Getting Bubbly With Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards’ 2013 ‘Fitz’ Brut

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by Treve Ring | Though Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards may be a new name on the BC wine scene, the Fitzpatrick family needs no introduction. With four generations of agricultural roots in the Okanagan, they were one of the first eight pioneering wineries in BC with Senator Ross Fitzpatrick’s 1986 founding of CedarCreek, in Kelowna. Though they sold the winery and most estate vineyards to Mission Hill Family Estate in 2014, the Fitzpatrick family held on to the historic Greata Ranch site, a spectacular sloping lakeside location between Peachland and Summerland. Established in 1895, it was one of the most prolific orchards in the Okanagan. Now, renamed as Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards, the special site is primed for another renaissance, with a focus on serious, traditional method fizz.

The 2013 Fitz Brut is the 2nd vintage to be released from this impressive wine program, under the watchful eye of talented Kiwi winemaker Sarah Bain, previously of Burn Cottage and Quartz Reef. This is a 53/47 pinot noir/chardonnay cuvee that spent 27 months in the bottle on its lees. Ripe green apple, lemon, light white cherry anchors the wine amid ample minerality and a brisk, linear, taut fizz – albeit a slightly fleshier frame than the inaugural (and very shearing) 2012. It is drinking beautifully now, but will continue to hold for five + years. Impressive start. Respect. I recently asked Sarah about the message in a bottle of Fitz 2013 Brut…

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Fitzpatrick 2013 Fitz Brut | Okanagan Valley | $33 | Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards

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Where are the grapes from? Greata Ranch, planted in 1995.

Your ideal pairing with this wine would be…? Fried Chicken and Oysters with Shaved Foie Gras from AnnaLena. Or Angus An’s chef’s table at Maenam.

Straight up, why did you make this wine? After 30 years in pioneering Okanagan wine we wanted to do something special with our Greata Ranch Property. We had all the right ingredients: 20 year old Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Vines, and Shades Gift. The latter is the effect due to Mt. Eneas. Situated directly to our west, the mountain has two effects on our vineyard. During the early evening, the sun drops behind it and its shadow casts across the vineyard. Vines require direct light to break down acids in the fruit. As a result of this indirect light, the acids in our grapes are slightly higher than most. The second effect is as a radiator of heat. Because it faces into the sun all day, the slope warms and absorbs heat all day long, which it radiates back at night. This is especially useful in the fall as it can extend the hang time of our grapes by protecting them from the night time chill.

What do you drink when you’re not drinking BC wine? Tasting our way through Grower Champagne.

Favourite BC wine, other than yours? Culmina Hypothesis 2012.

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