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.

Shinas Estate 2009 The Verdict

08 Aug 2023


This is a Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia I'd never seen before, it was recommended to me by my buddy Dave in Michigan - if you look close enough at the picture you can see the orange price tag and maybe even the price. I asked Dave what he thought the wine would be like today: "Should be great upon opening, falling off after an hour." - he's only partially right

Shinas Verdict 2009Full disclosure, I did have this in the fridge so it was a little too cold when it emerged. I waited 30 minutes before opening and trying it, to give it a better chance of survival. It was under screwcap, so no worries there. But when poured into the glass it was extremely cloudy (unfiltered?).

Aromas ... Oh God, this smells terrible - full on pruney and not in a good way (can there be a pruney good way?).

Taste ... Poorly made port ... It was nasty just sweet and unexciting - I was ready to dump and try something else, but I persevered, and gave it some more time.

30 mins open ... Ok, now we are starting to see signs of life: Eucalyptus, sweet black cherry, still has a pruney-ness about it, but it isn't as god-awful as I had feared from the beginning - cloudiness is still there.

1 hr open ... Hmmm ... Developing a sweet raspberry jam quality - interesting.

2 hrs open ... Yeah, it's totally pruney, it never lost that aspect, but it did also develop notes of sweet dried fruits like raspberry and strawberry. It's old-sweet-fruit here - it's good but not great; tasty but not fresh; there were port/sherry-like nuances that detracted, but did not fully take me out of the experience.

Bottom Line ... Can't say either way- it's not the best old screwcap find I've had, but it certainly isn't the worst old wine I've had either. It's a middling wine that is past it's prime, but still held my interest for a few hours. It's gone from "really good" (youth) to "I guess I'll drink it"(now). Not sure it was built for 14 years, but it was decent fun for a Saturday night.

*Every wine is an education.

Montes 2012 Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon

06 Aug 2023


Found this on the wine rack and thought, "maybe it's time for an older wine".

Opens easily; for a 10+ year old wine the cork is in great shape, no seepage up the cork - the colour is all contained on the end. Montes Alpha CS 2012

Aromas ... Might need to chill this wine a touch - it is coming off a little hot on the nose, but there certainly is quite a bit of dark fruit and spice: black cherry and mint dominate.

Taste ... Nose does not lie: black cherry and mint, with blackberry, cassis and subtle smoke on the finish, this just lingers on the palate and makes one smack their lips looking for me.

(Putting wine into the fridge for half an hour)

1 - 2.5 hrs open ... Lovely blackberry and spice. The mint is a feature that screams "Chile" to me. This is a delightful wine, ready now but still has a number of years ahead.

➡️ Bottom Line ... Outstanding bottle of wine.


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