Every Yellow Tail Wine, Ranked Worst To Best

The Australian brand Yellow Tail has made a big splash since launching in 2001. Yellow Tail founder John Casella saw an opportunity to sell a reasonably-priced, high-quality wine, and the product succeeded beyond his wildest expectations. He hoped to sell 25,000 cases in the first year, but Yellow Tail actually sold over one million cases in its first 13 months of availability.

And it's not just Americans who are head over heels for Yellow Tail wines. Yellow Tail is actually one of the top-selling wine brands in the world, and for good reason (via Biz Vibe). Their range of 20+ wines is approachable and delicious for most palates, no matter the taste profile preferences. They're so popular that these budget wines were even bootlegged and sold as counterfeits in the UK.

When buying wine, you want to know what's in the bottle. There often isn't much information on the label to give you clues, so we took a closer look at every wine in Yellow Tail's portfolio and ranked them from worst to best. It was no easy feat! Grab a glass and read on to find out which Yellow Tail wine topped our list.

26. Yellow Tail Pinot Noir

This wine, Yellow Tail's Pinot Noir, is a head-scratcher. First off, the good news: it's smooth and light, as you would expect from pinot noir. That's about all we can say to recommend it, however.

Now, you don't get a lot of body from the average pinot noir unless it has some age on it, so we weren't expecting anything super full and structured here. But we did expect something ... anything. And this really fell flat. As one reviewer put it on British grocery chain Tesco's website, "It is ... very bland without the fruit I would expect from a Pinot Noir." Unexciting and uninspiring are definitely apt descriptors. 

A decent pinot noir is often bursting with juicy, ripe cherry notes, but this isn't a decent pinot noir. And because Yellow Tail makes plenty of other reds, particularly ones that are far more memorable, this is one that you can certainly skip.

25. Yellow Tail Pure Bright Chardonnay

When Yellow Tail released their Pure Bright line of lower calorie, lighter wines, the wine world went nuts (via Wine Business). Suddenly there was a major brand affirming the no/low alcohol trend that was bubbling just under the surface of the wine trade. Yellow Tail's Pure Bright Chardonnay clocks in at about 85 calories per serving, versus about 120 in an average serving of chardonnay (via Vinovest). That's great news for those who are looking for a lower-calorie wine option. But wine is wine, after all, and the flavor has to come from somewhere.

So what happens when you strip wine of some of its defining characteristics? Well, you get a wine that is pretty watery and simple, according to WineScores. Chardonnay is a grape that can produce more subdued wines, so it's not a huge shocker that the final, tinkered-with product is pretty muted. There are still some expected bright tropical fruit notes of mango and pineapple, so if you care more about cutting calories than about full flavor, you may have hit the jackpot.

24. Yellow Tail Shiraz

According to Honest Wine Reviews, the flavors (and aromas) of alcohol overshadow any notes of fruit in this Yellow Tail Shiraz. That's really a shame, since fruit is what we want when we drink young wines. Shiraz's signature red and black fruit flavors are truly nowhere to be found here. Admittedly, this one was a bit disappointing. It's also pretty unbalanced, with nearly invisible tannins. As with many Yellow Tail wines, this shiraz may work better with food than alone, so feel free to dive into this bottle when eating rich barbecued spareribs or roast leg of lamb. That's what Matching Food & Wine recommends doing with cheap shiraz, anyway.

Shiraz is a classic Australian grape variety so we did expect a bit more from Yellow Tail, which is an Australian brand. So if you're looking to explore this grape, you'd likely be better off dipping your toes elsewhere.

23. Yellow Tail Sangria Blanco

The Yellow Tail Sangria Blanco is sweet. Now we weren't totally surprised because Yellow Tail knows that Americans have a weak spot for sweet wines. But when we say sweet, we don't mean slightly off-dry or just a tad bit sweet. Many reviewers on Vivino note that this sangria is quite sweet. While this is a matter of taste, we think sangria shines more when the sweet component is balanced with some acid and fruit. This misses the mark there, but overall it isn't bad. It's just not our favorite and for that reason, we have put it towards the bottom of our list. 

If you do want to sip this sweet and fruity sangria, try it over ice and add in some orange slices. If you decide that it's still far too sweet, even with ice, you can always cut the sangria with some seltzer to dilute the sugar a bit.

22. Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio

Pinot grigio is one of those grapes with flavors that need to be coaxed out. If you're looking for a bold, in-your-face wine this Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio (along with most pinot grigios) is not going to be particularly satisfying. This one has some typical pinot grigio notes — zippy citrus zest helps to create an overall refreshing and simple wine. Some other notes like pear or apple would make it a better wine. Because it lacks that, it does feel a bit one-note. 

One reviewer on Influenster said, "Although I enjoy several different brands of Pinot Grigio, this is not one of my favorites. It tastes a little bitter. It lacks the nice light taste of pear. It's not as crisp tasting as I prefer. I think it is a bit overpriced as well. I can sip it and finish a few glasses if it was given to me," and we agree completely!

21. Yellow Tail Super Crisp Chardonnay

Yellow Tail's Super Crisp Chardonnay is the perfect bottle for someone who's not into oaky chardonnay (via Lisa's Liquor Barn). While the debate is often purely based on preference, the decision-making process could be made easier based on the accompanying dish. According to La Crema, buttery and oaked chardonnays pair well with smoky and/or nutty foods like grilled meats or toasted nuts, for example. Yellow Tail's super crisp take on a chardonnay is the answer for those who are tired of super bold, rounded chardonnays. This wine would pair perfectly with lighter dishes like grilled fish. 

So we know it pairs well with food, but how does it taste? Well, it has an average Vivino rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars because it brings some pretty straightforward chardonnay flavors like passionfruit and citrus. It's a tasty enough wine, but the cold, hard truth is that unfortunately, it's not enough of a departure from their regular chardonnay to be super memorable. 

20. Yellow Tail Chardonnay

If the last wine on our list was a little unmemorable, then this, Yellow Tail's regular chardonnay, must rank slightly better, right? Well yes, but only by a hair. Big, creamy styles of chardonnay were very popular in California in the 1990s. According to Wine Folly, the round dairy notes come from a process called malolactic fermentation, which is when tart malic acid is converted into creamy lactic acid, and voila — your rich buttery notes are formed. 

There was something of a backlash against this style of wine during the '90s, but that doesn't mean buttery chardonnays are completely out of style. As Vivino reviewers report, Yellow Tail's chardonnay is a butter bomb, rich and creamy with obvious hints of juicy peach and vanilla. It's a pretty typical rendition of this type of wine, but it's not complex enough for us to rank it any higher.

19. Yellow Tail Sangria

It's Friday night and you've just closed your laptop after a long work week. You're going to a party that you're actually pretty excited about, but, tragically, you forgot to pick up ingredients for the sangria you promised you'd make. You compromise and instead grab a bottle of Yellow Tail Sangria because it's all you have the energy for. You're in luck! After that first sip, you realize you made a pretty good choice. And after the second sip, the troubles of your week melt away. No, this sangria isn't anything like a homemade recipe, but it's tasty enough for you to lazily drop in a few orange slices and call it a night. 

This sangria is sweet but actually rather refreshing when enjoyed with ice, as this Influenster review suggests. There are plenty of juicy fruit notes, which help this pre-mixed Sangria from becoming too cloyingly sweet.

18. Yellow Tail Pure Bright Pinot Grigio

According to Forbes, no- and low-alcohol wines are on-trend, and this Yellow Tail Pure Bright Pinot Grigio is a pretty decent option for those looking for less alcohol and fewer calories. There are some gentle fruit flavors here like ripe passionfruit, green apple, juicy pear (via Total Wine). But the purpose of Yellow Tail's Pure Bright line isn't to wow you with flavors. It's to offer a lighter, low-calorie alternative to traditional bottles. 

Wine Business reports that they achieve that with a process called reverse osmosis, which filters out the flavor compounds from the wine before the alcohol is distilled out of it. This lets the winemaker take out the alcohol, then add the flavor back in, resulting in a relatively full-flavored lower-alcohol wine. It doesn't taste much different, although the aroma and body may be a bit weaker. For those who are taking a more mindful approach to drinking wine, this is a safe bet!

17. Yellow Tail Whiskey Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon

Yellow Tail Whiskey Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon spends 30 days aging in an Australian whiskey barrel before being bottled. That sounds pretty cool and all, but what exactly does it mean? Barrel aging is a great way to impart some structure and flavors into a wine (via MasterClass). In the case of this Yellow Tail Whiskey Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon, the barrel has helped the tannins become silky and given the wine some elegance.

According to The Chicago Tribune, aging wines in barrels that were once used to age whiskey seems to be a trend, so of course Yellow Tail had to try their hand at this style of wine. Fear not, nothing about this wine tastes like whiskey. There are dark fruit notes like ripe black cherries and black currants, as well as some vanilla and spice notes, which likely derive from the barrel. It's tasty enough, but we have a feeling that the whiskey barrel gimmick is mostly marketing. 

16. Yellow Tail Whiskey Barrel Aged Red Blend

Yet another product in Yellow Tail's Whiskey Barrel line, this Whiskey Barrel Aged Red Blend, is around the same level of taste and quality as the Whiskey Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon. We rated it one spot higher than the cabernet sauvignon because the blend is deeper and rounder than the 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. This one is also a bit more balanced, which is a benefit of blending, and we picked up lots of deep black fruit like blackberry and black currant but also some lovely chocolate and espresso notes. 

It's full-bodied and dry, so you will love this wine with a rich goulash or roasted vegetable stew. We also give it bonus points because the label looks slightly more festive than the regular Yellow Tail labels so this may be a wine that you can bring to a celebration if you feel so inclined.

15. Yellow Tail Shiraz Cabernet

We'd love to have something snappy to say about this wine that Yellow Tail made by blending a shiraz and a cabernet sauvignon. Unfortunately, we've got nothing. We can say that there is plenty of smoke and pepper from the shiraz along with the blackberry and cassis notes of cabernet sauvignon, as you'd expect from these varietals (via Vino del Vida). They do strike a decent harmony, but overall this wine isn't anything to write home about. Yes it's actually pretty good. But you expect a fruit bomb and a flavor explosion from blending these two grapes ,and with the Yellow Tail Shiraz Cabernet, we're left a little disappointed. 

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try it. If you adjust your expectations you might be pleased with this straightforward wine, with its slightly peppery and black fruit notes. If that doesn't impress you at least somewhat, try this one with food. That's when this wine sort of redeems itself.

14. Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon

This wine gives us the impression that it's one of Yellow Tail's flagship wines. It's not that it's of a different quality level than the rest of the wines in the lineup, but it's a staple grape produced in a pretty straightforward way, with the classic Yellow Tail spin (read: sweetness).

The Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon packs some intense luscious fruity flavors but is a little too sweet for our personal preference. The style and the sugar level don't necessarily match. But maybe we're nitpicking, and if we're being fair, this is a great option to grab for dinner.

You may pick up some oaky notes, vanilla, chocolate, and spice, as well as some juicy red fruit and seductive black fruits. If you pay close enough attention there may be some slightly herbal notes. Overall, this wine is definitely a good value for its price if you're okay with a little sweetness.  

13. Yellow Tail Pure Bright Sauvignon Blanc

Here is yet another wine from Yellow Tail's Pure Bright range. This wine, Yellow Tail Pure Bright Sauvignon Blanc, is perfect for a lot of things. It is a little watery for sure, which you can blame on that reverse osmosis process, but it's low in calories and fits with many occasions. Add a little seltzer to this to make it into a spritzer or sip it on a summer evening to let the night linger forever. Pair it with some garlic shrimp to make it sing. 

There are some notes of grapefruit and passionfruit here, with a distinct citrusy zing that makes this wine uplifting and not boring (via Influenster). Those watching their alcohol intake will want to keep their eyes out for this bottle! And it's also only around $8, so this is another Yellow Tail wine that brings a lot of value for the price.

12. Yellow Tail Riesling

Yellow Tail Riesling has notes of green apple and lemon and lime zest as well as some juicy green pear and honeysuckle notes. If you are hesitant about trying a non-German Riesling ... don't be! No this is not very reminiscent of the classic German style of Riesling but it does have a lot to recommend it, with a distinct orange blossom aroma and a hint of carbonation. Unlike many Yellow Tail wines, it goes easy on the sugar, with a dry finish that won't overwhelm you with sweetness.

According to WinePros, it's one of Yellow Tail's nicer interpretations of an international grape, with its juicy fruit-forward notes and robust aromatic qualities. It does, however, fall short in length and complexity on the finish, leaving the palate quicker than we would prefer. But hey, if you're pairing this Yellow Tail Riesling with to-go Thai in the park, you'll be pretty satisfied with your decision!

11. Yellow Tail Pink Bubbles

With its approachable salmon hue and friendly, gentle bubbles, Yellow Tail's Pink Bubbles is definitely more Instagram friendly than it is a sparkling wine powerhouse. So, no, it's not necessarily the bottle you pair with a carefully curated meal, but on the flip side, it is the type of bottle you grab on the way to a party that surprises you with how tasty it is. 

We picked up a hint of sweetness with the Pink Bubbles, so you can pair this wine with an appetizer or the dessert course, depending on your needs. There are also some fun fruit notes like juicy cherries and ripe strawberries, so yeah, this is pretty pleasant to drink. All that sweetness is balanced out with a decent amount of acid, making this a solid budget bubbles choice. If it was any more expensive it wouldn't be worth the cost, but with Yellow Tail's reasonable price points, this bottle might just be perfect for an impromptu celebration.

10. Yellow Tail Rosé

Yellow Tail's rosé is striking with its dazzling pink color. The color makes you expect a punchy rosé, but while this is enjoyable, its flavor is surprisingly muted. There are a few different ways to make rosé, and according to Drizly, this one is made with red wine grapes.

The thing that surprises us the most about this bottle is that it's not overwhelmingly sweet. The dryness leaves room for the fruit and acid to shine. We get some strawberry and some ripe cherry when we sip on this, but really, this is a wine meant to enjoy with friends — to drink and not think too much about what is in the glass. It would work well with some food but honestly, it's delicious enough on its own. So maybe it's not the most powerful wine, but it has enough fruit and acid to bring it to the middle of our list.

9. Yellow Tail Moscato

If you want to expand your palate and learn more about wine, Moscato is a great place to start. According to Wine Folly, it's an easily identifiable grape because of its signature floral qualities and delightful sweetness (via ). Yellow Tail Moscato brings those same pleasant notes of other Moscato and adds a little fizz — perhaps paying homage to the famous region Moscato d'Asti, which produces lightly sweet, sparkling Moscato wines.

There are some tropical notes here like passionfruit and mango, as well as pear and apple (via Honest Wine Reviews). There's a surprisingly long finish, which is a great trait for a wine to have (at least when it's pleasant notes that linger). This is a wine that you can give a wine snob to pleasantly surprise them, and you could also hand it to a novice to expose them to a wine they'll most likely love. Its approachability makes it a great pick and we think it would do wonders as a happy hour wine! Because it's a little sweet, this is best served chilled, maybe with a dessert or sweet treat.

8. Yellow Tail Sauvignon Blanc

There's a recurring theme here with the taste and profile of Yellow Tail Wines. Many of them are simple, which means they're made in a style that is pretty straightforward and appealing to most preferences. Yellow Tail Sauvignon Blanc is no exception to that rule. This is simple, indeed, but also brings some citrusy deliciousness as well as a freshness that you expect from Sauvignon Blanc (via Wine Enthusiast). 

You probably won't notice much fruit here, but the reality is, you'll drink this for an easy, zippy, and fresh afternoon wine, maybe paired alongside some simple cheese and rosemary crackers. This Yellow Tail Sauvignon Blanc is light- to medium-bodied, which means it won't be very heavy in the mouth. It's a good "having a chit-chat with friends after a long day wine." Save yourself some trouble and pick up the larger bottle so it will last longer!

7. Yellow Tail Pink Moscato

Perhaps one of the best things about wine is that there is quite literally something for everyone. There are alcohol-free wines, tannic reds, light, airy whites. And then there are sweet or dry wines. While it's possible to enjoy both, it's easy to develop a strong affinity for one or the other. The number one rule of wine is to drink what you like. However, if you're a dry wine lover who doesn't venture to the sweet side, you're missing out (via Vinepair). This Yellow Tail Pink Moscato might convince some sweet wine skeptics.

Keeping the price point in mind, this pink Moscato is brimming with strawberry and raspberry notes. According to WinePros, it's light, simple, and semi-sweet. Don't forget that this needs to be served well-chilled or else it might be sickly sweet. But once chilled, it's delicious!

No matter what side of the dry/sweet debate you're on, this wine will most likely tickle your fancy.

6. Yellow Tail Smooth Red Blend

Yellow Tail has quite a few blends, ranging from smooth and dry to full-on sweet. Blending wine is a great way to get the notes you want from the grapes of your choice. The Yellow Tail Smooth Red Blend takes advantage of the blending process to make a mellow, drinkable red wine.

As the name suggests, it's smooth, with nice silky tannins. There are also some chocolate notes along with some hints of juicy red fruit like cherries and some baking spices (via Vivino). All this hints at an attempt to make a warming and interesting wine. We may be beating a dead horse here by once again stating that this wine isn't complex, but we like that it isn't trying to be. What it lacks in complexity it makes up for in approachability. It wants to be the red blend option for people who shy away from sweeter wines, and we think it pulls it off.

5. Yellow Tail Cabernet Merlot

Instead of going full-on jammy (think stewed fruit), this Yellow Tail Cabernet Merlot brings a little subtlety and sultriness. Trust us, that's a very good thing! You've got the prominent tannins of cabernet sauvignon blended with the fruit and smooth finish of merlot balancing each other out to produce a bottle that is enjoyable under most conditions (via Wine Folly). 

According to Decanter, cabernet sauvignon and merlot is the classic Bordeaux blend. Yellow Tail's take on the blend pays homage to that famed style by bringing some boldness and intriguing amounts of acid. You may pick up some black fruit notes like black currants and blackberries along with some hints of oak or mint (via Total Wine). This one works well with food because it's such a classic blend. Try it with a rich, hearty venison stew or a flavorful roasted rack of lamb for a satisfying and cozy winter dinner. 

4. Yellow Tail Big Bold Red

Yellow Tail's Big Bold Red is best described as a fruity, rich, and easy-to-drink red wine blend. Lots of reviews referred to this as fruit-forward, and we are happy to report back that assessment is indeed correct (via Natalie Maclean). You'll be hard-pressed to find a super complex wine at this price point but with so much fruit, this big bold red brings a level of interest that some of Yellow Tail's other reds don't have, bringing it to our fourth favorite Yellow Tail wine.

There are hints of strawberry, raspberry, and ripe red plums here along with some chocolatey, oaky notes. It's a sweet wine. Not overly sweet, but noticeable for those who are into dryer styles of wine. This big bold red is also very food-friendly, so pair it with a pork tenderloin or some grilled BBQ chicken and see what happens when you create the perfect food and wine pairing.

3. Yellow Tail Jammy Red Roo

Wine develops jammy notes when the grapes are allowed to ripen and the sugar and fruit notes develop from green and fresh to ripe and juicy (via Vinepair). Yellow Tail attempts to take that exciting flavor and bottle it up in their Yellow Tail Jammy Red Roo. Reviewers at Total Wine say this is full-on sweet, so consider yourself warned. Once you acknowledge that fact and move past it, either begrudgingly or with open arms, you'll get to the fruit. And this wine packs a whole bunch of it. 

It's bringing roundness and velvetiness with a long finish. There isn't so much distinguishable fruit here but you may notice some red berries if you smell and taste closely enough. This is the ideal wine for wine lovers who don't want the complexity some reds bring. Not a fan of drying tannins or a super sharp shiraz? Then you should give this bottle a go because you'll probably love it (via ChickAdvisor).

2. Yellow Tail Bubbles

We could write a 15-page ode to sparkling wine because it is just so darn good. It's always appropriate for celebrations and that pop sound from uncorking a bottle instantly elevates the mood. Yellow Tail Bubbles is a refreshing sparkling wine that is made in a crisp, slightly sweet style that is certainly celebration-ready. 

There are some light notes of tropical fruit that sort of float along your palate with the soft bubbles. The nice thing about this sparkling wine is that it is versatile. If you need a low-key sparkler to be the base of your homemade mimosas, these bubbles will work. If you just want to have some bubbles on their own for any number of reasons (do you even really need a reason?), the Yellow Tail bubbles will also work.

These are good value bubbles and for that reason, this bottle comes in towards the very top of our list.

1. Yellow Tail Merlot

Simply put, Yellow Tail has crafted a really tasty merlot, especially when you consider that this bottle is less than $10. When we crack open a bottle of merlot, we expect it to have a few key characteristics no matter the price point: We look for smooth flavor along with luscious, silky tannins, and this Yellow Tail Merlot delivers on those fronts, which is why we rank it as our top Yellow Tail pick (via Wine Folly).

The Daily UW says that this would be perfect on its own, but you could also pair it with any kind of charred meat to be wowed. Yellow Tail actually suggests this enjoying this Merlot with antipasto and some friends, which sounds like one of the most perfect ways to enjoy it! It's got a delightfully deep ruby color that kind of gives you a preview of just how rich and deep this wine will taste. You might get some notes of vanilla, chocolate, stewed plums, and blackberry if you take a deep enough whiff, but even without the extras this wine delivers great value for the pricepoint.