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.

10 responses »

  1. I enjoy your exploration of low priced wines and I agree with some of your tastes but I think that “swill” is a really strong term. According to Miriam-Webster: “something suggestive of slop or garbage”. In the art of wine making (as in all arts) there are people who are more gifted than others. Unless a wine is actually spoiled I wouldn’t call it swill. I am sure that most wine makers have good intent. Enough of my whine!

  2. I agree with you about [yellow tail] wines. They are consistently good quality and quite tasty. Good value for the price. As you know, I write about bargain wines over at Bargain Wine Time, and I heartily recommend [yellow tail] for bargain wine hunters who want to run in to the store and grab something good without having to think about it. Frontera (from Chile) is another brand that delivers.


  3. I didn’t realize the Gnarly and Bota Box were related. I agree with you about the Twisted, though. I wanted to like it, but I think the other two are better.

  4. I didn’t realize the family connection of all those wines. I appreciate your analysis, and based on what I think of zins, I probably won’t try it … but for cooking, now there’s a thought … well, if on sale.

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