When we were choosing wineries to visit during our Niagara trip, I knew that I wanted to make time to visit Di Profio Wines. I always enjoy chatting with Joe Di Profio on Twitter and I was interested in seeing the difference between a very new winery (DiProfio opened its tasting bar this year) and some of the older wineries in the area.
We arrived at opening on Saturday morning and were greeted by Joe Di Profio Sr. He and his partner Carollynn Desjardinas are the heart and soul of Di Profio Wines, although it's certainly a family affair. Their son Fred is the head winemaker at Di Profio and son Joe Jr. is also involved, though from a distance as he currently lives in Halifax.
Carollynn arrived shortly after Joe on the day of our visit and gave us a great overview of the history behind Di Profio. It's certainly a unique story - she and Joe had worked in education and administration before retiring and had never really entertained the idea of opening a winery. As they considered their options for retirement, though, their son kept bringing up the idea. After finding the wonderful vineyards they now own, they decided to take a chance.
Fred is a seasoned wine industry veteran and Joe Sr. had grown up in a wine-making family, so they certainly had a good basis for their new venture. The vineyard they bought came with a large, spacious house, so they've also opened Among the Vines, a charming B&B that sits at the top of their drive - only a short hop away from their new tasting bar, The Zinc.
Already, the wines are showing more than promise. Their 2010 Cab Sauvignon won Silver and their 2011 Riesling won Bronze at the Intervin International Wine Competition this year. Of course, I had to sample some of these wines!
I started with the 2011 Riesling, which is one of their best sellers. This one has a citrus nose and citrus undertones when you taste. It's a fresh, crisp Riesling and not too sweet. I made sure to pick up a bottle of this one.
Then we moved on to the 2011 Gamay Rosé, which is very unique. This is a very dry wine that is not blended. It has a bit of peppery taste to it, though it has quite a fruity nose. Our lovely host, Sharon, suggested that it's a perfect pairing for smoked salmon and a good option for entertaining.
We then moved on to the 2011 Gamay Noir, which is another of Di Profio's best sellers. This one has a lovely, cherry-tinged nose and a great mouth feel. It would be a perfect BBQ wine.
Our next wine was the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, which is a great wine for fall. The tannins are nicely balanced and it has a nice spicy feel. We also picked up a bottle of this wine, as I suspect Shawn will really enjoy it.
To finish, we tried the award-winning 2011 Late Harvest Vidal. I was a little hesitant, as I tend not to like ice or dessert wines, but after hearing Carollynn's story about picking the grapes by hand (very, very cold hands), I decided to give it a try. I'm very glad that I did. Sharon compared this to the juice at the bottom of fruit cups and I think that's certainly a fair comparison. This is an ice wine that's heavy, but not cloying and - a descriptor that will likely make serious wine writers cringe - super yummy. This one I definitely had to take home.
We also had the opportunity to tour the winery while we were visiting. Di Profio doesn't currently offer regular winery tours, but they are more than happy to show you around if they have someone available to take you.
Below are some of the photos from our tour.
Di Profio may be the new kid on the block in Jordan/Niagara, but their wines are already standing side by side with their more established neighbours. We so enjoyed meeting the family and the lovely Cellar Sisters, who were visiting that day. The Cellar Sisters represent the winery as agents, but were there to help with harvest right alongside Joe, Carollynn and Fred.
We will definitely be back to visit Di Profio on our next trip to the area - and we're hopeful that this time we'll be able to snag a room at Among the Vines.
If you liked this post, you might also enjoy Wines in Niagara's post about Di Profio's opening weekend. Rick VanSickle has some great photos and tasting notes for even more wines.