Friday, March 13, 2009

Niagara Tour - Lailey Vineyard

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Ed drawing 2008 Wismer Chardonnay

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Tasting 2008 Lailey Pinot Noir

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Lailey Vineyard

Ever since that drop of 2005 Lailey Pinot Noir a few summers ago at Escabeche, I was entranced. The wine that first sparked my interest in Niagara wines, and proved to me that distinct, transcendant wine could be made here.

Ed's always been very humble and self-deprecating about Lailey wines. I admire that, because the wines speak for themselves.

We tasted a lot of wine, from barrel and bottle. The 2008's were delicious. Elegant, exceptionally delicate wines of great finesse. You would be stupid to write off this vintage, simply based on the at times awful weather we saw last year. The chardonnays were round and balanced. Pinot noirs were very fragrant, lovely roses and red fruits. The red fruits are typical of a cooler vintage, and the floral component is instantly recognizable as Niagara.

The 2007's have just been bottled, and are living up to expectations. The syrah has excellent varietal characteristics, lots of white pepper and buttery soft tannins. Pinot noirs have depth and structure, and are no doubt built for aging. Chardonnays are very refined, with layers of fruit.

This is just an overview of the wines we tasted, and were the ones that stood out. I was lucky - the 2007 pinot noirs are all sold out, but Ed found a few unlabelled ones for me. I wish they had been left bare bottled.

Again, Lailey proves that it creates balanced, terroir-driven wines of great personality and class. Maybe, like Thirty Bench, it would benefit with less varietals - strengths are clearly pinot noir and chardonnay. Really exceptional wines, that will turn anyone into a believer. Thanks Ed, I'll see you in a few months!

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