Yellow Tail Tree Free Chardonnay

        No Oak. No Joke. No, that’s not a weak attempt at clever wordsmanship on my part, it’s from a sticker that appears on the bottle of this selection, just above the label. “Tree-Free”, I guess in the opinion of Yellow Tail’s marketing types, doesn’t adequately communicate what’s in the bottle.

      It’s hard to believe we’ve only discussed a Yellow Tail wine once here in these humble pages. It is certainly one of the giants among the producers aiming their product at us Cheapskates, and it appears on our kitchen counter top quite frequently. Their Shiraz-Grenache blend (the Yellow Tail offering we previously discussed) is among our favorites.

      Wife brought home a 1.5 litre bottle of Yellow Tail’s Tree Free Chardonnay, after lamenting our having no white wine on hand, right in the heart of white wine weather. It was on sale for $12.99, two bucks off.

       If your a Chardonnite, you may have noticed, of late, an increasing number of unoaked Chardonnays on store shelves. The classic California style Chardonnay (and Australian style), creamy, buttery, toasty gets its character in large part from spending time in French Oak barrels. But there is a movement to produce Chardonnays that let the fruit speak for itself, and avoid the oak barrels, instead using stainless steel tanks. Kendall-Jackson, for example, whose Chardonnay very much typifies the California style, now markets “Avant”, an unoaked Chard.

     Yellow Tail’s regular Chardonnay, a perpetual best-seller, is of the oaked style, but the Tree Free is unoaked (no joke). The taste is citrus-pineapple, grapefruit, and pear. Ok, I know, pear isn’t citrus. This is pleasingly refreshing and light. Perfect for an August evening on the porch.

     Typically, we have avoided Chardonnay, because too often the mass market Cheapskate selections are fake oaked, either chemically flavored of oak, or have had oak chips soaking in their tanks. They’ve never been in a barrel, so lack the vanilla, toasty benefit of barrelling, but still mask the fruit with sawdust flavors. Not good. So we usually reach for Pinot Grigio when we want light white. Here, the Tree Free Chardonnay from Yellow Tail, is a good choice for affordability and enjoyability-the essence of the Cheapskate wine philosophy.

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