|Type||Red, Regional (Hybrid)|
About Maréchal Foch Grapes
Maréchal Foch grapes are an inter-specific red hybrid wine variety that was named after the French marshal Ferdinand Foch (1851-1929). Developed in Alsace, France by Eugene Kuhlmann, Maréchal Foch is an early-ripening, cold-hardy variety that is resistant to fungal diseases. Some believe it to be a cross of Goldriesling (which itself is an intra-specific cross of Riesling and Courtiller Musqué) with a Vitis Riparia – a Vitis Rupestris cross. Others posit that its pedigree is uncertain and may contain the grape variety Oberlin 595. Maréchal Foch is also a sister variety of Léon Millot (Foster).
Originally, Maréchal Foch was commonly grown in the Loire, but today its growth is quite limited in Europe. Given that it is a hybrid variety, its cultivation for commercial wines in Europe is restricted by European Union regulation. It is more commonly grown in North America, including the U.S. states of Minnesota, Ohio, New York, Colorado, and Montana as well as parts of Canada, namely Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia.
Wines made from Maréchal Foch grapes tend to have strong acidity, aromas of black fruits, and, in some cases, toasted wheat, mocha, fresh coffee, bitter chocolate, vanilla bean, and musk. But, the flavor is dependent on the variant, as darker variants of Maréchal Foch wine are often described as having a strong, gamey nose.
Well-balanced and high in sugar, Maréchal Foch grapes make nice wines that can be consumed young. However, highly extracted and more carefully produced wines made from older plantings of Maréchal Foch grapes have recently been successfully marketed as more expensive niche wines, finding favor among a dedicated following.
With a small berry size, this variety makes a variety of styles of wine, ranging from a light red wine similar to Beaujolais, to more full wines with intense dark color and unique character. The quality of wine produced by Maréchal Foch vines is highly dependent upon vine age, and the flavor profile associated with many new-world hybrid varietals is greatly reduced in wines made with fruit picked from older vines.
When not used alone to create wines, Maréchal Foch grapes also make a great blender in Port-style wines.