Tag Archives: Australian wine

GUILTY! Yet Again – 19 Crimes

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This wine has legs, and I am not describing the usual wine reference. Yes, while it longingly coats your wine glass thanks to the alcohol level of about 14%, the longevity of 19 CRIMES on Whine and Cheers for Wine is admirable.  Hard to believe that I discovered this wine over two years ago as reported in GUILTY-19Crimes. In that time my original review has repeatedly made the daily Top visited list on Whine and Cheers. It is included below following this post.

Not having had it for a while and watching it continuously fly off our store shelves I decided it was time to revisit the most recent vintage of 19 CRIMES.  So excited was I that I forgot to notice the listed crime on the cork. Yes as many as you may know, each of the individual 19 crimes are listed on the cork. Turns out it was: #9 ASSAULT WITH INTENT TO ROB. Check out this short entertaining video and see how these “crimes” actually came to be:

The first thing I noticed on this new 2014 vintage was that it was lighter in body than I recalled. I would say on the light side of medium bodied. On the nose leather hit me first followed by red fruit [strawberry, raspberry] and an earthiness [think wet soil] as it opened. On the palate I detected a floral quality [violet] and red fruit [cherry] with cocoa and vanilla as it opened.

One thing didn’t change, three-quarters of the bottle disappeared before I knew what happened! 19 CRIMES continues to be an easy-drinker, a wine that can be paired well with many dishes. In fact maybe even more so now with its lighter body style. I will continue to recommend this wine to customers looking for a fruit forward blend, also those customers new to wine wanting to find their footing. Easy drinker? Check. Nicely balanced? Check. Good value? At under $13.00 you better believe it.  ¡SALUD!

photograph of imprisoned O'Reilly, 1866I recently had the pleasure of attending my first regional wine meeting for Whole Foods Market. We were introduced to hundreds of wines and given the opportunity to taste them all.  As you can imagine it was a bit difficult to differentiate the wines after the first 100 🙂  even though we were spitting and not swallowing. Luckily I took notes that I could actually read and this wine made the list.

Meet John Boyle O’Reilly [pictured at left] from the 19 CRIMES wine bottle label.  John along with others are featured via real mug shots on each bottle with the real crimes listed on each box/case of wine.

19 CRIMES WINE

The corks used in each bottle list the 19 CRIMES which could make things interesting for the cork collectors out there. I got #11 Counterfeiting The Copper Coin on my bottle. Crime #12 pictured here; BIGAMY.

From the 19 CRIMES website:

NINETEEN CRIMES turned criminals into colonists. Upon conviction British rogues guilty of those crimes were sentenced to Australia rather than death.  This punishment by “transportation” began in 1788 and many of the lawless died at sea.  The rough-hewn prisoners that reached Australia lived in servitude under the lash. Pioneers in a frontier penal colony, they forged a new country and new lives, brick by brick. This Shiraz Durif blend celebrates the rules they broke and the culture they built.

19 CRIMES wine

Soon after our regional meeting I brought in 10 cases to display in our Whole Foods Market North Miami wine department. Sales have been brisk and continue to increase as word spreads. The packaging is a big draw; frosted bottle, mug shots, historical facts. Also the sale price of $12.99 is a good price point for those willing to experiment on a new wine while maybe discovering  a new favorite.

Last night I decided to buy a bottle to make sure my somewhat blurred memory of this wine was correct.  Whew, luckily for me it was!  My notes:

Nose; rich red and dark fruit, plum, spice, vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate, tobacco, molasses.

Palate; vanilla, butterscotch/molasses, pepper, violet, licorice, red fruit finish.

Not included above is my better half’s descriptor of; cherry Popsicle stick. With my dumbfounded gaze he added; “you know, not the Popsicle itself but when you chew the stick afterwards”.  Adding; “if new tennis ball can can be used by others as a descriptor then I can use cherry Popsicle stick!”  There you have it, maybe a first, right here on Whine and Cheers for Wine. Come to think of it; red fruit, cherry, wood…he may be on to something!

This wine is an easy drinker and SMOOTH. Very well-balanced for a wine with 13-14% alcohol. It disappears before your very eyes. So yes, I will continue to recommend this nicely priced, well packaged southeastern Australian blend of Shiraz and Petite Sirah aka Durif.  Heck, I’ll continue to buy it myself!  ¡SALUD!

GUILTY! – 19 Crimes

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photograph of imprisoned O'Reilly, 1866

I recently had the pleasure of attending my first regional wine meeting for Whole Foods Market. We were introduced to hundreds of wines and given the opportunity to taste them all.  As you can imagine it was a bit difficult to differentiate the wines after the first 100 🙂  even though we were spitting and not swallowing. Luckily I took notes that I could actually read and this wine made the list.

Meet John Boyle O’Reilly [pictured at left] from the 19 CRIMES wine bottle label.  John along with others are featured via real mug shots on each bottle with the real crimes listed on each box/case of wine.

19 CRIMES WINE

The corks used in each bottle list the 19 CRIMES which could make things interesting for the cork collectors out there. I got #11 Counterfeiting The Copper Coin on my bottle. Crime #12 pictured here; BIGAMY.

From the 19 CRIMES website:

NINETEEN CRIMES turned criminals into colonists. Upon conviction British rogues guilty of those crimes were sentenced to Australia rather than death.  This punishment by “transportation” began in 1788 and many of the lawless died at sea.  The rough-hewn prisoners that reached Australia lived in servitude under the lash. Pioneers in a frontier penal colony, they forged a new country and new lives, brick by brick. This Shiraz Durif blend celebrates the rules they broke and the culture they built.

19 CRIMES wine

Soon after our regional meeting I brought in 10 cases to display in our Whole Foods Market North Miami wine department. Sales have been brisk and continue to increase as word spreads. The packaging is a big draw; frosted bottle, mug shots, historical facts. Also the sale price of $12.99 is a good price point for those willing to experiment on a new wine while maybe discovering  a new favorite.

Last night I decided to buy a bottle to make sure my somewhat blurred memory of this wine was correct.  Whew, luckily for me it was!  My notes:

Nose; rich red and dark fruit, plum, spice, vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate, tobacco, molasses.

Palate; vanilla, butterscotch/molasses, pepper, violet, licorice, red fruit finish.

Not included above is my better half’s descriptor of; cherry Popsicle stick. With my dumbfounded gaze he added; “you know, not the Popsicle itself but when you chew the stick afterwards”.  Adding; “if new tennis ball can can be used by others as a descriptor then I can use cherry Popsicle stick!”  There you have it, maybe a first, right here on Whine and Cheers for Wine. Come to think of it; red fruit, cherry, wood…he may be on to something!

This wine is an easy drinker and SMOOTH. Very well-balanced for a wine with 13-14% alcohol. It disappears before your very eyes. So yes, I will continue to recommend this nicely priced, well packaged southeastern Australian blend of Shiraz and Petite Sirah aka Durif.  Heck, I’ll continue to buy it myself!  ¡SALUD!

Grocery Store Wines: TWISTED 2011 Old Vine Zin / Yellow Tail Sauvignon Blanc

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Three generations of Indelicato family members have now run DFV Wines since 1924.  Their collection of wines produced include; Twisted, Gnarly Head, Bota Box, Noble, Handcraft, Brazin and others. From their web-site:

DFV Wines is a portfolio of premium wines from a selection of the most desirable vineyards  from notable California wine-growing regions. The winery harvests grapes from Napa, Lodi,  Monterey and Sonoma to craft wines that express the diversity of these appellations.

Although I recognize mostly all their namesake brands I must admit to only having imbibed and enjoyed their Gnarly Head Zinfandels in the past.  I was drawn to TWISTED because; [1] I had never come across this brand before [2] It fell into my grocery store/supermarket wine category although I have come to learn it is sold through many various outlets [3] The price! Usually $10.99 but on sale 2 for $10.00, worse case scenario a good cooking wine 🙂

From my notes: dark fruit aroma, low viscosity, a rich burgundy purple color, light wood on the nose which surprised me because I automatically expected heavier, a plum taste with coffee and strawberry on the finish.

In researching for this post I came across many positive reviews dating back 4-5 years. They mostly correlated the low-cost with a non-low cost taste. To a slight degree I agree with this but at the same time I have to admit that this tasted like a five dollar wine to me.  Swill it is not, an old vine Zin in the reasonably priced Gnarly Head class it is not either. Is it worth $5-6.00 sure. Should you pay the retail of $10-11.00? I would say no. Can you do a lot better with a $9.00+ bottle of wine?  YES. A factor I must consider here is the youthfulness of this wine; it is a 2011 vintage. A couple of years may add to this wine but unfortunately it will most likely not keep me interested enough even at 2 for $10.00 for a revisit in the future.

Over the last 8 years this South Eastern Australian wine seems to have become available pretty much everywhere in the U.S. and falls perfectly into the grocery store/supermarket wine category. The name Yellow Tail comes from;  the yellow-footed rock wallaby, a smaller cousin of the kangaroo that has a golden tail.

While researching the winemaker I came across nutritional information for this varietal. A 5 oz. portion comes in at 119 calories. I find this very interesting and believe they should market this fact in the way other wine producers are doing such as Skinny Girl which comes in at the same caloric range, are priced at close to 3 times the YT price and quite honestly are what I would call swill. My Skinny Girl tirade over and back on topic 🙂

I was very pleasantly surprised with the Yellow Tail Sauvignon Blanc priced at $5.99.  I would consider it a perfect summer every day wine and comparable to higher priced competitors.  From my notes: pale straw color, crisp, green fruits [citrus/lemon] on the nose with tropical fruits on the palate [pineapple], along with honeysuckle, green apple and pear. I would classify the acidity and dryness levels as medium on this wine.

This is the second Yellow Tail product I try [so far one red blend and this white] and I have to say that in both cases I can see why they sell so well:  they are affordable and tasty. Quite honestly I found them better than many other similarly marketed mass-produced wines I have tasted. Now my usual fork in the road, would I buy this wine again? I guess the answer would be yes. Will I buy it again? Probably not. Unfortunately it doesn’t excite me enough to want to go buy more. That said I know I have plenty of friends who would swear this under $10 wine is just as good as higher priced wines.  Good for them. I also know that should the day come when all I have is 6 bucks in my pocket for wine I may just go the Yellow Tail route.  ¡SALUD!

From internet:

Who’s Behind the Roo

“People can’t be bothered by all the hype and nonsense of wine. They just want to drink it.” ~John Casella.

It all started in 1820, when the first Casellas planted some vines in the Italian countryside. Two things sprouted shortly thereafter: a cluster of grapes, and a family passion that would last 188 years and counting.

Fast forward to 1957. Filippo and Maria Casella were keeping the business alive in Italy, when they decided to pack up and move to Australia. However far away, they couldn’t escape their wine roots. Filippo began selling grapes to local wineries. Then in 1969, he decided it was time for a new generation of Casellas to put their winemaking skills to use.

Following the blueprint of other Australian winemakers, Casella sourced his fruit from other growing areas throughout South Eastern Australia, creating wines with incredible freshness and character year after year. Still, almost a third of the grapes used for [yellow tail] are grown right in the Casella family’s vineyards, nearly 540 acres in the Riverina region of Australia. In 1994, the Casellas built a new and improved winery, blending old world heritage with new world technology.

From humble beginnings, this family has come a long way. Today the company is run by Filippo’s three sons—John, Joe and Marcello—while Filippo’s grandchildren have become the sixth generation to join the family business.  In 2000, John Casella joined forces with another family-run company, W.J. Deutsch & Sons, to bring the goodness of [yellow tail] to the United States.

Year after year, the Casella family continues to create quality wine that’s fun, flavorful, and bursting with a personality all of its own.