Some of the best things in life are underrated.
Hybrid grapes are one of those things. Maligned for decades, and subject to vine pull programs from federal governments arrogant enough to think they knew better than Mother Nature. Despite this, a select few growers have kept these varieties alive. Last autumn, we were thoroughly excited to find a small plot of extremely old hybrid vines in Lincoln, Ontario.
Maréchal Foch - the oldest of these vines - was planted in 1972. It is absolutely incredible to find vines of this age in a relatively young wine region like ours.
Tarragon and summer grass clippings. Vine tomatoes and wild blueberries.
This is a hybrid vine with European and native North American parents. Noble ancestry, yet resistant to the cold and diseases of North America. A marriage of Old and New.
Lively acidity, with herbal depth. Slightly sparkling from native malolactic fermentation after bottling - this wine is alive. Zero sulphur, unfiltered, unfined. Crushed underfoot.
We didn't know what we were getting into when we signed up for this plot of hybrid grapes. I want to say we got lucky, but we really didn't. People more knowledgeable than us planted these vines decades ago and painstakingly kept them alive over the years.
Our vigneron saw the beauty in what has been an unfashionable variety for many years. Even when our government offered him money to do so, he refused to pull these vines, knowing how beautiful they could one day become.
Thank you Douglas, for your patience and prescience. And for allowing us to work with the fruit you have poured your life into keeping alive.