Liten Buffel opened at noon, so we gave them until around 4pm before showing up – how could we pass up the opportunity to visit on their first day?
Liten Buffel is the brainchild of friends Zack Klug and Patrick Vaughn. With a background in the industry and having spent time at many area wineries, it seems an obvious next step for Klug. Add in the business prowess from Vaughn, and a dynamic partnership was born. Before even tasting the wine, the aesthetic of Liten immediately stands apart; the design features are paired with guest’s ability to view the wine barrels and tanks just steps from the lounge area. The addition of a finished second floor should generate interest from those who want to hang out, as well as catering to small events down the road.
After getting a tour of the winery and meeting several loyal family members of the owners, we found a place at the tasting bar. Once again, the experience is in the details: appropriate stemware, a myriad of literary quotes adorn the menus, and a scenic view behind the bar.
We started with a white table wine, Wine Diva. The label was more playful and didn’t include the winery’s logo, a fun deviation from the others. The blend of Gewürztraminer and Riesling turned out to be one of the two wines we enjoyed the most.
The other wine that came home with us was their Pinot Noir. I’m not always the biggest fan of how this varietal is presented in New York, but really enjoyed this wine that stems from the Quast Vineyard (this should be familiar to you if you have experienced Freedom Run, one of our favorites).
While they only have three wines on their tasting menu, what we sampled from the tanks gave a promising look at what’s to come. Additionally, the conversation that a sparkling wine might be coming was music to Alix’s ears. Stay tuned…
Zack and Pat have done a great job at putting together a product that should do well, though targeted at a very specific market. As Liten Buffel identifies as a national venue, I could see guests who are looking for a solely Niagara Region product being turned off. Though at this point in time Liten sources their grapes elsewhere, it will be interesting to see what transpires as they work on their own vineyard. In my opinion, if you’re looking for good wine in the area, Liten Buffel needs to be on your list. The $23-$35 price tag shouldn’t scare you away, and in the end it’s about drinking a good product, which this winery clearly offers.
Let’s be honest, the wine itself helps to create “spontantwous” experience. The kind that involves Pinot Noir, horses, late night cooking, one slipper, and a cork balancing on the ceiling fan.
P.S. It was great seeing Jim Baker (winemaker/owner of Chateau Niagara) and his better half during our trip.