Joel and Trish’s second installment of Living Loving Local happened on Sunday, May 15th at Swirl Wine bar. WineGuyTo and I love Lailey Vineyard, so we were definitely attending! The event was listed as “an intimate evening with a winemaker. The first of the series will feature the wines of Lailey Vineyards, and we will spend some time with winemaker Derek Barnett, and our hostess for the evening Jeanan Currie. Derek will take us through a tasting of 6 of his wines, and we will learn and snack while taking in the beautiful space that is Swirl Winebar in Leslieville. Food pairings will be provided, courtesy of Swirls chef Joan Olsen.” Well weren’t we surprised when Derek laughed and said he had brought 10 wines!
But first, Swirl Winebar. Tucked away on the second floor in the Queen East and Carlaw part of Leslieville, Swirl is almost missable. But once inside, the antique and quirky decoration, along with the family style tables make it homey and appealing. They have themed nights for the whole week, with drink specials. A copy of their events can be found here, I think we might be down for some game nights or Mad Men Wednesdays this summer. The owner explained the concept of the bar to us and then introduced their Chef Joan. All the food is ‘container food’, meaning that without a full kitchen, everything can be assembled/made from brought in containers. Items are sourced from area shops, such as the Leslieville Cheese market, so very local! We had 3 plates presented to us and they were great! The Saint Honore triple cream cheese was almost liquid, we dipped our fingers in! It was presented with Niagara Gold, rhubarb and ginger chutney, cherry chutney with mustard seeds and chicken liver pâté.
Derek, Lailey’s Winemaker, took us through the history of the vineyard and its owners as we sipped on some lovely whites. It was a very relaxed evening with him taking questions throughout.
So about these whites: I found the Vidal to be not overly sweet, much less than an icewine. It was smooth with a silky taste, with tart acidity at the end with crisp flavours. The 2010 Riesling had (to me) a wet laundry smell. Someone else at the table said stinky feet. It wasn’t sweet at all, but art, floral and light. The Sauvignon Blanc (not pictured) had intense sweet fruit on the nose, was sharp in the mouth and crisp but not that sweet. The 2 chardonnays were very different. The 2008 was barrel fermented with the 2009 is from old vines (1978). We were told to warm it in our hands and not serve it too cold. Both were more aromatic when warmed. The first was more mineral on the nose and acidic in the mouth. The second smelled more mature, much more refined. It had a smoother taster with a sharp middle.
On to the reds! Two Pinot Noirs: Brickyard 2008 and Old Vines 2009. The 08 had a candy smell faintly on the nose, with earthy, typical pinot nose. Gorgeous raspberry colour with a sharp, (almost vinegar sharp) taste, with big acidity right off the start, but drops off in the mouth. It was much softer that the 09 which had a smoky nose and was much sharper and tarter. I found it much cleaner and dry taste. The Syrah 2008 had an immediate campfire smoky smell, topped with lots of pepper. An almost smoked meat flavour in the mouth, also spice, ripeness and somewhat sharp on the finish. Best quote of the night came from this wine “This is just sexy!”. Next was the 07 Meritage, a Bordeaux blend. It had a clean smell, like after the rain. Much shaper when drank after the chocolate disks. I found it tart but light. Our last wine of the evening was the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. It too was light yet sharp, but in a different way. It also matched well with the chocolate (what red wine doesn’t? 🙂 )
Thanks to Joel and Trish for organizing the event, Swirl for hosting and Derek for the wonderful tasting. A great evening!