Owner(s): Voytek and Alicja Fizyta
Winemaker: Mike Lentini
Open to Public
Mon-Thu 11:30 to 4; Fri 11:30 to 9; Sat 12 to 6; Sun 12 to 5
15010 Roddy Road, Thurmont, MD 21788
Catoctin Breeze Vineyard Profile
Written by Brian—Aug 15, 2018
Part of owner Voytek Fizyta’s justification for opening a winery was, he just “wanted to drink good wine.” It’s fair to say that Catoctin Breeze Vineyard near Frederick, Maryland has far exceeded that single expectation.
With plans to open his winery, Fizyta purchased property on the eastern face of the Catoctin Mountains in 2004. With good exposure, orientation, drainage and cooling mountain breezes, the site was perfect for viticulture. In 2010, Fizyta began planting Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Viognier. Additional vines were added incrementally. By the end of 2018 there will be eight acres under vine.
Winemaker Mike Lentini lives just across the border in Pennsylvania and he has been with Catoctin Breeze since the beginning. Lentini is a skilled craftsman, who turns the estate fruit into world-class wine. Currently he turns out about 2000 cases annually and, when all of the vines mature, it is hoped that will increase to 3000 cases.
The Catoctin Breeze wines are uniformly of the highest quality. I tasted several during my visit. Among the whites, I sampled a Viognier, a lovely Sauvignon Blanc and a pair of Chardonnays. The estate Chard was particularly impressive. Its balance, nice fruit and bright acidity made this offering stand out. It is a potential award winner.
The reds included a very nice, medium bodied Cabernet Franc, a red blend and a stunning Syrah that took best in class at the Atlantic Seaboard competition. It is the Barbera, however, that requires specific mention. That grape is used by many wineries, but it is not often done well. The Catoctin Breeze example has great fruit, complexity and tannic structure. In short, this wine is just off the charts and was the highlight of the tasting.
Wine is the main event, but not the entire story at Catoctin Breeze. The property, framed against the Catoctin Mountains, is absolutely stunning. The tasting room hosts live music on the weekends and a food truck on Friday evening. There is room for some smallish private events like a birthday party, bridal shower or corporate outing, but this is not a wedding venue.
Located just minutes from Route 15 between Frederick and Gettysburg, this must-visit winery is easily accessible. So there are no excuses. You need to stop in and after you do, please let me know what you think.