Wine Time with Aaron the Wine Guy

Hello Prince Albert! There is a distinct difference between new-world and old-world wines: one is earthy, spicy and subtle while the other makes a big impact on the palate with intensely concentrated flavors of ripe fruit. Old-world wines tend to strive for balance and intricacy and wines from countries like the USA or Australia often deliver wines full of bold brashness.

This concept is easily displayed by the wines of 19 Crimes from Australia. This brand is known for its interactive bottle labels which come to life using the augmented reality (AR) app, Living Wines which is free to download in the app store. Each bottle represents a different crime and the “criminal” comes to life to tell their tale. The real reason that this brand sells well is not a marketing gimmick however, but an expectation that the wine inside the bottle will be full-bodied, richly intense and packed full of fruity flavor. Every bottle I have tried has been delicious but I find that the wines are often un-balanced with residual sugars and lack of acidity.

At the end of the day, my preference still lies with old-world wines and grapes but many other wine enthusiasts will gladly pick up a bottle of 19 Crimes because they know they will enjoy the bold flavor. The brand is a safe choice to bring to a barbeque as the whites and reds compliment many meaty, savory dishes and grilled meats. 

Even if I find the wines flabby at times, they are admittedly fun to drink with an enormous amount of flavor like the 2021 Shiraz. The nose and palate are bursting with ripe, dark fruits and satisfying leather. On the other hand, the 2018 GSM (Grenache, Shiraz, Mataro) did not match up when comparing the nose to the taste. It might be that this bottle is past its drink date and lost some concentration, as most fruity wines should be drank quickly (within a couple of years). 

This brand can also be found in the USA section with Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart gracing its labels but the majority of their wines come from Eastern Australia. A new sparkling wine is rumored to have been recently released under the Snoop Dogg label and as I’ve enjoyed the rose (not so much the red), I will give it a chance if I happen to spot it on the shelf.

The wines of 19 Crimes demonstrate why people love new-world wines with their concentrated, full-bodied flavors of plums, blackberries and dark cherries. On the downside, the wines can sometimes taste one-noted/simple and not much complexity is typically found. With that in mind, it makes a great option when you’re craving intense, fruity flavors. The brand uses Shiraz grapes as a base for many of their wines (like many wineries in Australia) and the results are delicious wines like the GSM, Shiraz, Shiraz/Durif (my personal favorite) and their Dark Red which is finished in rum barrels.

Tasting and comparing the styles and flavor profiles of wines from the new-world vs. old-world has made me appreciate both worlds of wine and I recommend occasionally bouncing between the two to stay informed about what’s on the shelves. You never know what great flavors you may be missing! Here are my wine picks of the week!   

19 Crimes Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2018: (Australia). Dry red, deep purple color. The wine opens with an instant burst of blackberries, vanilla, dark cherries and an undertone of licorice and chocolate from the glass. The palate brings plenty of dark, ripe fruits but doesn’t quite deliver on the intensity and concentration hinted at by the nose; Despite this, there are juicy blackberry and cherry flavors to enjoy with smooth, medium acidity, medium tannins and a touch of spice/black pepper leading into a medium-length finish of blackberry, smoked meat and pepper. Initially, the simple flavors of the wine impress but the flavors drop off too quickly and no complexity emerges. Will pair well pan-seared meatballs, grilled burgers or cheddar cheese. Average! $25, 14.5 ABV

19 Crimes Shiraz 2021: (Australia). Off-dry red, deep purple color with hints of ruby. The wine coats the glass with long, thick drops and puts off a heady aroma of boozy chocolate, purple grape juice, stewed cherries and plums as well as smoky notes of leather or soya sauce. The interesting nose leads to a full-bodied palate full of richly concentrated dark fruits (blackberry, plums and cherries), grape juice and savory flavors of smoked leather and cracked pepper spice. The pepper carries into a medium-length finish which ends on chocolate, plum and vanilla notes. Overall, the wine is big and powerful with medium acidity and a bit of bite from medium-plus tannins. It has a thick and boozy/alcohol quality which doesn’t overwhelm but delights in every intense sip. Excellent concentration and rich flavors will taste amazing with BBQ ribs, cheeseburgers or pulled-pork poutine. Good! $25, 14.1% ABV

Cheers and thanks for reading!