Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lailey Vineyards Big Pinot Tasting

Lailey Vineyard Big Pinot Tasting 2013
(From Left to Right: 2010 Pinots, 2011 Pinots, and 2012 Pinots)
This would be my second time attending this sit down Pinot tasting. The last tasting I attended we compared Lailey's 2009 Pinot Noirs to their 2010's. This years format was a bit different, as their 2011 Pinots were not up to their liking. To fix this they blended three vineyards into one and called it 3.7 (3 Vineyards and 7 barrels). Lailey Vineyard winemaker Derek Barnett came up with a great wine line-up for this tasting. We started with two of their 2011 Chardonnays and then moved onto their Pinots. Over the course of the tasting, Derek discussed many different topics. From the issue of colour (or lack their of in Lailey Pinot's) to the challenges that each vintage gave during the growing season. The wines were paired with delicious food pairings by Chef Ryan Crawford. Here is the wine breakdown by flight.

Flight 1: Chardonnay
Lailey Vineyard 2011 Chardonnay Brickyard: $30
- Golden straw in colour. Aromas of citrus fruit, apple, and minerality. Citrus fruit on the palate with great mouth feel. I really enjoy this form of chardonnay, not too much oak. It ended with great acidity and a touch of apple spice. Great length. 91 Points

Lailey Vineyard 2011 Chardonnay Canadian Oak: $25
- Golden straw in colour. Aromas of coconut, tropical citrus fruit and a bit buttery. Very interesting to see the effect Canadian Oak has on chardonnay. This wine had a heavier mouth feel and continued with tropical fruit. A bit of spice on the end with low acidity. Length seemed to flatten out and fade. Surprisingly this was the favourite of the group, but not for me. 87 Points

Flight 2: 2010 Pinot Noir
Lailey Vineyard 2010 Pinot Noir Canadian Oak: Sold Out
- This is my second time tasting Lailey's 2010 Pinots. Pale ruby colour. Aromas of sour cherries, spice, and cedar. On the palate the sour cherries continued with strong acidity with decent length. I felt that the 2010's were one dimensional, as their were fruit in your mouth with little complexity. This may be due to the warm vintage. Enjoyable, but nothing to make you stop and think. 87 Points

Lailey Vineyard 2010 Pinot Noir Brickyard: $35
- Pale ruby in colour. This 2010 had a little less sour cherry on the nose and was accompanied by strawberries and minerality. The red fruit continued on the palate, along with spice. A very light and fresh wine. A winner with the group. It still had the big fruit, but was a bit more interesting on the finish. 88 Points

Flight 3: 2011 Pinot Noir
Lailey Vineyard 2011 Pinot Noir Niagara Peninsula: $25
- The fruit for this wine is sourced from different vineyards in the Niagara Peninsula. This is their entry level Pinot Noir. There were only two Pinot Noir labels made in 2011, the Niagara Peninsula and the 3.7. Pale ruby in colour. Aromas of cherries, cedar box, and spice. Good red fruit and acidity on the palate. A bit more complex due to the cooler growing season. 89 Points

Lailey Vineyard 2011 Pinot Noir 3.7: $25
- Like I stated before at the beginning. The 3.7 label was created because Derek felt that blending three of their vineyards would be the best path to take in 2011. This was very creative problem solving on Derek's behalf, and it turned out to be a very enjoyable wine. Pale ruby in colour. More appealing nose of light red fruit and minerality. It had a good creamy mouth feel and great acidity. I bought a bottle for the cellar to see where it will go. The better 2011 of the two Pinots. 90 Points

Flight 4: 2012 Pinot Noir
* Here is a quick rundown of the 2012 growing season. Derek stated that it was the easiest growing season he has ever had. The weather was near perfect throughout the year and made some wines that I am looking forward to trying again in the fall. My scores for these two wines may change as they unfold.

Lailey Vineyard 2012 Pinot Noir Wismer (Lot 48)
- The Colour in these wines were the complete opposite of the 2010's & 2011's, as both 2012 were dark ruby in colour. Aromas of cedar, sweet red fruit. Great red fruit on the palate and outrageous drying tannins and strong acidity. A more delicate wine between the two. I have never tasted a Pinot Noir like this in Niagara. It will be very interesting to see where this wine ends up. A favourite of my wife and I. 92 Points now......

Lailey Vineyard 2012 Pinot Noir Old Vines
- Dark ruby in colour. It had a similar nose of cedar and red fruit, but was a bit lighter on the nose. On the palate the red fruit was very faint. The fruit was being overthrown by the huge, bully tannins. Nice acidity to back up those muscular tannins. This wine made my mouth feel like it just went ten rounds with Mike Tyson, a very strong pinot. Very unique to Niagara. I am very eager to see how these two turn out. 91 Points now.....

Lailey Vineyard 2009 Brickyard Pinot Noir

(Surprise) Flight 5: 2009 Pinot Noir
Lailey Vineyard 2009 Brickyard Pinot Noir: $35
- Since Derek started talking about colour in their Pinots, he decided to open a bottle of their 2009 Brickyard Pinot Noir, a real treat! 2009 was a wonderful year for pinot noir in Niagara and a favourite vintage to look for when shopping or out at a restaurant. These wines are drinking well right now and could live on for another three to four years. This wine was wonderful. It's colour was a lovely meadium ruby. It had a complex nose of strawberry, cranberry, cedar box, and minerality. The red fruit continued in the mouth. This Pinot had great mouth feel and was long lasting. A wine that you would want to savour slowly to take in it's beauty. 93 Points

Bravo to Lailey and their team.

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