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My 81 Year-old Mother Drinks Yellow Tail Shiraz — Does That Make Me Illegitimate?

Written By Scott Joseph On May 18, 2009

Let’s face it; I love my mom for all she has done for me. She’s an amazing woman, like all our mothers. However, my mom is most proud to boast about her son (that’s me) and his achievement of becoming a Master Sommelier.  It’s not uncommon for her ask the restaurant manager within the local senior citizen dining circuit of early birds specials if they have a Master Sommelier working on the floor she could speak with to help her decide which glass to order.

Needless to say, she has a heart of gold and truly means nothing but the best, however her knowledge of wine is rudimentary at best and beholden to what’s on sale and what she can afford. And yes, she is one of those who still doesn’t understand why they don’t fill the wine glass to the rim. I am blessed with her charm and ever present interest to learn about wine but it’s not without the occasional phone call out of the blue. One day she was shopping at one of those large discount stores and saw Yellow Tail Shiraz from Australia on sale for $ 9.99 – but wait – this was the Reserve bottling.

Being a Massachusetts resident she naturally drives across the border to New Hampshire to escape the sales tax.  At the time, the price of gas was creeping around $4 gallon for that 29 mile journey.  I said “Mom, live it up – by two bottles instead of one and you’ll break even”

Naturally my mom took my advice, after all I am a Master Sommelier and why would I lie to my mother?

Here’s my point….while the critters on the label may have influenced a plethora of new wine drinkers, we so called wine in the know consumers should not get hung up on status. As the number one imported wine into the U.S. for many years, Yellow Tail has satiated the thirst of many value conscious wine consumers who desire fruit forward flavors in an a slight off-dry style, much like Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay and Sutter Home White Zinfandel achieved in their early debuts.

There’s nothing wrong with these styles and frankly the majority of wine consumers talk “dry” and prefer more “off dry,” fruitier wines. However, truthfully these wines generally lack the balance among the fruit, acid and alcohol, which are the most important components when choosing a wine to match with food. But, not all wines have to be so serious…. If you like it, drink it. After all it’s wine, it’s fun and it’s my mom’s most newly treasured talking point at the biweekly bridge table. Her son may be a Master Sommelier who doesn’t necessarily have Yellow Tail in his cellar but that doesn’t mean he won’t share a glass with her when he visits her on his next trip to Boston.


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