Getting ‘into wine’ can be a daunting process. Mum drinks white, dad drinks the occasional red with a steak. Uncle Gary talks about ‘notes’, and ‘hints’, and ‘overtones’. It all sounded like a load of strange jargon, to begin with. However, I’m happy to say that this year for me has been the year of delving into the world of wine, something I’ve been cautious to do as a hot-blooded twenty-something. But it was the Australian brand, 19 Crimes, that, through a compelling narrative, lured me in.
19 Crimes’ Unique Story
At the end of the day, 19 Crimes sells wine. What makes them stand out from their seasoned contemporaries is that they also sell a story; a story unique to Australians and the convict spirit. As a younger wine drinker, I had no desire to give my business to wine labels that had no character, no personality, and seemingly no room at the metaphorical table for a guy like me. 19 Crimes changed that.
The name is derived from the literal 19 crimes that English men and women were convicted of in the 18th century that would result in a trip to the mysterious land down under. These 19 crimes opened the world of Australian colonialism and frontiers, as well as the man vs. bush spirit that built our modern nation. A few of these crimes included, but were not limited to:
- Grand larceny (theft above the value of one shilling).
- Petty larceny (theft below the value of one shilling).
- Setting fire to underwood.
- Bigamy (the act of marrying someone while already being married to another).
- Stealing a shroud out of a grave.
Alongside murderers, rapists, thieves, and assaulters, this group made up for some very interesting characters. That mischievous and criminal character is maintained through the 19 Crimes wine selection.
Each bottle is sealed by a random selection of one of 19 corks – one cork for each crime. However what really makes 19 Crimes wine truly come alive, is the talking labels. You heard that correctly. Simply download the 19 Crimes app, point your phone at the label and your wine will tell a brief yet interesting story about the chosen character’s journey to Australia.
I suppose this is the bit that matters most. 19 Crimes currently sell six drops – one white, and five reds, each with its own unique character and story. Those wines include:
- 2017 Hard Chardonnay.
- 2016 The Banished.
- 2016 The Warden.
- 2016 Shiraz.
- 2016 Red Blend.
- 2017 The Uprising.
A personal favourite of mine is ‘The Uprising’. As a previous – thankfully no longer – rum drinker, I found that through ageing a portion of the wine in rum barrels, 19 Crimes delivered a warm, brown sugar taste that accentuated the dark and full undertones of each sip.
What got me hooked on video games when I was 12 has got me hooked on wine at 22: a compelling narrative. By the time I had even popped my first cork on my 19 Crimes, I was already sold. It just so happens that the full, well-rounded body of the wine sits amazingly too. So, whether you’re a budding connoisseur or a seasoned veteran, I encourage you to give 19 Crimes a try. You might come for the story, but you’ll stay for the taste.
You’ll find most 19 Crimes wines at your usual retail outlets, or you can find them online at the various wine clubs like Vivino.