Is this wine?

I can’t really tell. We have a bottle of yellow tail riesling. I didn’t buy it, it was given to us. The only thing that makes me think it might be wine is that it’s in a wine bottle. But even that’s dubious, as I’m sure you could pee in a wine bottle, but that doesn’t make it wine.

On the nose, I get vanilla (how odd) and chemicals. There’s nothing else there. It’s a bright yellow color in the glass. (So maybe it really is pee in a bottle?) In the mouth it tastes like plastic fruit, like what I would imagine biting into one of those plastic display lemons that furniture stores are apt to place in bowls on dining room tables. The taste is really just kind of foul and I can’t get the lingering bit of plastic flowers/fruit out of my mouth. Otherwise, it’s simply bland.

I love riesling. Really, it started my love affair with wine. I think it’s an abomination to call this riesling. It has none of the flowers, or petrol or sweet light taste that rieslings often have. The color isn’t even right. All the rieslings I’ve ever had are very light in color, some are almost translucent. I made it through maybe half my glass before giving up.


9 Responses

  1. Hello Sonadora,

    Sorry to hear you were displeased with the wine. I suppose the bright side of it all is that it was gifted – at least you did not have to spend any $ for a bad experience.

    I have a few friends that actually like everything YT puts out; somehow I think that has something to do with price, rather quality.

    Since the Aussies are known for their reds and a climate to boot, I would be suspect about some of their whites like a delicate Riesling.

    It’s a lot warmer there opposed to Germany and Alsace and the petrol (inherant in the grape) thing from what I understand depends on high acidity and a little bottle time. I would guess that that bottling might lack the acidity found in Rieslings you are used of due to the warmer climate. I would also guess that the color was because of the warmer climate – riper grapes — maybe more concentration

    Even though the winemaker can add or reduce whatever is needed this is an example of a varietal whose standard is set in places like Germany, Alsace and the Finger Lakes —

    Nice post, proving that not everything can be done anywhere – at least not to the gold standards already set for that variety. To the Aussies credit, they do some great red blends and varietal bottlings for great prices….

    Happy Sipping!


  2. Urine, plastic fruit, chemicals? Many thanks for saving me from that grief. Dezel makes a good point – I have encountered a number of people who love all things yellow tail. Well, I guess we cannot all be wine geeks. I hope this bottle died a peaceful death as it gurgled down the drain.

  3. Dezel, Thanks for the comments. I’ve had some other yellow tail wines that aren’t terrible for the price. It wouldn’t be my first choice, but it’s a step above some other stuff that is offered at many a gathering.

    I am certainly not dismissing Australian wines by any extent of the imagination. The Australians make some wonderful reds (particularly shiraz) that are still at fabulous prices!

    Joe, Yes, save yourself from this one! I know lots of people who love yellow tail too. And that’s cool, and I’m not saying anything about their other versions, just this one in particular….it was bad, wine geek or not!

  4. I had some Australian Riesling from a source other than YT, and the McWilliam’s also reminded me of plastic flowers. My very least favorite out of 9 at a Riesling-themed winetasting group.

    However, though it’s been a while since I had it, I once loved the Rosemount Riesling/Traminer–around $8 and great with spicy food. So don’t give up altogether.

  5. Aussie reislings at their best are undiscovered gems. For example The O’Leary Walker 2004 Watervale Riesling was awarded four trophies at the wine world’s most prestigious wine awards, The International Wine Challenge held in London on September 7 2005.

    * The White Wine Trophy | * International Riesling Trophy | * Australian White Wine Trophy * Australian Riesling Trophy
    The White Wine trophy was for the best white wine in the world. The later vintages are also wining trophies.

    Finding a good aussie reisling relies on knowing if it comes from a cool climate. Yellowtail does not. Look for wines from Clare Valley (inc Watervale) Eden Valley, or King Valley. They are the most outstanding bargains you will find among white wines from anywhere.

    PS they are even better with about 5-10 years bottle age. But beware of cork taint. The worldwide trend to screw caps started in the Clare Valley to protect these treasures.

  6. We got this wine a while back and my husband also described it as being very “chemical” tasting. We won’t waste our money on it any more!

  7. Farley- I haven’t seen a Rosemount, but I will keep my eye out. I’m not giving up, I’ll always try something new, but I won’t be trying this again!

    Darby -Welcome! And thank you for all the suggestions. I know there are lots of hidden gems from Australia out there, it’s just a matter of finding them here in the US.

    Sarah-There are certainly much better ways to spend your wine money at this price point. I’m with you, not getting this one again!

  8. Same experience here with YT R. Might make good weed-killer. When we want good riesling, we head down the German isle (LOVE that Rheingau riesling.)
    Wine-O-Rama Blog

  9. I agree Robert. Weed-killer it is! (Though it might also damage the grass!) Thanks for the comment.

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