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Marechal Foch is a vigorous, early-ripening French hybrid variety with good winter hardiness. It is well suited to cool climate viticulture and is fairly disease resistant. Developed by Eugene Kuhlmann, Marechal Foch, Kuhlmann 188-2, is (reportedly) a crossing of North American riparia-rupestris and a Goldriesling (vinifera). Our red book, special report No 22, 1976, Vineyard and Cellar Notes from NYS Ag Experiment Station in Geneva, NY, reports the origin as MgT 101-14 (rip. rup.vin.) crossed with Goldriesling. The true origin is confused and lost to history. I say confused as the origin of Leon Millot is (rip.x rup) x goldriesling and the origin of Pinard is the same as the Leon Millot....Whatever the genealogy of Foch, it is considered to have Burgundian characteristics with vibrant, deep (purple) color, berry fruit aromas and taste with a light to medium finish depending on winemaking techniques.

Foch fermented on the skins results in a high-quality red. Foch has minimal to moderate tannin and berry flavors that stand well when oaked or aged in oak. The lower tannins lend it to easy, early drinking. It makes a popular noveau when the free run is fermented with a fruity yeast such as Lalvin 71B-1122.  As Foch ripens in late September these noveau wines can be ready to bottle for December events. If fermented from cold press juice it has fair color resulting in a darker light red.

 It blends well with other hybrids such as Chambourcin or even some of the red viniferas. One of our winemakers favorite blend is with 10-25% (more or less) Concord. This gives it a bit more fruit and yet the Foch characters remain dominant and the unknowing wine drinker is unable to guess the blend. Again, Lalvin 71B is chosen for this blend. For a more subtle finish a Lalvin RC 212 may be a yeast of choice.

It has exceptional aging potential due to the acid which is moderate to high. The wine pairs well with many fine cheeses and red meat dishes, and of course pizza. It is a favorite with our winemakers and of course, there are winemaker who say, 'I don't like Foch'. One year I started asking if our Foch lovers liked black olives and their reply was yes. The winemakers who did not like Foch did not like black olives. Foch is a main component of the Prince's Blend and we hope to be able to offer it again this year.

We let our Foch ripen a week longer than its sister or cousin variety Leon Millot with an average ripening date of September 30-Oct 1. This early ripening time allows us the flexibility to leave hanging longer, if necessary. It has a moderate to high acid and generally an acceptable brix when allowed to ripen fully. The clusters are small and tight with a small berry size. It is a favorite of birds and deer.

We have trained our Foch to a high wire cordon in an attempt to have the fruit out of the reach of deer. Our lower wires are staggered in height from the ground in an attempt to trip the deer as they race through the vineyards perpendicular to the wires, yes across. It was a struggle to get our Foch to the top wire as the deer would eat and eat. If Tom were to plant Foch again, he would plant grafted , faster-growing vines. When the vines obtain full size he would then consider allowing the vine to go on it's own root system.

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