbend Vineyard, 2008, $12, 10% abv

Dark purple. Wow, a very dark blackberry aroma with some more black cherry, and dark purple floral notes, and touch of berry bubblegum. Super-juicy flavors of liquid blackberry jam that reminds me of a super-light Touraine Cot plus some of that carbonic maceration character, and more complexity than you may think. Very different from Gamay-based Nouveay—more black fruits and a little more oomph. At 10% abv, you can drink a ton of this business and it is going to be kick-tush on Turkey day. And wine both myself and grandma can love.

PS. I brined a boneless turkey breast for 15 hours (water, sea salt, brown sugar, bay, black peppercorns, ginger) and roasted it with a rub (salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, thyme, rosemary)…and it was HEAVEN! Served it with roasted turnips, purple cabbage, and sweet potatoes. Had some Marechal Foch Nouveau.



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