Monthly Archives: June 2012

Grocery Store Wines: TWISTED 2011 Old Vine Zin / Yellow Tail Sauvignon Blanc


Three generations of Indelicato family members have now run DFV Wines since 1924.  Their collection of wines produced include; Twisted, Gnarly Head, Bota Box, Noble, Handcraft, Brazin and others. From their web-site:

DFV Wines is a portfolio of premium wines from a selection of the most desirable vineyards  from notable California wine-growing regions. The winery harvests grapes from Napa, Lodi,  Monterey and Sonoma to craft wines that express the diversity of these appellations.

Although I recognize mostly all their namesake brands I must admit to only having imbibed and enjoyed their Gnarly Head Zinfandels in the past.  I was drawn to TWISTED because; [1] I had never come across this brand before [2] It fell into my grocery store/supermarket wine category although I have come to learn it is sold through many various outlets [3] The price! Usually $10.99 but on sale 2 for $10.00, worse case scenario a good cooking wine 🙂

From my notes: dark fruit aroma, low viscosity, a rich burgundy purple color, light wood on the nose which surprised me because I automatically expected heavier, a plum taste with coffee and strawberry on the finish.

In researching for this post I came across many positive reviews dating back 4-5 years. They mostly correlated the low-cost with a non-low cost taste. To a slight degree I agree with this but at the same time I have to admit that this tasted like a five dollar wine to me.  Swill it is not, an old vine Zin in the reasonably priced Gnarly Head class it is not either. Is it worth $5-6.00 sure. Should you pay the retail of $10-11.00? I would say no. Can you do a lot better with a $9.00+ bottle of wine?  YES. A factor I must consider here is the youthfulness of this wine; it is a 2011 vintage. A couple of years may add to this wine but unfortunately it will most likely not keep me interested enough even at 2 for $10.00 for a revisit in the future.

Over the last 8 years this South Eastern Australian wine seems to have become available pretty much everywhere in the U.S. and falls perfectly into the grocery store/supermarket wine category. The name Yellow Tail comes from;  the yellow-footed rock wallaby, a smaller cousin of the kangaroo that has a golden tail.

While researching the winemaker I came across nutritional information for this varietal. A 5 oz. portion comes in at 119 calories. I find this very interesting and believe they should market this fact in the way other wine producers are doing such as Skinny Girl which comes in at the same caloric range, are priced at close to 3 times the YT price and quite honestly are what I would call swill. My Skinny Girl tirade over and back on topic 🙂

I was very pleasantly surprised with the Yellow Tail Sauvignon Blanc priced at $5.99.  I would consider it a perfect summer every day wine and comparable to higher priced competitors.  From my notes: pale straw color, crisp, green fruits [citrus/lemon] on the nose with tropical fruits on the palate [pineapple], along with honeysuckle, green apple and pear. I would classify the acidity and dryness levels as medium on this wine.

This is the second Yellow Tail product I try [so far one red blend and this white] and I have to say that in both cases I can see why they sell so well:  they are affordable and tasty. Quite honestly I found them better than many other similarly marketed mass-produced wines I have tasted. Now my usual fork in the road, would I buy this wine again? I guess the answer would be yes. Will I buy it again? Probably not. Unfortunately it doesn’t excite me enough to want to go buy more. That said I know I have plenty of friends who would swear this under $10 wine is just as good as higher priced wines.  Good for them. I also know that should the day come when all I have is 6 bucks in my pocket for wine I may just go the Yellow Tail route.  ¡SALUD!

From internet:

Who’s Behind the Roo

“People can’t be bothered by all the hype and nonsense of wine. They just want to drink it.” ~John Casella.

It all started in 1820, when the first Casellas planted some vines in the Italian countryside. Two things sprouted shortly thereafter: a cluster of grapes, and a family passion that would last 188 years and counting.

Fast forward to 1957. Filippo and Maria Casella were keeping the business alive in Italy, when they decided to pack up and move to Australia. However far away, they couldn’t escape their wine roots. Filippo began selling grapes to local wineries. Then in 1969, he decided it was time for a new generation of Casellas to put their winemaking skills to use.

Following the blueprint of other Australian winemakers, Casella sourced his fruit from other growing areas throughout South Eastern Australia, creating wines with incredible freshness and character year after year. Still, almost a third of the grapes used for [yellow tail] are grown right in the Casella family’s vineyards, nearly 540 acres in the Riverina region of Australia. In 1994, the Casellas built a new and improved winery, blending old world heritage with new world technology.

From humble beginnings, this family has come a long way. Today the company is run by Filippo’s three sons—John, Joe and Marcello—while Filippo’s grandchildren have become the sixth generation to join the family business.  In 2000, John Casella joined forces with another family-run company, W.J. Deutsch & Sons, to bring the goodness of [yellow tail] to the United States.

Year after year, the Casella family continues to create quality wine that’s fun, flavorful, and bursting with a personality all of its own.


HAPPY WORLD SAUVIGNON DAY! Check out this great post from Senorita Vino.

That’s right, chicas y chicos, another wine holiday! Can I get a salud?

Today is World Sauvignon Blanc Day, and there’s  an all-day party on Twitter (#SauvBlanc). To commemorate this auspicious occasion, I’ll be tasting four different Sauvignon Blancs from all corners of the world: Chile, New Zealand, France and California.

Sauvignon Blanc has a special place in my heart because it’s the first wine my husband and I discovered together when we were dating. If you join the celebration today, you’ll see why it’s so easy to love. Who knows, you may even channel your inner Señorita Vino and find true romance over a glass. (El Disclaimer: Señorita Vino makes no guarantees that you will find your soulmate today. So don’t quit the membership just yet).

There’s a Sauvignon Blanc for almost every palate. If you’re a passionfruit and nectarine kind of chica (or chico)…

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A Wine Walker thanks to – WalkedThru


I am proud to announce that this specialized blogging community has chosen me and my blog to be their/your official Wine Walker. I will be walking those interested through my adventures in learning about wine and also my career in the exciting world of wine.  Check them out, they have other great Walkers covering all kinds of interesting topics.  My WALKER profile;

ABOUT WalkedThru;

What is WalkedThru?

WalkedThru is a specialist blogging community contributed to by professionals in their respective fields.

So for example if you wanted to know about photography, you would search ‘photography’ or ‘camera’ on our website and find a reliable, professional, informative and entertaining blog updated regularly by our photography professional, UrbanSnapper. (Click Here to visit blog)

Our resident professional would talk about everything from the equipment and software he uses, to common industry problems, like overexposure, through to general photography tips and advice. Information that is helpful, entertaining, constructive, comprehensive, motivational and inspirational to any budding photographer or enthusiast.

We plan to build a community brimming with blogs like this; subjects ranging from history, to sport, to places, to fashion, to hobbies, to books, to everything in between and beyond!

Why WalkedThru?

Because we’re anti-wiki. Pro-reputability.

We want to build a community as a source of information that is:

  • Varied and vast ranging
  • Informative and professional,
  • Yet easy-going and personable,
  • That is informed by professionals.
We think that blogs are not just a great general interest read, but more so a fantastic medium in which to educate, inform, entertain and enlighten.

How does it work?

WalkedThru grows by adding professionals/enthusiasts, who have particular expertise in a particular subject, to it’s budding community of blogs.
We call these professionals and enthusiasts ‘Walkers’. (For more information on Walkers. Click here. or click the ‘Join Us’ page)
The more Walkers we have, the bigger the WalkedThru community will be and the better the source of information will be for the curious web surfer.

Sonoma County 2009 William Knuttel Cabernet Sauvignon


Sonoma County 2009 William Knuttel Cabernet Sauvignon

Today’s wine comes to us via The Wall Street Journal Wine Club. It is priced at $20.00 per bottle or $238.00 for the case through the club. I am surprised a bigger discount is not offered but this may be fodder for a future post….

William Knuttel is renowned for his work as winemaker for premium California wineries such as Chalk Hill, Dry Creek and Saintsbury. He was also President of the Cabernet Wine Society from 1999-2003. All this before branching out with his own namesake product line.

This particular Cabernet spent two years in french oak barrels prior to its release. It is unfiltered, a factor I tend to appreciate in my wines but could understand where others could feel differently.

Upon decanting I noted strong wood [cedar] on the nose along with tobacco. Fruit detected was slight; dark fruit possibly opening to red fruits as it immediately began to breathe.

At tasting I was pleasantly surprised by the strong red fruit taste [strawberry, red cherry]. The heavy wood on the nose took somewhat of a backseat to the fruit on what I would describe as a dry, tannic heavy wine with a lengthy acidic finish. The experience and my purple tongue reminded me of a Bordeaux before opening completely. The WSJ website suggests decanting for an hour prior to serving but as my notes below suggest; 2 hours would not be an exaggeration.

Additional notes:

@ 30 minutes – Nose softened but wood still overtly in existence, fruit opening but reservedly so.

@ 60-90 minutes – Notable softening on nose and palate; tasty.

@ 2 hours – Jammy.

I am so glad that I was able to continue recording my notes throughout the night. It was truly amazing to see this wine come to life and change in ways that sometimes just doesn’t happen with a wine although I also have to admit we do not usually sit down for a 2-3 hour wine experience at home. Huh, maybe we should 🙂 . This wine was delicious from start to finish but SMOOTH at over 2 hours. If I would not have lasted to this point it would have been my loss and I would have written off this wine as good but overly woody [barreled too long?]. Having made it though I must admit that I would buy and better yet experience this wine again. Note to self; Decant! Enjoy long suppers! Stop and smell the wine grapes! ¡SALUD!

Vendor notes: We’d suggest you decant an hour prior to serving to allow those complex flavors time to breathe.

Deep ruby. Aromas of black cherry, cedar and blackberries with hints of red licorice and classic cigar box. Fine-grained tannins, smooth finish — dominated by dried cherry, cassis and vanilla.