On Tour: Anyela’s Vineyards
Central New York has plenty to offer in the way of breweries, wineries and distilleries. As we tour around some of the best the area has to offer, we feel it’s something every visitor and local alike should sample. We’ve already visited a brewery in Cazenovia. In this article, we explore one of the best wineries Skaneateles has to offer.
Tucked into the hills on the west bank of Skaneateles lake, Anyela’s Vineyards is a gem of Central New York. Patti and James Nocek’s quaint winery offers the perfect setting to try locally grown wine.
In the rustic converted farmhouse, wine connoisseurs mingle with first-time drinkers. A small lounge area opens up onto a patio where a band is playing soft jazz riffs while patrons enjoy the fruits of the Noceks’ labor. The vibe is upmarket, yet welcoming.
The semi-circular bar in the front room is the main attraction. That’s because it’s the primary tasting station. The wood-paneled rafters help frame the wall of award-winning wines that Anyela has to offer. Josh Moshaty, a bespectacled, bearded staff member, is serving multiple customers an array of wines from the selection. It was my turn now.
Per Moshaty’s instructions, I was going from whites to the reds, dry to sweet and back to dry. First up was their Chardonnay. Similar to the variety famous in the Hawke’s Bay region of New Zealand, Anyela’s had a buttery mouthfeel and a tropical sweetness both in the palette and the nose. The dry finish made for a delectably drinkable start to the tasting.
Next on the list was the Riesling, a wine, according to Moshaty, that is common in the central New York area because of the similarity in climates to the wine’s home country: Germany. A very clean finish was made whole by a very smooth texture and subtle taste. The Riesling showcased that a white wine could be sweet without being overpoweringly so.
Anyela’s best-selling overall wine is their Avail. A blend of Chardonnay, Riesling and Cayuga whites, the Avail is the perfect blend of sweetness and fruit. Beginning with notes of pineapple, this wine is rounded off with a similar mouthfeel to the Chardonnay. The Avail doesn’t carry the complexity of the single grape wines but is an inexpensive alternative for those that like a little sweetness in their white.
One of the two rosés that Anyela’s offer is made using the Pinot Noir grape. While usually very sweet, this rosé packs a deep red-style punch thanks to the skins coming off the grapes earlier than usual. It’s surprising flavor makes it a delightful wine for bold red fans who need something lighter to drink in the summer.
The red selection has a sharper contrast of flavors. All but two of Anyela’s reds are grown out west, on a vineyard in Fredonia. One of the two grapes grown on their Skaneateles site is their Pinot Noir. Their Pinot Noir Reserve, Anyela’s premium bottle, is a wonderfully complex Pinot that, instead of having a smooth, understated taste, combines the lightness one expects from a Pinot with significant strawberry notes. A dry finish brings the wine back to familiarity but the complex middle and fuller-bodied texture make for a compelling, delicious alternative to a standard Pinot Noir.
That is not to say that Anyela’s standard Pinot Noir is to be scoffed at. While offering a little less berry flavoring than the Reserve, this spiced wine offers a tiny variation in texture with a cleaner finish.
The wine gets darker. Anyela’s Merlot quickly transitions from the slightly opaque Pinot to the deep maroon of the Merlot. Their version of the classic red has the strong cassis smell that, coupled with the body, makes for a thoroughly appetizing wine. The berry flavor is present throughout, even in the finish. A velvety texture and very dry finish ensures this wine oozes comfort.
Moshaty introduces the Cab Franc as “more light sherry” and less earthy than standard Cabernets. There is the recognizable bitterness and a smooth, berry flavored body, but the bite is less harsh than the Cabernet Sauvignon’s I’ve had in the past.
The star of the show was Anyela’s Noiret. Developed by the NY Agricultural Experiment station, this peppery (it’s not at all as severe as it sounds), spicy, complex wine combines flavors that would not be expected to work, yet complement the dry, smooth textured, very purple body. The grape is a cool climate grape said Moshaty. A unique and memorable wine for those with a more adventurous palette.
To finish, Anyela’s best-selling red, Overlay. The sharp nose but light texture are very pleasant. A sweet berry flavor exudes from the blended wine. An apt way to finish an in-depth tour into Anyela’s selection.
The afternoon has now brightened, if ever so slightly. A warming haze surrounds the edges of my vision as the soft jazz pleases the ears. The overall ambivalence of the patrons enjoying a sweet escape of a weekend is as comforting as the still dry berry taste on my lips. As the sun begins to set on the lake, being tucked away in the hills surrounded by the grapes is a great way to spend a few hours escaping everyday life.