For more than three years, Patrick Vaughn and Zack Klug have been working on opening the newest winery in New York’s Niagara winemaking region and releasing its first vintage. At the end of May, the duo achieved their initial goals when Liten Buffel opened its doors to the public. With that, Niagara gained a natural, biodynamic and sustainable winery with aims to make the finest pinot noir, syrah and riesling from the Niagara Escarpment AVA and surrounding Niagara region.
Liten Buffel is located on a parcel of land in Middleport on the Niagara Escarpment sloping down to the Niagara Lake Shore. The property features a winery and production facility (complete with tasting room) alongside a 4.5-acre vineyard. The vineyard is made up of 65% pinot noir, 25% syrah and 10% riesling. The winery hopes to produce vinifera wines from estate grown fruit as the vineyard matures.
Winemaker, Zack Klug has worked at Vizcarra Vineyards, Freedom Run Winery & Vineyards and Leonard Oakes Estate Winery. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Liten Buffel. This coupled with his love for pinot noir adds another devoted producer to the region that should help to push it forward. Patrick and Zack’s vision for their winery will help elevate the reputation of the region alongside the efforts of other venerable vinifera producers.
Liten Buffel is presently offering its first vintage consisting of three wines. The first is a blend of gewürztraminer and riesling – the 2015 Winediva White. It would pair well with a wide array of dishes and do well on its own. The second is a cuvée of New York riesling – 2015 Riesling. The riesling shows good fruit and structure, ready for enjoyment now. The final wine is a pinot noir made from fruit sourced from Quast Vineyard on the Niagara Escarpment – 2015 Pinot Noir. This wine shows restrained use of oak which allows the cherry notes to be at the forefront. The first vintage was made at Chateau Niagara in Newfane while the winery was being built. The second vintage is in tank and barrel at the winery presently and will be bottled in the new facility.
Liten Buffel is open daily from 12:00-6:00 p.m. for tastings and retail. It makes a great stop as you tour the wineries of the Niagara Escarpment. We recommend putting it on your tasting itinerary this week or next time you get out on the trail!