When we decided to spend a couple extra days in the Niagara area, I knew where I wanted to stay. In my previous post I had referred to “Among the Vines B&B” as my second home so after a quick exchange with Carollynn, we were confirmed. I wanted to check in on the winery progress and see how the new building was coming along. And it had nothing to do with the great breakfasts Carollynn serves. Well, OK. I lied. It was really all about breakfast and the winery was just a bonus.
A second bonus was that Joe and Carollynn mentioned that Steve Byfield of Nyarai (apparently pronounced “Na-rye”, although I thought I heard it as “Nur-rye”) Cellars was going to be around and wanted to meet us. We had learned in the fall that Steve was moving his virtual winery from Calamus to Diprofio and indeed he had been pressing later the same day that we had witnessed the Cab Franc pressing. [Virtual wineries are allowed allowed to make wine at an existing winery under their manufacturing license. While it helps financially as you do not need to invest in the capital equipment (renting time on the equipment and/or space in the cellar for example), the wine can only be sold online or at the winery where it has been made. Some virtual wines are on the shelf at the winery where they were manufactured, others aren’t, so access to these wines can be even more difficult than the regular Ontario wines.]
First – I have to post the breakfast pictures I missed last time:
Day 1: The menu consists of fresh fruit, delicious & fluffy homemade scones, scrambled eggs and bacon (2 kinds), and a dessert that Carollynn insists everyone still has room for in their “sweet belly”.
And Day 2: Grapefruit, French toast (made with cinnamon buns) & sausage, fresh fruit bowl sprinkled with icewine. Ignore the bites out of stuff…I got carried away before I snapped the picture! 🙂
Where was I? Oh yes, back to the wine!
Steve popped in at the end of breakfast (in time to enjoy some of the sweet cake and tea). We chatted about the wine industry and the challenges facing virtual wineries like himself. After a while vehemently agreeing that this was the craziest, most restrictive market to start a winery in, we headed over to the DiProfio processing room (currently the converted barn) to sample some of Steve’s creations.
Here’s what he pulled from the tanks for us to sample:
2011 Nyarai Sauvignon Blanc: A combination of fruit from three different vineyards, this cold fermented beauty is all about traditional Sauv Blanc with crisp grassy, gooseberry notes. This wine sings “Summer is here!”. His Sauvignon Blanc has been a hit with sommeliers and wine critics alike since his first vintage and although the heat of 2010 produced a bigger and heavier Sauv Blanc, Steve welcomed the return to the crisper product of 2011. I certainly enjoyed the burst of summer.
2011 Nyarai Cellars Viognier: Done more in a cool climate (Rhone) style with drier and more aromatic notes, the nose pleases with almond and honey notes. Given how cold the wine was, some of the aromatics were hard to detect. The palate has a light essence of stone fruit (peaches and apricots come to mind) and the mouthfeel is crisp and minerally, with little of the oily texture found in some viogniers. Steve noted that there is fruit from two vineyards that will be blended in the final product (we were sampling one), so it will be neat to try the final product.
Steve’s current production numbers are still small (artisanal), with about 360 cases of Sauv Blanc, 140 cases of Viognier, and 380 cases of a new red blend aptly named “Cadence” in a tribute to his musical background.
Steve mentioned that the 2007 Veritas (33% Cabernet Franc, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot and 13% Syrah ) is drinking beautifully right now, so I plan to dig out the bottles in my cellar soon. I’m really looking forward to the new whites when they release. Rumour has it they will be bottling sometime in early May!
As for the Diprofio winery, it is definitely coming along. Plans are in place to open late next quarter (May/June).
And being an engineer, I was fascinated by the filtration system that the wastewater from the winery will pass through before hitting the secondary septic bed. If I got my facts right, the water is triple filtered through these beds before going into the secondary, removing any impurities.