I first tried the Lailey Vineyard Syrah on a visit to the vineyard back in January. We had gone to the Niagara icewine festival with the folks from iYellow Wine Club (who, by the way, got some great coverage in last week’s Wine Confidential documentary on the CBC. Congrats Ange and Pax!)
Lailey is one of Niagara’s smaller vineyards with only 23 acres of grapes. Their crop is hand-harvested and herbicide-free, making their product fairly labour-intensive. We tried a selection of their offerings when visiting the winery and while many in our tour walked away with bottles of their Merlot, I have a soft spot for Syrahs.
The colour is more garnet than ruby, with a spicy peppery note to the nose that remains obvious on the tongue. It’s quite dry, to the point of being “sweatery” if it’s served too cold (yeah, I know, that’s not a real wine-drinking term, but imagine the feeling of having a mouthful of wool sweater), and the blackberry notes are rather tart. I get a lot of tobacco taste from this wine, specifically fruity pipe tobacco, which might just be why I like it so much, as it reminds me of the cherry-flavoured tobacco my Dad used to smoke when I was a kid. It’s mid-weight, not too heavy.
Recommended pairings are with lamb or game meat, something hearty that can stand up to the spiciness. I actually had it with a variety of handmade chocolates from Alain Vaidie from Quebec and found the Syrah went really nicely with the stronger-flavoured truffles such as fig, ginger and coffee caramel.
Lailey includes reviews of their wines on their website, with Toronto Life‘s David Lawrason recommending this wine to be best between 2008 – 2012, and Tony Aspler recommending it only until 2009.