From gin and juice to vino, who would’ve thought that Snoop Dogg would launch his own wine?! I know I didn’t. The 2019 19 Crimes Snoop Cali Red officially hit stores last month and I’m not going to lie, I kind of rolled my eyes (just a little) when the news first hit Instagram back in April and images of Snoop and his wine started to flood my feed. ‘Oh Lord,’ I thought. ‘Not another celebrity trying to slap their face on a bottle of wine.’ I take wine seriously, so was I a little skeptical? Yes! So many celebrities are entering the wine game these days. Some legitimately. like Pink who actually took courses at UC Davis to learn about winemaking, while others are releasing wines that are being called into question like Cameron Diaz. I was more concerned about the quality of the wine he was putting out. Whereas, I know others took issue with the major wine brand he was partnering with and the negative stereotypes it might perpetuate. I’ll address that in a minute. Anyways, regardless of any initial thoughts I had—it’s Snoop! And, just by his name alone, many including myself are going to give his Cali Red a try at least once. Plus, you know I had to do it for my hometown Long Beach, which Snoop represents so well!
A Look at the 19 Crimes Partnership
I tried to read up as much as I could on the wine venture. First, it’s important to know that Snoop partnered with the popular 19 Crimes to make his label. That was a good move because everyone (from the beginner to advanced wine drinker) knows about this brand whether you like it or not. It’s sold just about everywhere. The Australian company is known for their line of wines that feature the “convicts-turned-colonists” who built Australia. These convicts’ faces are pictured on the labels on each of their wines and so is Snoop’s on the Cali Red. Enter conflict. Considering Snoop’s past with the law and 19 Crimes’ convict theme, some didn’t think it was a good look for Snoop as a Black man to be associated with this brand. I mean I get that and see that, but that wasn’t my first thought when I saw his face on the bottle. It was always about how good the wine was going to be. I think it’s important to know that this brand is about celebrating the rules these men broke and the culture they built versus their criminal past. John Wardley, 19 Crimes’ marketing vice president, told Digital Trends:
“The big idea was actually moving from historic figures — Irish convicts who were banished to Australia — to a contemporary personality. This came straight out of the brand values — anti-authority, rule-breaking, culture creation, and redemption. We realized these values are timeless and when we put a contemporary lens on them, the first person we thought of was Snoop.”
And, I was pleased to read that 19 Crimes is donating $100,000 to the NAACP Legal Fund to help assist the thousands of people who have been arrested nationwide for participating in the George Floyd murder protests for breaking curfews and were simply just exercising their rights as a U.S. citizen. As you can see, this aligns with the core values of their brand. How dope is that?!
Snoop’s Cali Red
Okay, okay let’s get to the wine! This is the first California wine that 19 Crimes has produced. I love that they switched it up so that it could truly represent Snoop. Sourced from the Northern California’s Lodi region, Snoop Cali Red is a blend of Petite Syrah (65 percent), Zinfandel (30 percent), and Merlot (5 percent) aged in American oak. And, might I add the alcohol in this red blend is at 14.1 percent ABV, which is pretty high.
Upon pouring a glass, I was surprised at how deep of a purple the wine was. For some reason I was expecting it to be more of a ruby red. Anyways, I got a lot of the oak and dark berries on the nose. This full bodied red is very smooth. I got a lot of those dark berry notes accompanied by some chocolate and a little bit of vanilla. The wine is so smooth though that you really don’t notice the tannins. They kind of silently linger on the finish. Overall, I thought it was solid. It’s a good blend…very straightforward in flavors. You know exactly what you’re getting. It was lacking that ‘umph’ of complexity as a lot of my fellow wine nerds would say. It was nothing really to brag about. Would I drink it if it were in front of me? Yeah, but I probably wouldn’t buy it again myself. But, if you’re a 19 Crimes fan, I’m pretty sure that you’ll enjoy Snoop’s Cali Red. Again, it’s not a bad wine, it just didn’t wow me.
It sells for about $12 and according to 19 Crimes’ Instagram page it’s sold nationwide. I found it at Kroger in Houston. I think in California it’s sold at Ralph’s and Albertsons. I’d just type in “Snoop Cali Red near me” in a Google search to see where you can find it in your city. I’m curious to know what you think about Snoop launching a wine? Would you try it? Have you tried it? Let me know your thoughts. Until next time…glasses up!