Yellow Tail is arguably one of the largest names in wine for the American market selling millions of cases a year. There are many reasons for this. First, Yellow Tail engages in what my former wine teacher occasionally referred to as ‘critter marketing’, putting an animal, such as say, a kangaroo on the wine label (it’s actually a wallaby relative of the kangaroo, but this shouldn’t be a concern when buying a bottle). Second, the stuff is darn cheap. So is it any good?
The answer to this is rather complicated. In general yes, it’s very difficult to go wrong with a bottle of Yellow Tail. They’re not going to be the best of any varietal that’s on the market, but for the money they’re going to be reasonably good, and perfectly okay for large family get togethers, having with dinner, or just a glass cause you feel like it. They’re wines you don’t ever think of going, ‘oh geez, I’m not sure I should open the ’08 yellow tail, it’s not really the right occasion’ [or I should cellar it, or any sort of pretentious gobble-de-gook that might associated with an expensive bottle]. Yellow Tail may offend these individuals.
The biggest problem though, is the size of Yellow Tail.
Yellow Tail hails from South Eastern Australia, and as one might imagine, 10 million cases of wine don’t come from a single vineyard. So the grapes come from many different areas of the region. This means, that the grapes from one vineyard, may be slightly different from the grapes at another. Meaning, while the wine may taste similar across the board, there are going to be some potential quality changes by each bottle.
In the case of Yellow Tail Shiraz Grenache [80% Shiraz, 20% Grenache] , I’ve opened at least 10 different bottles of the stuff, and had at least 8 different experiences that have ranged from mind-blowingly good to passable. Enough about the vineyard though, lets talk about the wine.
Sight: A deep purple body, but the wine seems to be starting to age slightly already, displaying the faintest notes of orange on the edge.
Smell: Raspberry is the big smell here, a mix of fresh raspberries and raspberry laced with spicy notes like cumin, cinnamon, and light toasted tobacco.
Sip: Raspberries and raisins are backed by cinnamon and black pepper, a slight note of red table grapes is also present. The wine feels moderate – heavy on the palate, tannins are restrained. [13.5% ABV]
Savor: Moderate tannins appear on the finish, along with raspberries and cranberries.
Overall, this wine is quite good at the $5 price point. If you want something slightly spicy with plenty of raspberry flavor that is good on it’s own, this wine is probably one of the better bets we’ve seen so far.