(2020) The label states this is "certified 21 years old", though there's a good chance some of the components in the blend are even older. It's a fabulous fortified wine, mellowed by those two decades plus in barrels, but with a cut and orange zest brightness that is rarely found in similar European styles. There is a depth of cappucino, chocolate and rum-soaked raisins on the nose and palate, and a little volatile lift. That heart-warming fruitcake richness, sweetness and walnutty sheen of age is all there on the palate in a striking and delicious wine. Fabulous stuff, price for a 50cl bottle. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2015) Partner to the Verdelho also reviewed, this pours a medium to pale, earthy red and has autumnal, rhubarby aromas that are authentically Pinot. In the mouth it is light and spicy, though perhaps a little thin, a little lacking in fruit weight and texture. A reasonable rendition of Pinot, but not a great one. 83/00,
(2010) 13.5%, South-East Australia, Screwcap. Pleasantly buttery and creamy nose, a touch of nutty Cox's pippin fruit. The palate has a touch of sweetness, but flavour drops away quickly into a slightly watery finish.
(2010) 14.0%, Screwcap. Smoky, spicy nose, with a slightly too developed character, but some black fruit is in there. On the palate this has soft fruit and more spice, and offers quite a decent mouthful of wine at the price, with a bit of length too. Don't hang around to drink it though.
(2009) This Champagne method fizz from South Eastern Australia is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a dash of Shiraz for colour. It scooped a bronze at this year's International Wine Challenge, which given it was the least expensive wine in its category was quite a coup. It has a peach down and strawberry softness on the nose, with a lively, creamy mousse onto the palate, where a touch of residual sugar flatters the soft, creamy, strawberry and red cherry notes of the fruit. The acidity is balanced into a gentle, easy drinking finish.
(2008) For me, easily the best of the small range I sampled, and one I could recommend for the barbie or parties this summer. It is a moderately large wine with 13.5% alcohol (though it may well have started life with more - Australia's larger producers are increasingly lowering alcohol during winemaking using a variety of high-tech methods), that has a deep crimson colour and buoyant, bright nose of crunchy red and black berries with a little floral lift. On the palate there is noticeable sweetness here, giving a rather jammy, confected character, with plenty of blackcurrant and cherry jam flavour. Some spice and a little bit of liquoricy grip adds some tension, and there is just about enough acidity to stop this being cloying.
(2008) Yellow Tail's Merlot pours a moderately deep crimson colour with spiced plum compote fruit that has an edge of kirsch-like, jammy brightness. On the palate the sweetness in this wine is much more apparent than in a the Shiraz, for example, and a certain lack of mid-palate depth or weight means the wine finishes quite lean and short.
(2008) Fermented 'in contact with oak', so I'd guess inner staves in steel tanks, a portion of this Cabernet was also matured for six months in hogsheads. It has quite a dark crimson/purple colour, and a jammy, varietally correct nose of blackcurrant and a bit of plum pie. In the mouth there's a wash of very sweet blackcurrant pastille fruit, with a lot residual sugar evident, giving a slightly grainy feel I find, and the lack of real body or any structure in the mid-palate causing the wine to fall away quickly with a touch of wateriness. There is plenty of spice and a bit of tannic grip in the finish, but it's a wine that doesn't have the easy charm of the Shiraz for me, and like several of the wines in this range, there's a disjointed hollowness caused by the sweetness and lack of concentration.
(2008) Yellow Tail's Pinot comes from 'Selected vineyards' in Southeast Australia and the grapes were fermented on skins, in contact with French oak staves before maturation in French oak for a further six months. The result is a wine that pours a moderately deep crimson colour, with subdued, gently charry aromas with soft red fruits. On the palate there's a lot of sweetness here, with some definite Pinot character coming through, with strawberry and earthy tones, but I also find something very astringent, or more of a disjointedness, between the sweetness of the fruit and residual sugar, and fairly harsh lemon-drop adjusted acidity. This is nearly a decent, gluggable 'beginners Pinot', but just doesn't convince in the finish.
(2003) An old favourite that I haven't tasted for a couple of vintages, this is fat and attractive on the nose, with plenty of ripe, peachy fruit. On the palate a tropical unctuousness, with guava and ripe melon. Acidity is good, but somehow this is a little disjointed and awkward I think.