Sometimes the wine picks itself! So it is this time with the selection of 19 Crimes.
In England from 1610 to 1868, if you were incarcerated on your 19th criminal offense and they needed to clear the jails, you found yourself in a long procession to the docks where you were put on a ship and away you went. Originally, convicts were bound for the “Colonies” of the Americas, where you got a job for no wage for 10 years and then you were free. This was known as “punishment by transportation”.
The American Revolution put an end to this forced immigration program to our fair land, but it opened the vast area of Australia. The first ships started to arrive in Australia on January 26th 1788, which is now celebrated as Australia Day. These criminals-turned-pioneers built new lives for themselves and new countries in the process. And, they were FREE!
The wine 19 crimes attempt’s to capture the sprit and culture that these folks forged. The first thing you’ll notice about this wine is the black matte-frosted bottle that gives the look and feel of a bottle from 1700’s. Now this wine has a fantastic marketing program going for it: there are three different labels with the mug shots of three different criminals, and you can go to the wine’s website to find the stories behind the criminals. Each cork has the name of the one of the 19 crimes that could get you on the boat. This is a very well-thought out marketing plan. Here’s the information on face that graces my bottle John Boyle O’Reilly http://www.19crimes.com/wine_oreilly.html
Onto the wine, it’s a red blend of Shiraz and Durif, which is a varietal I had not heard of before. It’s grown in Australia, the United States, and Israel. In the U.S. and Israel it is called Petite Sirah. The color is a youthful plumb red, and the nose is powerful– which as you know I like–with red fruit and berries. I enjoyed the aroma almost as much as I enjoyed drinking the wine. When opened, 19 Crimes had a bitter taste, which I am sure the wine maker was shooting for. One of the characteristics of both Shiraz and, in particular the Petite Sirah, is strong tannins. The bitterness remained throughout but greatly diminished as the wine was open with the air. Some might be put off by this, but the licorice and fruit flavor is worth the slight mouth puckering, and the ride is worth the trip with a nice red berry finish. All in all, a very nice bottle of wine one that inspires both the palate and the mind.
Punishment by Transportation officially ended in 1868. However, with what I see today, I wonder if it isn’t still going on. Where you can have a person charged with a crime–not even convicted and in some cases found not guilty–but their situation is so far gone that they have to leave their home and go somewhere else to find peace and freedom. Are we a nation of laws, or an ignorant mob, blindly following where our passions lead us? Something I shall ponder over my next glass of 19 Crimes. Something we all should ponder.
“Bring the pure wine of
love and freedom.
But sir, a tornado is coming.
More wine, we’ll teach this storm
A thing or two about whirling.”