2001 Lailey Vineyard Chardonnay, VQA Niagara Peninsula
This was the bottle of wine we tasted at the winery on Friday - Derek managed to find a few cases of this wine, surprising everyone. I was floored at first taste...only later did I realize this was a wine in perfect maturity.
The bottle Derek opened at the winery showed beautifully, and I must confess that I had a sudden fear that this was an outlier. Quick - the only way to prove otherwise was to open a bottle I had lying around at home. I decanted for about 3 hours before serving, at a slightly chilled temperature.
In the decanter, this is an absolutely beautiful wine. Amber in colour, in fact, looking very mature. Amazingly, the colour clears up considerably in the glass, to what you see above. Dense yellow gold, but still looking quite youthful. I've never seen a wine change colour like that. On the nose, this wine has an intense bouquet of sweet tangerine and citrus fruit, with a creaminess and a lot of chardonnay character. A musky minerality underlines. Very complex, with a freshness that belies its age.
On the palate, this is a delicious wine. The decanting really helps. There's a beautiful buttery weight on a silky texture. The fruit follows, but doesn't show as sweet as on the nose. A wonderful texture. The bitter lemon zest on the finish becomes a bit more integrated with air, but this wine has length. Long, long finish.
This wine is profound. An amazing taste of what a true Niagara wine can deliver. Aging very well, but I think this wine has still some way to go. We'll see. In 3-5?
An interesting note, something which showed up in the winery as well. There's wine diamonds! There was a hard sediment forming on that cork, as well as on the wine I opened at home. This is completely harmless, and is simply tartic acid crystallizing from cold temperatures. If anything, this is a good thing. High acidity in the wine, stored properly, and non-manipulated. What more could you ask for in a wine of the terroir?