maison la belle vieMarichal Foch is a French hybrid developed during the mid 20th Century in Alsace and grown primarily in the Loire Valley, although today it is seldom found in France.  It is believed to be a cross between the riparia-rupestris hybrid and the vinifera variety Goldriesling. It’s primary virtue is that the plant withstands very cold temperatures making it an attractive option in cold-climate wine regions such as Colorado’s Western slope.

I’ve tasted a few but while powerful they always seemed disjointed and rustic. This one however is superbly balanced and delicious.

Gamey aromas in a tense standoff with  herbal notes are subordinate to the main show of spiced plum, chocolate and vanilla–a complex, intense bouquet. The palate is full bodied but lively with high acidity. There is loads of juicy black cherry fruit up front, but from midpalate through the finish dazzling acidity is like a slowly spreading wild fire lighting up the palate as it evolves from gentle jam to pungent spice while never losing its balance. The tannins are fine-grained and supportive but stay in the background.

It’s aged for 16 months in medium-toast French oak.

Maison La Belle Vie was our favorite winery during our recent visit to Palisades Colorado. Their line up is superb top to bottom.

Score: 91

Price: $32

Alc: 14.1%

Polished but racy with a bit of swagger, it’s a Mick Jagger wine in one of his more or less civilized moments.