Ontario can make great Sauvignon Blanc and if it could only break the neck hold of New Zealand perhaps, we might taste more of it. There is some atrocious Zealie Sauvignon Blanc out there where it masquerades as a best seller but that is another story for another day.
Nyarai Cellars is a virtual winery meaning (under the stewardship of Steve Byfield) it has no winemaking facilities and actual vines in the ground it can call its own. But it uses the facilities of West Avenue Cider House in Freelton, Ontario quite nicely thank you.” Virtual winemaker” in France might be called a “negociant”.
On the nose it is different than most Zealie Sauvignon Blancs because it doesn’t grab you right off the bat with that herbal greenness and cat’s pee. This one has a good deal of tropicality to it with pineapple, guava, honey, passion fruit with that Sauvignon Blancness buried deep in its core just enough to tip you off you are indeed imbibing Sauvignon Blanc.
On the palate you can pick up some gentle tannins with a smidge of honey. Apple, baked pear with cinnamon and brown sugar. Acids are gentle making this a sippable wine but Nyarai suggests green salads with fresh herbs and goat cheese, steamed shellfish or asparagus risotto. Given the poor quality of winter Peruvian and Mexican asparagus I would let that risotto wait until local asparagus is out in May! Given a miniscule amount of local Swiss Chard is still available I might try a Chard/Butternut squash risotto prepared with two cups of this wine of course. The slight sweetness to the wine would suit the butternut squash and its acidity would be a nice play on the Chard.
Serve chilled but not cold. The wine gains complexity and length when served cool as opposed to cold!
This wine is available online at www.nyaraicellars.ca
Ninety cases were made.
(Nyarai Cellars 2021 Sauvignon Blanc VQA Niagara Peninsula, Nyarai Cellars, St. Davids, Ontario, $23.95, 750 mL, 13%, RKS Wine Rating 88/100).