19 Crimes Red Blend Wine Review | Tasted & Rated
It's difficult to escape the 19 Crimes wines. Most recently promoted by celebrities like Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart, you can't knock them for trying to get new people engaged with wine.
But is there actually a product of any substance behind this clever facade?
Well, I've been drinking the 19 Crimes Red Blend (sometimes called the 19 Crimes Red Wine) and these are my thoughts....
The Famous 19 Crimes Wine Label
The 19 Crimes wine brand is one big marketing ploy. There are 19 different collectable corks in this series of wines (though a lot of them are screw tops too). Each cork represents a crime that was once punishable by deportation to Australia.
Australia was once a penal colony of Great Britain and this was deemed a terrible punishment at the time. It seems alright to me though. I'd happily swap those grey skies and rain for some Australian sunshine!
Most of these crimes are fairly typical but a real standout is 'impersonating an Egyptian', which was apparently a terrible thing to do at the time. It sounds like a Monty Python sketch to me.
The bottle labels feature a criminal who was punished for one of these particular crimes and these labels can be brought to life with a phone app.
The app animates the person who then tells their tale using augmented reality technology.
It’s quite a fun little gimmick if you haven’t tried it before but certainly not a reason in itself to buy the wine.
I’m much more interested in what’s inside so let’s get tasting!
This wine typically costs between $9 and $11. At this price point it's competing with budget wine brands like Yellow Tail, Jacob's Creek, and Barefoot.
Is it actually possible to make above average wine at this price? Let's find out!
It's a deep, dark ruby in color. There's a little opacity at the edges and it's not quite as inky in appearance as your typical Shiraz.
There's Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the 19 Crimes red blend too and the Merlot appears to have lightened the body and color ever so slightly.
The first thing I get is alcohol, which is a little surprising. At 13.5% ABV, on paper it's not exactly a heavy hitting Shiraz based wine. After decanting for an hour the alcohol subsides a little but it's still present more than I'd like.
Getting past the alcohol, there's a lot of dark, jammy fruit. Blackberry, blackcurrant, black cherry, and a lighter red fruit note of strawberry. There's a little vanilla too.
The nose is simple and pleasant but slightly hot.
The jammy black fruit comes through with some chocolate and licorice on the end. The licorice finish is lightly sweet and there's a little extra residual sugar here. The alcohol persists on the palate and it feels like a wine that's a little stronger than 13.5% ABV. However, with that bit of extra sugar it just about gets away with it.
It's a dry wine but these budget, crowd pleasers tend to have just a touch of extra sugar in them to widen their appeal.
It's all about approachability and mass market appeal for these big brands and the addition of Merlot in this blend helps to soften the wine. The Merlot softens the tannins and lightens the body of the wine ever so slightly.
The result is a very smooth wine (though a little hot) that doesn't really step out of line. Big on jammy fruit, very smooth tannins and little acidity adds up to wine that's a little sweet.
It's not a wine that has the structure to pair well with food but as an easy drinking sipper, at this price, it will appeal to a lot of occasional wine drinkers.
The 2020 19 Crimes Red Blend is a very easygoing, approachable $10 wine. It's a wine that’s very unlikely to offend anyone. Light on tannin and acidity and big on fruit, it's a wine that most people will happily drink with friends.
It’s better than similarly priced wines like Barefoot and Yellow Tail but you can find better quality around this price point at Costco.
A criticism I have with it is that it strangely runs a bit hot. This is a bit weird because it’s only 13.5% ABV. I could understand this at 15% but at 13.5% this is unusual and it indicates a lack of balance in the wine. It improves a little after a long decant but the alcohol is still apparent.
I’m going to score this 6.5/10. It’s a solid $10 sipper that’s difficult not to enjoy. There's no complexity here, just lots of jammy fruit in a wine that aims to please.
How did you find this wine? I'd love to hear about some different perspectives in the comments section down below!