Not all Crimes are something to be ashamed of

“Len Evans did more to advance the cause of wine in Australia than any other individual,” so says The Oxford Companion of Wine.

I’ll always remember his sense of humour. At a lecture in New York City, he told us that once he was returning to Australia when he was asked by an immigration officer if he had a criminal record. His response was, “Do we still need one to get in?”

When we introduced the original 19 Crimes Red Blend from Australia, just over four years ago, we knew that red blends were catching on.

We thought that the concept of featuring John Boyle O’Reilly on the label was very clever. In case you were wondering, he was a young Irish poet, journalist, author and activist and it was his membership in the Republican Brotherhood that caused his “transportation”. He later escaped to the United States and became a prominent Boston newspaper man and spokesman for the Irish community there.

So how do you create a wine with such wide appeal? A good start for me is to use American oak, as it tends to impart such a lovely, soft feeling to the wine.

Fine examples are found in many Spanish and Australian offerings. Our present 19 Crimes is loaded with jammy, ripe, sweet berry notes laced with chocolate and vanilla.

One review states that “it is darned tasty but does not come off as forced”. That it is more than likely the top-selling bottle of wine here is testament to its ability to please the novice as well as the seasoned wine consumer. It is very pleasant. $19.20.

19 Crimes The Banished, was a new addition for us last year and it is dominated by shiraz and cabernet sauvignon, with Grenache to finish it off. Winery notes are as follows:

• Colour: it is dark red shrouded by purple hues.

• Nose: intense lifted dark chocolate and vanilla aromatics balanced with blackberry and plum fruits.

• Palate: full and round on the palate with a distinct sweetness making the wine rich and mouth-coating. The dark chocolate and vanilla aromatics carry through on the palate and complement subtle flavours of cloves and cinnamon spice. The palate has a long rich plush finish brooding with dark forest fruits. $19.20.

Jane Castings, 29, was convicted of receiving stolen goods of cheese and bacon in Leicester, England.

She was accused of training a group of teenage boys to steal the goods that she requested — she denied this. In 1846, Jane left her husband and four children behind in Leicester and was transported for seven years to Van Diemen’s Land in Tasmania. She now adorns our first white wine label, 19 Crimes Hard Chard. For those that may be intimidated by the name, I can understand your trepidation as I found myself approaching the first bottle with caution when it arrived in November.

Thankfully, though, our team found it most pleasing.

Bold in character, this deep, rich and golden chardonnay is filled with stone fruit aromas and a sweet textured palate. Toasty oak notes have hints of butterscotch and honey balanced with layers of ripe fruit. This full-bodied, powerful wine finishes with rich notes of butter and vanilla and, although this sounds like it deserves the description of “fruit bomb”, I can assure you that it is not criminally intense.

I would, however, prefer to serve it quite cold as this does have a calming effect. Every day I live with the fact that sauvignon blanc rules supreme on our little island, but I remain an unabashed supporter of chardonnay in all its forms. $19.20.

As I write, we are telling our sales team that 19 Crimes The Warden has just arrived for the first time. At $29.45, this is a departure from the others in price and overall complexity.

The Warden is a Shiraz-based red blend with tons of richness. On the nose there is ample plum, currant and cherry intermixed with vanilla and cinnamon spice. The same flavour profile is evident in the mouth, picking up some liquorice notes. Make no mistake, this is a big wine that needs a high-protein dish to accompany it. It really is a good example of what Australian wine is all about.

When you enjoy one of these wines, it is worth contemplating the fact that we can freely “impersonate an Egyptian” or even “burn clothes” and have no fear of execution or being exiled to a faraway land — and some would say there’s no such thing as progress!

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George’s (York Street, 297-0409). Visit<;/i>

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Published Jan 26, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 26, 2018 at 8:44 am)

Not all Crimes are something to be ashamed of

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