August Cellars2003 Marechal Foch, Meadows Vineyard
August Cellars is a relatively new enterprise, which, much to their credit, is keeping the candle lit for Marechal Foch. Though now out of fashion in vinifera-minded Oregon, Foch has long been a good match for the Oregon climate and terroir, and those who think French-American hybrids can’t produce some wonderful wines will have to avoid Jim Schaad’s Foch to preserve their ignorance.
One doesn’t need to read the back label to find out that this inky wine was unfined and unfiltered, its opaque eggplant color – which extends right up to the edge of the glass – is a good indication of that. This appearance portends a big wine, which this very much is.
The first impression on the nose is classic Cabernet-like cassis and herbaceousness, but that is only the beginning of an aromatic profile with many layers, including blueberry, anise, and chocolate covered black cherry. A note of brett does not detract, but adds an appealing dimension of rusticity, which works well with oak levels that are perfectly harmonious with the fruit. All this stuffing is nicely framed by firm, but fine grape tannins and that telltale lively acidity of the Foch grape, which registers on every part of the palate. In fact, it is that typical Foch acidity that distinguishes this wine from most of the vinifera wines made in this muscular style.
This is not only the best Marechal Foch I’ve tasted in years, it was arguably the best red wine I tasted while touring Oregon last summer.
Reviewed March 27, 2008 by Roger Dial.
Under various hats (winegrower/maker/negotiant/writer) Roger Dial has been tasting wine professionally for 40 years. He regards varietal and regional diversity as the best virtues of wine, and is ever-suspicious of the quest (by producers and critics, alike) for “universal greatness”. His tasting regime is simple: Is the wine technically sound? Is it interesting? Warning: he’s a sucker for all aromatic varieties.