I ordinarily pass on Wolf Blass wines, although the label has many advocates in Australia. There are several levels of Wolf Blass, with Yellow Label in the middle usually selling for about $12.99 a bottle. When I saw the 2005 Shiraz on sale for $3.99 at Harding's Markets and the 2006 Riesling for $2.99 at Sawall's Health Foods, I couldn't resist buying a few bottles. At that price, it's hard to go wrong.
I took a bottle of the Shiraz to a July 4 picnic. It smelled fresh and tasted ripe and plummy. But it's hard to be too discriminating at a picnic. The next night, I noted a slight cooked quality, but that could be expected from a bottle that sat in 100+ degree temperature for several hours.
The Riesling, opened the next night, was typical of Australian Rieslings--dryer than most German or Alsace Rieslings and with a strong note of petroleum. Medium to full bodied and oily in texture. Not much of the floral delicacy that is a hallmark of the best German Rieslings. There was also a slight spritziness, something I usually associate with very young wines.
When wines are closed out at such low prices, there are several possible reasons. Usually, there is merely a change in distributorship or the need for more shelf space as newer vintages arrive. Some times, there is a storage problem such as overheating. Even so, at these prices, the Wolf Blass Yellow Label wines offer little risk if you intend to drink them over the near term.