Maker: Casella Wines
Packaging: bottle, artificial cork
Our Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Regular readers of Box Wines know that I like to focus on slightly less common wines – it’s fun to find a wine that’s both cheap and good. But, once in a while, one has to go mainstream… so we tried Yellow Tail Shiraz 2005. One can’t get much more mainstream, with Yellow Tail representing the wildly successful Australian import brand and Shiraz being the quintessential Down Under variety. I’ve tried Yellow Tail Shiraz once or twice in chain restaurants, but didn’t come away with a good impression; one never knows what’s really arriving when the waiter brings it – how long the bottle has been opened, how it’s been stored, and so on. So, I wasn’t expecting much when I popped the cork on this relatively young Shiraz.
It’s evident why Yellow Tail has been so successful in the American mass market. The wine’s aroma is a quick blast of cherry with a hint of spice. The flavor is definitely fruit-forward, with black cherry mixing with a bit of pepper, a dash of oak, and soft tannins. The fruit predominates, and the wine is sweeter than a typical Shiraz. Not sweet like a dessert wine, but definitely one of the sweeter Shirazes you are likely to encounter. The finish is surprisingly brief and dry.
Yellow Tail’s meteoric rise to one of the most popular wine brands in the U.S. is described in The Wallaby That Roared Across the Wine Industry. The multicolored beast on the label may look like a kangaroo, but a connoisseur of marsupials will recognize it as a wallaby. According to the Yellow Tail website,
We get lots of questions about the name of our wine. And while sushi is a pretty good guess, the true namesake is the yellow-footed rock wallaby, a small, colorful breed of kangaroo that’s known to roam the Casella vineyards.
So, if you want an inexpensive crowd pleaser that will satisfy even the unsophisticated palate, don’t be afraid of picking up a few bottles of Yellow Tail Shiraz. Its slightly sweet fruity character will appeal to a wide range of wine drinkers, and even those who would prefer a more complex shiraz won’t be put off.