Casella Wines [yellow tail] Cabernet Merlot 2007

It’s tempting to write about this wine in terms of how important it is to Australia’s wine industry, or perhaps to express curiosity regarding what such a cheap wine actually tastes like, as if it were the vinous equivalent of a trip to the red light district (ie something that other people do). In reality, I’m a big fan of cheap wines for purely practical reasons. Firstly, I can’t afford to drink top or even middle tier wines every day. Secondly, there are few things more exciting to a wine lover than finding an excellent cheap wine. Thrift and pleasure, a top combination in my books.A hit of clean, sweet red and blue fruit on the nose. It’s easy, simple and, to me, screams of industrial winemaking. The palate is surprisingly acidic (though balanced) and this helps to pull the sweet, somewhat cloying fruit flavours back into line. There’s a lot of blueberry and a little spice on the palate. Quite flavoursome but not identifiably varietal. I can’t really detect any tannins. Its character pushes the boundaries of what I understand to be wine, and suggests a simpler beverage altogether. Having said that, it’s very well made, and I’ve no doubt it succeeds in being what it’s supposed to be. I can imagine someone who otherwise disliked wine, especially red wine, may find this surprisingly delicious, as it avoids the more challenging aspects of most other styles (savouriness, tannin, etc). It responded neutrally to food, and its sweet flavour profile didn’t seem to either enhance or detract from the roast beef meal with which it was served.For me, though, this wine holds limited interest, even as an everyday quaffer. It doesn’t communicate a sense of region or style, and instead seems intent on suppressing its individuality. Even in a very inexpensive wine, I like to taste where the grapes have come from, and hopefully to feel like the wine is communicating to me as an individual and not as a demographic. Perhaps my notion wine is overly romanticised or naive, but I do know there are cheap wines on the market that, to me, better encapsulate their origins.[yellow tail]Price: $A8Closure: StelvinDate tasted: May 2008

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