What's with Yellow Tail??

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What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby A.B. Drury » Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:37 pm

It seems like people bash this wine; I've read quite a few people (here and other places) that shared a general disliking for the brand :?

I plan on trying the brand before I pass my own judgement, but I'm really curious why so many people seem to not care for it. . . .
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:46 pm

Welcome, A. B.

I have to admit that Yellow Tail has a place in my life; it's a simple wine, quite sweet, but with good fruit and it's very appealing to many of my friends. Cheap enough so that if it's spoiled, it's easy to pour out and move on to another wine. We recently hosted a party for 50 people, with a range of reds and white on offer; the Yellow Tail Shiraz was an over-whelming favorite, out scoring a lovely aged CdP, for example.

Here's my first Yellow Tail note:

NV Yellow Tail Shiraz South Australia. $7.50 a bottle. Ruby red color, medium hue, intense aroma of Cherry Vanilla Coke -- cherries, oak, caramels; good fruit taste, cherry and raspberry and other gunky stuff from one of those cherry pies my mom made so many years ago with sweet Door County cherries; medium mouth feel, short finish -- but oh my goodness -- how sweet it was. Remember, it's just past Halloween, and the kids left at least 50 pieces of candy which I haven't been able to resist.

The truth is I am almost embarrassed to admit it in this lofty company -- I enjoyed this glass of wine -- simple, straight forward, cheap, fun. 3*.


There are several others along the same lines, especially since Janet finds it reliable and good with a wide range of foods.

I think people look down on it for two reasons: one, it is simple and sweet, and as one's taste for wine evolves, people tend to like drier, less sweet wines, and second it's cheap, on the edge of jug wines.

Love to read your tasting note for your first Yellow Tail.

Regards, Bob
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby A.B. Drury » Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:52 pm

That makes sense; and I guess the bashing is like in high school when people made fun of the kid that was different, just because he was nice to everyone and didn't drive a new car. . . .

Yes, Bob, I will try a YT Riesling and/or Shiraz (I'm on a Riesling "kick" right now) and will send you my notes--which may be laughable, at best, but I'll give it a shot :D
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:56 pm

Oh, don't send it to me, A.B., post it here.

Folks are wonderfully welcoming about tasting notes -- I was a little hesitant to post my first note, but Jenise and Robin cheered me on ... and ten years later they can't shut me up. :)

Seriously, you'll learn an enormous amount from other people commenting on your notes. I get more out of their comments than out of my note itself, and sometimes more than out of drinking the wine originally.

Regards, Bob
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby A.B. Drury » Fri Aug 17, 2007 11:00 pm

Could I see your earliest notes? I don't get all the adjectives most of you use; and I can't pick out the fruits and such. . . .
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Aug 18, 2007 12:29 am

You will have some fun if you just relax and write what comes to mind! Deep red/fruity nose/oak/tastes like red fruits/long finish/smooth/like it!!! There, you are on your way!! Next time, you will be finding other pointers and can expand your thoughts/vocabulary.
So welcome and enjoy. Remember maybe to try with some food and see what evolves. Sure can be hit or miss but its all a gradual learning experience!!
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby Bob Ross » Sat Aug 18, 2007 12:40 am

Sure. Ask a ham to perform and he'll do it, no matter how embarrassed he really should be. :)

Here are the first few entries in my wine diary; some of the notes were edited a few weeks after the original entry as I learned more about wine. Later I read other wine tasting notes written by pros, like Robert Parker, and Robin Garr, and I listened to what lots of people said about wine -- and tried to understand them and put the ideas into my own words.

I write notes now for my own pleasure and information -- it's great fun to read about a wine I had ten years ago, and compare my current reactions.

I've now written over 45,000 tasting notes, saved almost all of them, and have posted almost all of them. Folks comment on my notes from time to time, and I almost always learn something new.

3/1/95 Event: Sometime around this date, I decide to try to reduce my high cholesterol count by drinking red wine on a regular basis. At first, I drank almost a bottle each day I had wine, which turned out to be too much. My notes until the end of May, 1995 are very sporadic.

5/__/95 Event: Trip to Scotland with Marvin Frank and good wine talk. Marvin used to be an expert but has stopped because his daughter takes too much time at dinner time, and he and his wife are unable to discuss what they are drinking.

5/4/95 1978 Château Trottevieille St. Émilion Bordeaux France. [Often Trotte Vieille as in Duijker and Broadbent; named after an old woman who served her customers very quickly – the “galloping granny.”] 750 FF. Dinner with Janet at a wonderful inn, Ferme Saint Siméon, Honfleur in Normandy, France; fish and vegetables. Lovely aroma of violets and other flowers, light tannin, long finish. Romantic dinner. Janet liked the wine so much that she made a note of the name of the Château. 5*.

5/__/95 1989 Château La Cardonne Médoc Crû Bougeois Médoc Bordeaux France. Administered by Les Domains Barons de Rothschild (Lafite); bottled at the Château. Beekman, Glen Rock. $11. Pleasant. I thought it may have been the same wine as Janet and I had in Normandy but it was not. 2*.

Label on reverse of bottle reads: "The wines of the 'Domains Barons de Rothschild' identified by the family crest of five arrows, for a collection of some of the finest vineyards of Bordeaux. The wines include:
Château Lafite Rothschild: Premier Gran Crû. Carruades de Lafite: 'Second Wine' of Château Lafite.
Chat. Duhart Milon Rothschild: Grand Crû Classé.
Château La Cardonne: Crû Grand Bourgeois.
Château Rieussec: Premier Grand Crû de Sauternes.
From the planting of the vine to the final bottling of each vintage, very step in the production of these exceptional wines is directed by the management of Domains Rothschild, headed by Baron Eric de Rothschild."

Frank Prial, NYT, June 17, 1998: One of the best buys among the lesser Médoc chateaux is La Cardonne, in the commune of Blaignan. From 1973 to 1990, it was owned by members of the Rothschild family, who virtually rebuilt both the winery and the vineyards. Thanks to their efforts, Cardonne is a deeply colored, fruity wine that is at its best after three or four years. La Cardonne usually sells for $10 or less.

5/__/95 1989 Château La Cardonne Médoc Crû Bougeois Médoc Bordeaux France. Purchased a case from Beekman in Glen Rock at Janet’s suggestion. Spectator: $11. 80+. 3*.

The first case of wine we ever bought; Beekman’s owner would later say: “It is easy to buy, and hard to drink, a case of wine.” He suggested that one buy three to six bottles maximum of any wine, and then be adventuresome in trying new wines.

5/__/95 1990 Château La Cardonne Médoc Crû Bougeois Médoc Bordeaux France. Administered by Les Domains Barons de Rothschild (Lafite); bottled at the Château. Beekman, Glen Rock. Spectator: "Ripe and inviting, with plenty of fruit and balanced tannins. A lovely wine and a good value. 80+.” Pleasant; both Janet and I liked it. 3*.

5/__/95 1993 Domain La Noble Merlot VDP Languedoc France. Janet and John disliked this wine; she tasted olive oil. I thought the color was a pale claret; the aroma light and fruity; the taste fruity with little tannin, and virtually no finish. It opened up a bit over time, and 20 to 30 minutes after opening was somewhat better than at opening. 2*.

5/__/95 1993 Georges DuBoeuf Merlot Vin de Pays d’Oc Languedoc France. Grand Union; $6. Pleasant. 3*.

5/21/95 1993 Barboursville Pinot Noir Monticello Virginia. Kathrine's suggestion; purchased at a grocery store for $12; drank in a motel on the top of the Blue Ridge before driving home the next day. WS 73. An ugly creosote aroma followed by a hint of burnt cherry. Dry tannins, short and bitter finish. Creosote taste. 1*.

5/22/95 1990 Eberle Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Bottled Paso Robles California. Long Hill Liquors. $17.00. Both Janet and I liked this wine; rated 95 according to Long Hill, but no indication by whom. 4*.

5/23/95 1990 Eberle Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Bottled Paso Robles California. 4*.

5/30/95 1993 Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot Rabel Valley Chile. $4.99; Beekman, Glen Rock. Pleasant wine; taste lasted three seconds or so. 2*.


Try it yourself, J. B. Bob Parson really has the essence of the idea -- have fun, relax, and write what comes to mind. Great advice.

Regards, Bob
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby A.B. Drury » Sat Aug 18, 2007 2:03 am

Good deal; I've been noting all the German Rieslings I've tried lately and it IS fun. Thanks for sharing your early notes :)

I think, more than anything, I want to learn tasting and recognizing nuances so that I can better appreciate wine and feel more comfortable making wine purchasing/ordering decisions; I don't think that I'll ever care to get deep in the wine tasting practice :wink:

And, now that we've spiraled out of control, thanks again for the input on YT--I'll surely be trying some shortly!
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Aug 18, 2007 10:27 am

AB, let me know here when you are going to open a YT and I will join in and taste with you, ie my impressions. Maybe Bob R will join in!!!? Are we going with the shiraz or the cabernet?

If you have time look out for notes from Bruce Hayes who has an excellent style. He has just posted a TN on P Sparr riesling.
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby Bob Ross » Sat Aug 18, 2007 11:42 am

An Open Forum, Yellow Tail Tasting. Set it up AB, and I'll join in.

Regards, Bob
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby David M. Bueker » Sat Aug 18, 2007 11:49 am

I've had YT Shiraz at several parties. Morbid curiosity...

To me it tastes confected and cloyingly sweet. I've never wanted to taste the Riesling. I've had the Chardonnay once & it was like biting a piece of my dining room table.

For me there are other bargain wines that I prefer. Hofer Gruner Veltliner (liters) is the primary answer. It's reasonably competitive on price with YT, and it has the advantage of being more to my taste.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby Robin Garr » Sat Aug 18, 2007 12:01 pm

Eeeuww!! Eeeeuuuw!

No, not Yellow Tail. Your avatarl :D

But seriously now, A.B., I think that's a great question, and it's always worth while to challenge any potential "snob factor" among wine geeks and make sure we aren't just bashing cheap wine because it's mass-market. I'll confess that I generally lump the Yellow Tails and Little Penguins in the same category that I reserve for Bud Light and Coors Light in the beer universe: Because they're industrially produced on an assembly line, I'm inclined to assume that they aren't made for me.

But I did do a tasting a few years back in which I tasted Yellow Tail Shiraz and a decent, $35 Aussie Shiraz side-by-side in a "blind" tasting just to keep myself honest. It really wasn't hard to tell the difference, but in fairness, the Yellow Tail was drinkable.

Here's a link to my November 2001 report ...

<b>Get what you pay for?</b>
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby Jenise » Sat Aug 18, 2007 12:45 pm

David B said:
I've had YT Shiraz at several parties. Morbid curiosity... To me it tastes confected and cloyingly sweet.


Ditto, ditto, ditto. Like David, I come by my dislike honestly and without ever having to spend a dime on the wine. They're simple, uncomplex and sweet, and they're not made for serious wine drinkers. That's not geek snobbery, it's just a fact: serious wine drinkers prefer complexity, acidity and tannins. Bob's a rare person who can be both.
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby Brian K Miller » Sat Aug 18, 2007 1:01 pm

Never had Yellowtail, but I don't really like sweet and fruity all that much. It's not "snobbery" per se; if I want sweet and fruity, there's a nice range of fruit juices and smoothies that I would prfer to drink.
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby A.B. Drury » Sat Aug 18, 2007 2:51 pm

So, it's a wine tasting with The Bobs, then :lol:

I appreciate everyone's candidness in response to my questions; it seems, once again, the YT is generally unfavorable--I guess I'll find out why, if at all, for myself very soon! If it's the sweetness and blah-ness of the wine that repels most, then I likely won't be able to pick up on that too much; but, I have been drinking some "real" rieslings lately, so who knows. . . .

Robin: thanks for the link; an interesting read :)
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby Bob Henrick » Sat Aug 18, 2007 8:38 pm

A.B. Drury wrote:That makes sense; and I guess the bashing is like in high school when people made fun of the kid that was different, just because he was nice to everyone and didn't drive a new car. . . .

Yes, Bob, I will try a YT Riesling and/or Shiraz (I'm on a Riesling "kick" right now) and will send you my notes--which may be laughable, at best, but I'll give it a shot :D


AB, I don't think it is like the class nerd who the other (popular kids) made fun of at all. It is very very simply not good wine. Bob R is too nice to say it, but YT and a host of other wines in the same price range are made from over cropped grapes that the best qualities are just not there. First of all we who do not buy or drink YT are not kids. We are wine lovers and not, as many would see us snobs. So, if you buy and try a bottle of YT shiraz, I hope you might easily see what we are talking about, to make that easier, I would suggest it be tried against a wine that does not elicit such a reaction from the snob...er wine lovers here. BTW, I am mostly speaking about the YT shiraz, and not the riesling or other wines.
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Aug 19, 2007 1:26 am

A.B. Drury wrote:So, it's a wine tasting with The Bobs, then :lol:

I appreciate everyone's candidness in response to my questions; it seems, once again, the YT is generally unfavorable--I guess I'll find out why, if at all, for myself very soon! If it's the sweetness and blah-ness of the wine that repels most, then I likely won't be able to pick up on that too much; but, I have been drinking some "real" rieslings lately, so who knows. . . .

Robin: thanks for the link; an interesting read :)


OK so we are game for the YT Riesling! As a matter of interest which other rieslings have you tasted AB? Do you have access to the Dr Loosen R??
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby A.B. Drury » Sun Aug 19, 2007 2:23 am

Bob P: No, haven't seen any Dr. Loosen around here (fairly limited selection in the area.) Do you think we should have a "better" Riesling to taste along with? Something that we both/all could have as well? My exposure to Riesling has been mostly German bottles brought back by a friend; other than that, I tried some locally-available types: Woodbridge, Noble House, Schmitt Sohne--oohh, and I picked up a bottle of (New Mexico's own) Blue Teal today, but haven't opened.

I'm fairly confident in my amateur ways that I'll know a difference and likely be OK with YT for some time, but I'm curious more than anything else, Bob. I have definitely gotten the impression from some knowledgeable (and un-snobbish) people that YT just isn't good wine to drink, no matter the ~$5/bottle you can save. And, I get that, I just need to see for myself; and would love to have someone tasting with to point out some nuances (or, lack thereof) and help me understand why it would be undesireable, if that's the case. . . .

I enjoy learning ;)

Bob H: I fully understand your points; I can see where someone who loves wine would not care for something that is mass-marketedly (I just made that word) produced to be bland, cheap, and look hip with a little hopping mammal on it. I am a car fanatic, and I despise the mass-market vehicles that do nothing besides transport people, so I can relate. I just want to find out for myself and, chances are, I'll be OK with it because I didn't set course to be a great appreciator of wines--just want to drink lots of them, enjoy them, and know a little about them ;)
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Aug 19, 2007 10:27 am

AB lets start off with the YT and then we can go from there. Your idea of matching is a good one but seems you are in a remote area (for wine buying!) so suggesting another riesling is a toughie!!
When do you want to do this exercise?
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby Dale Williams » Sun Aug 19, 2007 11:38 am

I have found the YT shiraz to be (just) drinkable, but very sweet. The Chardonnay was undrinkable. But who knows re the next bottle? Because the one thing I do know is that the massive quantities of this stuff produced mean there is absolutely no way not to have some degree of batch variation.
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby Bob Ross » Sun Aug 19, 2007 11:57 am

One reason we drink Yellow Tail Shiraz so often, Dale, is that it almost always tastes the same -- Janet and I can only remember one off bottle, and that heat damaged, among the 12 or so we've picked up for spur of the moment meals on the road.

It's almost invariably available in the smallest retailers -- and cheap enough to buy another bottle if the first doesn't please.

Haven't tried anything but the blend, but the Shiraz is a little more than barely acceptable, a little sweet, but quite a nice food match for a wide range of foods, when wine isn't a star of the meal.

I've somehow had the idea that massive quantities makes it easier to blend a wine to a specific taste profile -- maybe that isn't true?

Regards, Bob
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby Dale Williams » Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:54 pm

Bob, I would guess with sweetness being the defining note in almost every TN of YT I've ever seen, it's probably a matter of just adjusting fermentation for a certain amount of residual sugar (unless they're permitted to add back in). And I'm sure that they have the formula for a specific acid/pH level, alcohol, and whatever they do for tannin adjustment or any oakchipping. My point was that at some point underlying all the chemistry, there have to be grapes, and I can't see that there's likely to a vineyard or even single region supplying the grapes to make something like 10 million gallons of Shiraz, and it sure as hell isn't all going through 1 blending tank.But you're the one who has tasted a bunch, so I'll bow to your experience. Cheers!
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby Jenise » Sun Aug 19, 2007 1:10 pm

Haven't tried anything but the blend, but the Shiraz is a little more than barely acceptable, a little sweet, but quite a nice food match for a wide range of foods, when wine isn't a star of the meal.


Bob, what's your sugar tolerance? Every bottle of this I've tasted has been more than "a little sweet", but then my sugar intake is pretty close to zero. I don't even drink soda pop.
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Re: What's with Yellow Tail??

Postby Jenise » Sun Aug 19, 2007 1:14 pm

Oh, by the way, as if he were watching this conversation, a silly guest brought a magnum of Yellow Tail Chardonnay to a party we had here last night. UGH. (The collection of guests also gave me a gift of a magnum of 77 Dow's Port, so I'm not complaining.) I guess I'm now about to taste the wonders of Yellow Tail Chardonnay. I'm thinking a blonde sangria might be the way to go, next time we have a hot day. If we ever have another hot day, that is (staring out at rain).
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