19 Crimes Red Blend Review
Discover more about the 19 Crimes Red Blend wine which travels from Australia. Sweet, fruity and inviting, do the soft flavors of this Shiraz blend live up to the hype?
Elegant, sophisticated and refined…wine conjures up certain images regardless of your favorite tipple.
However, 19 Crimes Red Blend is a break from the norm, and a wine that will challenge all your previously held beliefs about a drink that generally trades on its chic reputation.
Most wine reviews focus primarily on taste - and we’re going to do that too - 19 Crimes demands a little more.
Bold, defiant and modern, everything about this brand threatens to redefine wine drinking as you currently know it.
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Why 19 Crimes?
It's certainly an interesting name and it's the foundation of a clever marketing strategy that's taken 19 Crimes global over the last couple of years.
So what's the story?
This wine has its essence buried in a criminal past!
The 19 Crimes Red Blend is an Australian wine, and herein lies the clue.
This wine - and all of the others in the 19 Crimes stable - each tells a story about the convicts who were sentenced to deportation to Australia.
Over an 80 year period from 1788 to 1868, around 162,000 convicts were sent to penal colonies in Australia from their homes in Ireland and Britain.
The name '19 Crimes' actually refers to the list of 19 offences that were punishable by being shipped to Australia.
A long, arduous and high-risk journey awaited these criminals who were mostly convicted of petty crimes (those convicted of serious crimes were usually sentenced to death).
For those that made it, a new life as colonists awaited, but the perils were such that only the toughest survived.
On each and every bottle you’ll find yourself staring into the baleful eyes of one of the criminals.
Each of the wines is dedicated to one of these convicts, and 19 Crimes wants you to hear their story.
However, it’s worth mentioning that 19 Crimes are so invested in this brand image that they’ve covered off even the tiniest detail.
When you pop open your bottle, don’t just toss the cork, take a closer look.
Every cork is printed with one of the crimes which is only visible once the bottle is opened. Which one will you get?
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John Boyle O’Reilly
Out of the 162,000 convicts who were sentenced to cross the ocean for their crimes, John Boyle O’Reilly’s story takes center stage for the original red blend.
With his earnest face and serious expression clearly depicted in sepia tones, he’s not what you expect a hardened criminal to look like.
It’s fair to say that O’Reilly wasn’t the worst of criminals and was handed a pretty rough deal when he was transported to Australia.
His crime was simply belonging to the Irish Republican Brotherhood, also known as the Fenians.
A republican, anti-monarchy group whose goal was to unite Ireland, the Fenians were a political body and O’Reilly an active member.
Belonging to this organization as a youth was enough to see O’Reilly sent to live in Australia as a punishment, ripped at a tender age from all he knew.
However, this tough youngster not only survived the journey - a feat in itself - but he later went on to escape Australia and made the journey to live as a free man in the US.
Once in America, he returned to his role as an activist, speaking out for his culture and the Irish community and taking up the position of editor at The Pilot newspaper.
With his lectures, speeches and writing, O’Reilly became one of the most prominent spokesmen of his time.
Look again at the portrait on the bottle and you’ll see the fierce determination, and the spirit that never yields.
Apparently, this is what 19 Crimes is all about and this is why they want you to drink the wine.
Related: If you love blends, don't miss our take on the 7 Moons red blend next.
A neat trick that certainly seems to be engaging the younger wine drinkers is the bringing to life of the characters on the label by way of augmented reality.
Using the companion phone app, you can bring the labels to life and receive animated messages from the people involved.
It's hard not to be impressed on first view and it's a creative marketing trick that is certainly working when it comes to getting new people involved with the brand.
You can see it in action in the video below.
More Than a Story?
With such a strong brand, it’s easy to almost forget about the wine itself.
After all, the label and story is designed to appeal to a new market of millennial males who might feel otherwise excluded by traditional wine marketing.
Nevertheless, there’s still plenty to like about this wine, even if you set aside the strong imagery, branding, and marketing.
Based on a Shiraz, the red blend is a semi-dry wine and it’s probably fair to concede that it’s not one that will shake your world.
There’s nothing that’s utterly mind-blowing or life-changing about this wine and it probably won’t win any awards.
Does this mean it’s a bad wine?
Certainly not! It’s actually rather delightful, even if it’s not the most original out there on the market.
Pick up a bottle or two of this, and if you’re a fan of sweeter wines, you’ll be very pleased with your choice.
Here’s more about what you should know.
Our 19 Crimes Red Blend Review
A sniff and a swirl of this wine will reveal a jammy sweet wine that’s loaded with tones of vanilla and chocolate.
If you don’t like sweeter flavors, you’re unlikely to get along with this wine.
However, if you are fond of sweet and ripe-tasting wines, this one could be a winner.
Although it’s not a pure Shiraz, the integrity of the structure is retained, along with a bit of added sweetness.
You might notice a sour cherry at the start before moving onto a cooling raspberry with a semi-dry finish.
It’s a medium-bodied wine that doesn’t have any tannins but nevertheless still delivers a juicy, lingering taste.
It pairs well with Italian food, especially meat such as bolognese and lasagna.
How you choose to drink it is up to you but you might want to try it chilled, as you would a Sangria, rather than drinking it at room temperature like a traditional red.
Fascinating Flavors at a Great Price
The red blend has a very specific profile that was created after a lot of careful market research.
It's a very approachable wine that is designed to land well with casual or new wine drinkers.
Sweet, juicy and fruity, it’s got some extremely pleasing flavors that would sit just as well with a more expensive bottle.
Although it’s hard to see past the stark 'wanted' posters and black glass, this wine is far more than just a marketing gimmick for millennials.
Syrupy and with a hint of oak, every mouthful is soft and lingering which is why it scores such a hit with most of the 19 Crimes wine reviews you'll come across.
New 19 Crimes Red Blends in 2023
Somewhat of a worldwide phenomenon these days, the 19 Crimes red blend line up has recently been bolstered.
Besides, the original John Boyle O'Reilly edition there are now two further red blends available.
19 Crimes Snoop Dogg Cali Red Blend
At 14% alcohol, this blend of Petite Sirah 65%, Zinfandel 30%, and Merlot 5% is a rich dark plum color.
With a medium intensity on the nose, there is red fruit and a bit of alcohol too. At 14%, it's quite a punchy blend!
To taste, there are two distinct flavors of dark cherry and vanilla.
It's an enjoyable, if fairly straightforward red blend. At around $12, it's really good value too.
If you're a Snoop Dogg fan, then you'll particularly enjoy the AR experience, where he talks to you from the bottle (via the app).
19 Crimes The Warden Red Blend
The Warden is a red blend dominated by Shiraz.
On the nose, there are currants, cherries, and plums with a hit of cinnamon at the end.
The flavor profile is somewhat similar and it tastes as you'd expect after the nose.
It's rich with a hint of vanilla and chocolate to finish.