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  • Lailey Vineyard set a new standard with its collection of 2009 Pinot Noirs
  • Flat Rock Cellars 2009 Estate Pinot Noir
 

Set to Impress

The new benchmark for Ontario Pinot

Seasoned grape grower Donna Lailey has a unique take on why Lailey Vineyard’s 2009 crop of Pinot Noir ranks as the estate’s very best. “The grandkids were able to pick the fruit,” says Lailey, who started farming in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario in 1970. “It was pristine. Every bunch was perfect.”

The raw material was there for winemaker Derek Barnett to craft stunning versions of the Brickyard Vineyard, Canadian Oak and Old Vines Pinots from the estate. Barnett also turned out an impressive Lot 48 reserve, produced with grapes from an escarpment site in Vineland, Ontario.

But the wine that truly expresses the unmatched calibre of the 2009 vintage is the entry-level Niagara Peninsula Pinot Noir, which blends estate-grown and Vinelandsourced fruit to produce a sumptuous wine with a delicious core of red fruit. This unassuming $25 bottle is head and shoulders above most top-of-the-line Pinots that cost twice the price.

The overarching quality of Pinot Noir from 2009 isn’t exclusive to Lailey. Serious Pinot producers from across the province have crafted their best examples yet.

The reserve wines, which are being readied for botting, offer amazing dimension and layering of flavour. They’re a timely reminder that cooler vintages in Ontario can yield impressive reds.

Star Selections

Norman Hardie Winery 2009 Pinot Noir Unfiltered, Niagara Peninsula $39
Hardie is so bullish on 2009 Pinots that he’s set aside barrels to create his Cuvée L label, which combines grapes from Niagara and Prince Edward County and is only made in great years. His stand-alone Niagara Pinot offers generous fruit, great texture and length. A keeper. normanhardie.com


Inniskillin Wines 2009 Winemaker’s Series Three Vineyards Pinot Noir Niagara Peninsula $19.75 (175174)
Here’s a complex, mouthfilling wine brimming over with cherry/berry fruit and spicy oak. Nice earthiness and savoury notes accent the palate. inniskillin.com


Flat Rock Cellars 2009 Estate Pinot Noir Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula $19.95 (001545)
Tell-tale Pinot Noir cherry and savoury notes mark the aroma and palate of this generous red wine. Riper berry notes flesh out the palate, making this Flat Rock’s best Estate Pinot to date. flatrockcellars.com


Lailey Vineyard 2009 Pinot Noir Niagara Peninsula $25
This showcases the potency of the 2009 vintage with its ripe core of fruit and supple texture. If Lailey’s entry-level Pinot is so enjoyable, the sky’s the limit for the ones still in barrel. laileyvineyard.com



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