Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tasting at Lailey


Could I possibly be any more enthusiastic about Lailey? Could I possibly find another superlative to describe how I feel about these wines? Search for all my pieces about Lailey and all the hyperventilating will make sense. These wines fulfill all the criteria for what a great wine should be - typicity (of varietal), singularity (of time and place), and ageability.

I try to schedule my tasting with Derek as my last stop. I generally spend the most time here, as Derek is always very generous with his wines and his knowledge. My last visit was sadly a year ago, to taste the 2008's. I was eager to taste the 2009's now that they were in bottle, as well as to get a first look at the embryonic 2010's, focusing as always on pinot noir and syrah.

2009 Lailey Pinot Noir: floral rose petals and red fruits on the nose, so elegant on the palate; roses follow, spice on the finish; 660 cases production

2009 Lailey Brickyard Pinot Noir: brushy rose petals, elegant, acid lifts on the palate; clearly needs time; perfumed and lean, so delicious; bottled January 24, 130-140 cases production

2009 Lailey Old Vines Pinot Noir: bit reticent now, roses on an elegant palate; high toned acid, spices on the long finish; bottled end of January, only 90 cases production

2009 Lailey Canadian Oak Pinot Noir: oaky initially, giving way to rose petals and cranberries; oak needs to integrate on palate, good concentration and fine structure; a lean wine, but very elegant; 70 cases production

2009 Lailey Lot 48 Pinot Noir: initial whiff of white pepper, very elegant fruit, showing slightly more colour; ends near jammy in fruit on finish, fine acid lifts on finish, needs time for alcohol to settle; 100% from Doug Woody property, made only in 2004 and 2009 vintages, 50% new French oak

2008 Lailey Canadian Oak Pinot Noir: creamy oak, rich in depth, creamy ripe fruit; sweet but so elegant and round on the palate, soft finishing on long ripe strawberries; seductive and very approachable

2008 Lailey Old Vines Pinot Noir: bright lively ruby colour; sweet ripe fruit, almost candied but fresh; lean and elegant palate, fresh and long; absolutely delicious, acid provides great structure

2008 Lailey Syrah: spicy bouquet, high acid, lean and very linear on the finish

2009 Lailey Syrah (cask sample): oak on nose, sweet fruit, shows a degree of jamminess on the palate; rich, round, so balanced, absolutely delicious; 3 weeks from bottling

2010 Lailey Syrah (cask sample): dark in colour, lots of black pepper, dense fruit on palate; crushy, very ripe, spicy on finish; a big wine, very concentrated, will be interesting to see how this develops; put into cask on November 4, will spend about another 12 months in oak

As can be seen, all the wines reflect time, place of origin, and to a lesser degree, oak treatment. 2008 and 2009 were relatively cooler vintages, with 2009 being the slightly more concentrated wine. 2010 is looking like a monster right now, but in the right hands, should remain balanced and elegant.

More than anything, this tasting confirmed what I've been feeling for quite some time - that syrah can be done very well in Niagara. These wines show what I feel are the true characteristics of syrah, a peppery, savoury personality that is completely opposite of what most New World syrah wines are like. This is a wine to keep an eye out for.


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