Sampling Foxtrot Vineyards 2020 Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay

2020 was a challenging vintage in the Okanagan, with a wet, cool Spring that resulted in fewer blossoms set to form grapes.  The Summer had average temperatures, not too hot, and a later veraison.  And then the Fall was a great surprise with warm weather and no rain so that the small number of grapes that did form, ripened perfectly for harvest.  With this, I was invited to taste the 2020 vintage of Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay from the Foxtrot Vineyards.  For those of you not familiar with Foxtrot Vineyards, they are located on the south end of the Naramata Bench and specialize in Pinot Noir. 

Doug Barzelay, Executive Chairman and Andrea Barker, Winemaker & Vineyard Manager at Foxtrot Vineyards
Doug Barzelay, Executive Chairman and Andrea Barker, Winemaker & Vineyard Manager at Foxtrot Vineyards

The winery changed ownership four years ago (2018) with the wines I think now being more widely distributed through retail outlets.  I had a short chat with Doug Barzelay, Executive Chairman, about the winery and his early impressions of owning a winery.  While we were tasting, there was a short break for Mr. Barzelay and Mr. Nathan Todd, President and GM, to address us all and then pass the discussion over to Andrea Barker, their Winemaker & Vineyard Manager.  She talked briefly about the 2020 vintage, her vinification methods and how these Pinots were all single vineyard and located just a few kilometers from each other.  The wines were made using the same methods, so the differences we noted in the glass would come from the clones used in each vineyard plus the terroir at each vineyard.  In general, the wines all underwent a cold soak followed by 17-20 days of maceration before pressing and transferring to French oak barrels, undergoing malolactic fermentation and aged for 14 months in barrel before a light filtering then bottling.

My Wine Tasting Notes

Single Vineyard Pinot Noir

Foxtrot Vineyards The Waltz Pinot Noir 2020 (BC $47) – the grapes for this wine come from select vineyards in the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys.  This wine is a medium garnet colour.  Light aromas of sweet spices and raspberries.  Medium-plus body, smooth with lower acidity and light tannins.  Raspberries and candied red cherry flavours plus a touch of oak.  A mix of sweet and tart red fruit and raspberries on the finish. 4.5 stars

Foxtrot Vineyards Raisin d'Etre Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020
Foxtrot Vineyards Raisin d’Etre Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020

Foxtrot Vineyards Raisin d’Etre Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020 (not for sale. Will be preserved in the Foxtrot library) – This vineyard is located just below their Estate Vineyard and is planted to clone 828. The 828 clone has high sugar production, full-flavoured with blackberry, plum and good acidity.  It produces a balanced wine.  This wine has a deeper garnet colour.  Elegant, light aromas of red fruit, vanilla and chocolate.  Fuller body, round and silky.  Soft acidity and tannins.  Cassis, ripe black cherries and touches of chocolate and nutmeg on the palate.  Ripe sweet fruit and cinnamon on the finish.  Medium length.  Very easy to enjoy this wine! 4.5 stars5 stars

Foxtrot Vineyards Paddock Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020 (not for sale. Will be preserved in the Foxtrot library) – 2020 is the second release from this vineyard.  The vines come from the Estate Vineyard cuttings, clone 115, and were planted in 2014.  Medium-plus garnet.  A lighter red fruit and nutmeg nose.  Medium, body, soft mouthfeel.  Red fruits with a hint of floral and a touch of oak on the palate.  The tannins get firmer toward the finish.  You get floral and nutmeg flavours on the finish. 4 stars4.5 stars

Foxtrot Vineyards Wily Fox Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020 (Limited availability) – This vineyard was planted between 2013-14 using the 115 clone coming from cuttings from their Estate Vineyard.  This wine has a medium garnet colour.  Very light red cherry, toast, nutmeg and baby powder aromas. Lighter body, round, soft and dry.  Light red fruit and floral flavours, with a touch of candied cherries.  Medium intensity tannins get firmer toward the finish.  Lingering flavours of red fruit, sweet spices and some tartness on the finish. 4.5 stars

Foxtrot Vineyards Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020
Foxtrot Vineyards Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020

Foxtrot Vineyards Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020 (BC $95) – Their estate vineyard has the oldest vines, now 25 years old, are own-rooted, and are planted with 100% clone 115.  Clone 115 is known for its red fruit, being aromatic, and structured. This wine has a medium garnet colour.  Lighter aromas of cassis, toast, and nutmeg, with red cherries behind.  Medium body, soft and round with light acidity and medium intensity fine-grained tannins.  Lighter flavours of red fruit, nutmeg and a touch of floral.  Medium length with nutmeg and some candied red fruit, lighter tannins on the finish, but still are drying. 4.5 stars

Foxtrot Vineyards Henriccson Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020 (Limited availability) – Deeper garnet colour in the glass.  Lighter aromas with a mix of cranberries, red fruit, chocolate, nutmeg and sweet spices. Medium body, dry, round, and soft with brighter acidity.  The wine has a lighter mouthfeel on the mid-palate.  Red fruit, candied cherries and a touch of pepperiness on the palate.  Medium length, with light drying tannins and pepperiness. 4.5 stars

Chardonnay and foxly Wines

Besides the single vineyard Pinot Noirs, we also had a chance to sample their Chardonnay and their second label, foxly Wines, which are more widely available through retail outlets.

Foxtrot Vineyards Chardonnay 2020 (BC $45) –  is a blend of fruit from Peachland, Osoyoos, and the Similkameen Valley. From the winery, “The grapes were whole cluster pressed and transferred to French oak barrels for fermentation. After undergoing a full natural malolactic fermentation, it was aged sur-lies for 10 months in 12% new and 12% second fill and the remainder neutral French oak, followed by a further 6 months of ageing in stainless-steel. The wine was bottled unfiltered.” It has a medium-intensity tropical fruit and butterscotch aromas.  Medium-minus body, dry and round, with a buttery smooth mouthfeel.  Tropical fruit with a touch of oak.  Medium acidity. 4.5 stars

foxly Pinot Noir 2021
foxly Pinot Noir 2021

foxly Pinot Gris 2021 (BC $24) – medium intensity citrus and green fruit nose. Smooth with green fruit, green chile and minerality.  Medium-plus acidity. Fresh and bright flavours. 4 stars

foxly Rosé 2021 (BC $24) – A light peach colour.  Light toasty red fruit aromas.  Medium body, smooth with light tannins.  Floral, strawberries, and candied red cherry flavours. 4 stars

foxly Pinot Noir 2021 (not yet released, but 2020 is BC $24) – Nice red fruit and nutmeg aromas.  Light body, dry and lean, with light tannins and medium acidity.  Red fruit and red cherry flavours.  Classy and easy to drink. 4.5 stars

Where Can I Purchase These Wines?

The Foxtrot Chardonnay is available for purchase from the winery website. None of the 2020 Pinot Noirs are currently listed on their website, but I assume you will see some listed later on. The 2019 Foxtrot Vineyards The Waltz is available at BC Liquor Stores.  You may be able to find these wines at other private wine shops or restaurants, but you need to ask.

The foxly Wines can be purchased through the Foxtrot Vineyards website. The foxly Pinot Noir and Rosé are available at JAKs and at select Save On Foods stores.

Author: mywinepal
Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.

1 thought on “Sampling Foxtrot Vineyards 2020 Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay

  1. agree with your tasting notes – Raison D’Etre worked best for me too..

    Lovely wines and promising vintage

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