By no means am I a wine snob. But I’ll readily admit it: I typically give a side-eye to celebrity wines. Blame it on my cynical heart, which generally assumes most celebrity products are scams meant to capitalize on and profit off of broke and adoring fans. Or maybe it’s the fact that there are so many producers who make incredible bottles that are constantly overlooked.
The wine world is global. There are so many wineries that exist which some of us may never get to experience, simply because of location or the size of their operations. And with tariffs and importing kerfuffles, production yields varying from year to year, shelf competition, wildfires, climate change, and pandemic-impacted marketing budgets… new winemakers are up against it. Expanding a new winery’s reach can be an extraordinary challenge.
Then comes some famous person with a collab from a winery with millions of dollars to spend on trendy labels while leveraging a loyal fan base who will purchase just about anything they stamp their names on and it’s like, do we really need this? Shouldn’t we be investing in actual good wine from wineries backed by people with a true passion for fermented grape juice?
All that said, every so often I stumble across a wine attached to a celebrity that manages to blow me away, even though I’m biased against it. Such was the case when I got my hands on a bottle of 2019 19 Crimes Snoop Dogg Cali Red Blend. Uncle Snoop’s collaboration with the Australian winery marks the label’s first foray into California grapes, and it seems that they’ve done West Coast wine right. The red blend is not only tasty but it’s a quality-made wine that’s an absolute steal at its price point (like most of the wines in the 19 Crimes portfolio). Not to mention, it’s widely accessible in retail shops across the country in addition to being available for online delivery.
Here are my tasting notes:
2019 19 Crimes Snoop Dogg Cali Red Blend
Average Price: $12
Now here’s a wine collab that makes sense. On one hand, you have 19 Crimes, a wine company inspired by British outlaws who were sentenced to rough it out under the grueling Australian sun in the late 1700s. Yet they managed to not only survive the foreign territory but thrive in it. Then you have Snoop Dogg, an award-winning rapper/entrepreneur/TV host who has made the most of his own second chances, after battling convictions and felony charges. With this blend of Petite Sirah and Zinfandel—the creme de la creme of grapes in Lodi—it’s like Snoop and 19 Crimes have emerged together as the underdogs of California wine.
It’s a duo you’d be crazy to wager against.
This rich, purple-hued wine is rolling in the deep with black and blueberries. The dark fruit aromas are strong on the nose while the palate is immersed with flavors of candied cherries and a hint of raisin. This wine literally glides down your throat — it’s that smooth! And yet… it has a slightly smokey, fuzzy quality in the extended finish that will likely lead you to pour glass after glass just to wet your tongue again.
This is a dense wine that is equal parts supple and dry, and wholly delicious. You’ll be finished with this bottle before you know it.
The Dogg Father has traded in the gin and juice just to bless us with a red wine experience. And at such a budget-friendly price!
Dramatics aside, this is a quality wine that captures Snoop’s sincere persona. He’s the celebrity who simply wants us all to enjoy the things he enjoys. Seriously, have you seen this man roll a blunt (before he hired a professional roller, that is)? This is a guy who truly takes time to savor the things he’s passionate about. Yes, I know it’s a brand collab and a famous person is getting richer off it, but I swear you can taste that same love and attention to detail in every sip of the Cali Red.