From the Cellar

Just because I started a website called doesn't mean it's All-Ontario-All-the-Time. When I kick back at night my mood (and sometimes my curiosity) decides my wine of choice. And the title should read, "Uncorked and Un-Screwed Tonight" ... but that just sounds wrong.

Bersano 2000 / 2017 Barbera D'Asti Costalunga (Italy)

22 Jul 2021


Bersano(December 27, 2020) ... So I tried the 2017 version of this wine recently and while traipsing thruough my cellar I noticed I had a 20 year version of the same wine ... so it just demanded I give the wines a go side-by-side.

2000 Costalunga ... To be expected the wine showed immediately the signs of its age: forest floor, licorice, smoke, harsh acidity and earthy undertones. It was a little long in the tooth, the fruit was gone and in its place were the secondary and tertiary characteristics - it even delved into the realm of "quarterly" aromas and flavours as things began to smell and taste burnt, like  ground and used coffee beans and burnt chocolate. Sorry Bersano, this one was not built to last this long - heck I would have been totally surprised if it had survived; but then I'm the guy who held it this long.

2017 Costalunga ... Now, this is a real treat and treasure, granted it is the current vintage that I could find around me (and I was sent and tasted a bottle earlier the previous month): red fruit galore backed with good acidity to balance out that fruit. Obviously, when compared to the above it was much fresher with lots of currants and cranberry, spiced-sour-cherry and even some pencil shavings to contrast that fruit. After being opened for an hour the red fruit really exposes itself brilliantly and that acidity packs the punch to beat it back so that it knows its place. Find some and buy some, but don't wait 20 years to drink 'em.

Moral of the story ... drink these wines younger than older, you'll get more out of them: 10 years maximum.

Carol Shelton 2010 Monga Zin (California)

13 Jul 2021

Monga Zin


(December 25, 2020) ... Slow braised short ribs over a bowl of egg noodles for dinner and thus a bottle of Zin needed to make an appearance; first time that a turkey has not seen my plate on a Christmas night in a long time - and you know what? I was okay with that.  This Carol Shelton Monga was a delight ... it was when I bought it and it is this many years later: leather and black plum kick off the show, on the palate, plus there are some vanilla, cedar and even some port like nuances ... I ate a little and let the wine breathe ... 30-45 minutes later the thing blossomed and bloomed: blackberry jam, good acidity to balance out sweet fruit, nice tannin backbone that smoothed out as it hit the finish and provided notes of ground coffee on the finish. Plus there's a fun little smoky note that was underscored by vanilla and spiced plum. Such a delight and a delicious pairing.


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