Pretty certain my first experience with this grape, and CERTAINLY my first wandering into Pennsylvania wines. Obviously, it’s going to be early-ripening fruit, and able to withstand some fairly harsh weather. Understandably, we’re all expecting some sort of Cab-Franc or Beaujolais situation, and so far, that is not terribly inaccurate. Beautiful rich deep ruby, with a purple-pink rim showing intense vegetal fruit in the initial nose, but blowing off to a deeper, much more savory density with plentiful smoky, vanilla oak influences. There’s a gamey aspect to the bouquet squelching plentiful fruit expression, though careful plum and apricot manage to blossom through.
Tasting it expands the palate into territories untouched by the nose. Beautifully sharp–with acidity at a granular level–the fruit exploding in ridiculous black cherry, nectarine and pomegranate across a granite-faced wall of stony, wet minerality. Lush greenery lines the stream of icy cold, lush with late-summer blossoms. This is really phenomenal wine… I wish everyone reading this could taste it, as I was skeptical, but the incredible spirit it contains and develops on the tongue–FARRRRR into the racy finish speckled with delicate tannin–is honestly quite mind-blowing. I was in a conversation with someone the other day and they were laughing at the potential of East Coast reds, filing them–in classic California Palate form–into categories significantly sub-par from “real wine-growing regions”. Well, and they’re right: California DOESN’T make a wine like this. But Europe does. GOBS of them. So put some salve on THAT burn. And to add insult to injury: it’s PRICED like euro wines too.
2020 CHADSFORD WINERY Marechal Foch Pennsylvania America 12.5