No glitz, all glamour
To be honest, I had little knowledge of this vineyard prior to my trip to the Okanagan this past May. Foxtrot was recommended to me by a dear friend of mine – a friend whose palate I trust very much, so I put it on my list of places to swing by.
Foxtrot Vineyards is located in Naramata Bench. As you enter into the Bench from Penticton, the vineyards come at you fast. Vineyard after vineyard, estate after estate – it’s hard to ignore the eye-catching signs ushering you into their uber-modern wine houses.
I drove straight past Foxtrot. How could you blame me? If you do some quick research on Foxtrot Vineyards, you’ll notice that they’ve carved up a bit of a reputation, and a good one at that. So as I approached the estate, I was expecting all of the glitz and glamour. However, there was no fancy cellar, no eye catching sign. We pulled U-turn and started peeling our eyes. Finally, we came across a quaint little sign at the entrance of 1201 Gawne Road – I think the sign was hand drawn.
Shout out to Katrice!
We drove up to a building that
looked like was a house. As we pulled up to the unmarked parking area, and were greeted by a cheerful Katrice Sutherland, who was prepared and eager to host us for our 1pm tasting.
Our experience with Katrice was nothing short of fantastic. We came for a 30min tasting and stayed for almost 2 hours. Katrice’s passion for wine shone through immediately. She’s extremely knowledgeable, personable, and funny – we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and felt a little sad when we had to leave.
There are a lot of vineyards in the Okanagan that strive for excellence, and a lot of them achieve this. However, Foxtrot does this differently. Their Burgundian-inspired wines don’t just strive to be at the same level of Burgundy producers – they quite literally are. Their ability to trick some of the best palates in the world is one of the reasons why they got themselves “on the map,” and caught the eye of some of the more famous Master Sommelier’s *cough* Ian Cauble *cough*.
To sleep on this wine is to miss one of the world’s great Pinot Noirs.– Ian Cauble, Master Sommelier and founder of sommselect.com
Let’s talk about rootstocks.
Why? Why do they do it so differently than their neighbours? For me, the answer has to lie in upholding the truest form of quality over quantity. In all of my vineyard experiences, Foxtrot is the epitome of this notion. Their focus is solely on producing the highest quality of wine possible. They pass up the opportunity of expansion, focusing their energy in the vineyard with the vines that are already in the ground. They are masters of their terroir, yet continue to ask questions.
The majority of Foxtrot’s 24-year old vines are own-root vines. For those of you unfamiliar with the significance of this, the majority of vines around the world are grafted with American rootstocks because these rootstocks are immune to the Phylloxera louse – a louse that almost single-handedly wiped out all of the vines in Europe in the late 19th century. Yes, those majestic old gnarly vines of the Old World are indeed grafted onto American rootstocks.
Does the fact that Foxtrot’s vines use the unconventional own-vine rootstock play into their quality? Only time will tell. Katrice explained that the Foxtrot ownership group have begun a plot of land called Sandcastle Ventures. Here, rows of own-rootstock vines are planted in rotation with rows of grafted vines. We’ll have to check in on this little project in a few years to truly understand what effect this might have.
Details details details.
Foxtrot’s attention to every single detail (other than the sign at the entrance of 1201 Gawne Rd) – whether that is in the vineyard, the cellar, or the care and comfort demonstrated through a legendary Katrice tasting – is why they are succeeding at producing high-quality wine. Foxtrot is deserved of every bit of recognition they have received, and will continue to receive, for they are truly masters of their domain and pushing the standards for Okanagan Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Order straight from their website! https://www.foxtrotwine.com/