GUILTY! – 19 Crimes


photograph of imprisoned O'Reilly, 1866

I recently had the pleasure of attending my first regional wine meeting for Whole Foods Market. We were introduced to hundreds of wines and given the opportunity to taste them all.  As you can imagine it was a bit difficult to differentiate the wines after the first 100 🙂  even though we were spitting and not swallowing. Luckily I took notes that I could actually read and this wine made the list.

Meet John Boyle O’Reilly [pictured at left] from the 19 CRIMES wine bottle label.  John along with others are featured via real mug shots on each bottle with the real crimes listed on each box/case of wine.


The corks used in each bottle list the 19 CRIMES which could make things interesting for the cork collectors out there. I got #11 Counterfeiting The Copper Coin on my bottle. Crime #12 pictured here; BIGAMY.

From the 19 CRIMES website:

NINETEEN CRIMES turned criminals into colonists. Upon conviction British rogues guilty of those crimes were sentenced to Australia rather than death.  This punishment by “transportation” began in 1788 and many of the lawless died at sea.  The rough-hewn prisoners that reached Australia lived in servitude under the lash. Pioneers in a frontier penal colony, they forged a new country and new lives, brick by brick. This Shiraz Durif blend celebrates the rules they broke and the culture they built.

19 CRIMES wine

Soon after our regional meeting I brought in 10 cases to display in our Whole Foods Market North Miami wine department. Sales have been brisk and continue to increase as word spreads. The packaging is a big draw; frosted bottle, mug shots, historical facts. Also the sale price of $12.99 is a good price point for those willing to experiment on a new wine while maybe discovering  a new favorite.

Last night I decided to buy a bottle to make sure my somewhat blurred memory of this wine was correct.  Whew, luckily for me it was!  My notes:

Nose; rich red and dark fruit, plum, spice, vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate, tobacco, molasses.

Palate; vanilla, butterscotch/molasses, pepper, violet, licorice, red fruit finish.

Not included above is my better half’s descriptor of; cherry Popsicle stick. With my dumbfounded gaze he added; “you know, not the Popsicle itself but when you chew the stick afterwards”.  Adding; “if new tennis ball can can be used by others as a descriptor then I can use cherry Popsicle stick!”  There you have it, maybe a first, right here on Whine and Cheers for Wine. Come to think of it; red fruit, cherry, wood…he may be on to something!

This wine is an easy drinker and SMOOTH. Very well-balanced for a wine with 13-14% alcohol. It disappears before your very eyes. So yes, I will continue to recommend this nicely priced, well packaged southeastern Australian blend of Shiraz and Petite Sirah aka Durif.  Heck, I’ll continue to buy it myself!  ¡SALUD!

21 responses »

  1. Great post! I don’t know which I liked better, ‘cherry Popsicle stick,’ or ‘Impersonating an Egyptian.’ I liked the whole thing and I’m definitely going to try this wine.

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  3. This is an amazing post! I will find some time to taste these wines from Australia. I really love drinking champagne. The bubbles & the crisp but great sweet taste of the better champagnes is very good & goes down with going t restaurants that serve brunch & alcohol together. I think great wines come from great people with great creativeness & thoughts of what they have as well as what they like. Thanks & have a great day!

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  6. My younger brother, Malachy Fitzgerald, is a dead ringer for John O’Reilly. I gave him a bottle and a 99 Crimes box ( with the picture) for Christmas and asked him who it reminded him of and he said “me, when I was a kid”. We have had alot of fun with this over the holidays.

  7. thank you for mentioning those wines. After reading your post (in early 2019) I went on to look for those and they are readily available almost everywhere that sells wine here in NJ. I bought a selection and I just tried their Cabernet Sauvignon at first : it’s excellent, an instant favorite (I wrote a full review of that wine on my wine blog) and I can’t wait to try the other ones !

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