Old Vines Foch 2007 from Quail’s Gate Estate Winery

Alright, I have to admit that I have a been a member of the ‘Foch Club’ for a while. I first tried Quail’s old vines foch a while ago with the 2000 or 2001 vintages and they were great – they were big and tasty without the drying tannic feel that usually accompanies big red wines. The local wine store manager told me that the foches from Quail’s had a loyal following and that the few cases that they were given were usually snapped up quite quickly.

So I was a little more than excited when I first saw the new vintage of the foch arrive from Quail’s Gate recently. It has a complex nose – sage, tar, black liquorice and red cherries – quite complex and a refreshing change from some of the simpler wines that we had been tasting earlier that week. It wasn’t as complex on the palate but had a good combination of dark fruit, plums, tar and leather to make it interesting.

Medium acid and low tannins, which is par for the course when it comes to foch, means that this variety doesn’t really age all that well. I learned that one the hard way when my 2001 foch from Quail’s Gate sat for 5 years in my less-than-ideal condo cellar. When we opened it, the fruit had left the building and taken most of the furniture with it. It tasted like dirt, although good quality dirt. This foch-not-really-good-at-aging thing was confirmed that same year when, visiting some family in Toronto, they opened a bottle of a ’98 foch from the Niagara with similar results. I like earthy, rustic, old-world style wines as much as anyone, but I do like to have at least a hint of fruit to remind me that the liquid in the glass did come from a grape.

Anyways, back to the ’07 Quail’s Gate Old Vines Foch – it is still hands down the best in the Okanagan and the ones to which all other foches aspire. It should be widely available throughout BC in specialty and VQA stores. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Are you the newest member of the foch club?

2 thoughts on “Old Vines Foch 2007 from Quail’s Gate Estate Winery

  1. Excellent points, especially about the ’98 vintage in Niagara. I’m glad to hear that Foch does have the potential to age. I also hope that more of it gets planted here because it could be one of those few grapes that can do really well in both BC and Ontario.

    D’Angelo is also out here (check out the review of his Tempranillo in the Wine reviews section) and he is building a very loyal following. Well priced wines that over-deliver in this market don’t go un-noticed.

    Thanks for the great comments! Cheers!

  2. Thanks for your post on Foch! I have been a fan of varietal Marechal Foch here in Ontario for many years. I would agree with you on pretty much everything except the ageworthiness of well made Foch: I once had a 1990 example that was not only still together at 11 years old, but had very interesting secondary and tertiary aromas. It all seems to depend on winemaking style and vintage. 1998 was virtually “Californian” for us (very long and lots of heat units accumulated) so although the Fochs were intense, inky wines, they were probably acid-deficient. In cooler years, though, Foch still comes through and makes very good reds in our climate, and it’s wines from those years that I’d say have a better chance of holding out in the bottle. Unfortunately, many Niagara wineries have given up on Foch because of low name recognition. In Ontario, the best Foch comes from D’Angelo Estate Winery (in my opinion; he also has a winery in B.C.).

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