Thursday, October 29, 2009

[yellow tail] releases two-nation Sauvignon Blanc

With the latest release here of a new [yellow tail] ® wine, Casella Wines of Australia shows how to handle the labelling of wines with juice from different countries.

The way? Openly. Perhaps this is a lesson for how our big wineries should resolve the Cellared in Canada controversy.

The new [yellow tail] Sauvignon Blanc, a non vintage wine just listed here at $12.99 a bottle, is made with 86 per cent South Australian and 14% New Zealand juice. It says so right on the back label.

It is a pretty successful blend. The comparatively ripe Sauvignon Blanc from Australia likely accounts for the wine’s lush tropical fruit flavours. The New Zealand portion adds the zing (acidity and crispness) to the aroma and the fresh flavours. The wine might use a hair more concentration but that is really a picky point. Like all [yellow tail] wines, this is easy to drink on its own or with food. At $12.99, it is quite good value. I scored it 87 points.

In a press release, winery owner John Casella said that the company could have released a [yellow tail] Sauvignon Blanc years ago but “we were never really happy with the quality” until they hit on the idea of a two-country blend.

Sadly, the release of the wine coincided with the news that John’s father and the winery founder, Filippo, had died at 88. A third-generation grape grower and winemaker from Sicily, he immigrated to Australia in 1957 and established a vineyard two years later. He started the Casella winery in 1964. It sold its wine in bulk for many years.

John took over the business in 1994. Filippo and his wife continued to live on the property even after a huge tank farm grew up around their home with the enormous success of [yellow tail]. The label was launched in 2001 when John Soutter, the company’s former exporter director, bought the label from a label broker in a deal made on the fly in Sydney airport.

Since then, [yellow tail] has taken many markets by storm. In some markets, [yellow tail] has dominated the Australian category almost to the exclusion of other brands.

Why does the brand succeed? Taste this Sauvignon Blanc. The wines deliver good quality for the price point and do it consistently.


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