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When I first got interested in collecting wines to age about four years ago, I had a lot to learn but had much more fun buying wines. I foolishly thought that any red wine would get better with age which I sadly learned is not true. Many high quality reds like premium Napa Cabs most certainly improve with time, but many of the wines produced specifically to drink right away get flat and tasteless. Determining which category a wine falls into can be a challenge.

During this same time period three to four years ago, I was also very fond of full bodied wines like Shiraz from Australia and my favorite winery producing that style of wine was Kilikanoon. We bought a whole bunch and raved about it to friends and then for a variety of reasons got distracted and moved on to other wines. Part of that change was a result of my interest in lighter bodied and more “elegant” wines.

This past Christmas weekend, we opened a 2005 Cabernet from Kilikanoon and I am embarrassed to say that I had low expectations. For some reason I was expecting something fruity and so high in alcohol that it burned one’s throat. I was very wrong and the wine turned out to be truly lovely and earthy and balanced after those years in the cellar. After we got home from our Christmas trip I opened another to see if the results were consistent and they were. With a quick dinner of burgers and sweet potato fries the wine really opened up nicely. You don’t need fancy food to bring out the best in a wine. Just good food.


One thing that I noticed when we had the wine on the first night was that it took a while to open up. I am impatient and love decanting wines in that situation to help speed the process along. But there are evenings when one does not want to decant a whole bottle so I got this nifty gadget called a soiree that basically allows one to aerate and decant one glass. This is similar to the Vinturi and I have no idea how the results differ. But I can say that I recommend the Soiree.


Not every wine will benefit from cellar time but it is wonderful when a good wine becomes a great one after spending a few years in the cool and dark basement.