Our Prairie Series is an exploration of one of the oldest grape varietals planted in the Upper Mississippi River Valley.
This series consists of three wines made from Marechal Foch with different levels of skin contact and dramatic differences in style and flavor profiles. Marechal Foch was the first widely planted red grape in the Upper Mississippi River Valley with the first vineyards planted 30 - 40 years ago.
HISTORY of marechel Foch
This grape was bred in France in the 1910's by Eugene Kuhlmann and first arrived in the U.S. in 1946 where it was named Marechal Foch in honor of Marshall Ferdinand Foch, a prominent French General in World War I. Rumor has it that this is to do with the heavy casualties sustained by Foch's troops; Marechal Foch wines are noted for their deep, blood-like color.
About the Prairie Series
Park Farm's Foch vineyard was planted in 1999, originally on a high wire (grapes develop on the top wire with shoots growing down). After 7 years we reversed the growing method to VSP (vertical shoot positioning) where the fruit develops on the low wire and new shoots grow up above the fruit. Since changing to VSP the grapes recieve better balanced sunlight exposure and develop more dark-berry fruit and less earthy undertones. In the winery we find removing the skins prior to full fermentation also enhances the fruit characteristics.
The main difference in the three wines in our Prairie Series is skin contact time:
- Rose - no skin contact
- Noir - 3 days cold soak only
- Reserve - addition of Noir skins with 5 days total skin contact.
All wines were removed prior to the completion of fermentation. Our Noir and Reserve are then aged for 12-14 months in a combination of French and American Oak barrels with the Rose released 6 months after harvest. We have found the flavor profiles and wine style differences of these wines remarkable. Tasting these side by side is a true adventure into the new world of wine being produced in the Upper Mississippi Valley Wine Region.