By Rick Riozza

Happy Holidays to all you readers!  For your festive considerations, we’re showcasing the Christmas couples of the year!  The 19 Crimes Snoop + Martha, and then a couple of luxury wines from the famed Napa Valley winery, Beringer Vineyards Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.  Hope you enjoy the show—and stay thirsty!

Move over Santa Claus, Snoop Dogg is coming to town!  Just in time to share in your holiday season, Snoop Dogg has dropped his third bottle and first ever sparkling wine with the 19 Crimes wine brand:  19 Crimes Snoop Cali Gold (around $16).

The PR surrounding this new Snoop Dogg release reads as follows: Spend this holiday season in the Dogghouse and pop a bottle of the season’s coolest sparkling! Refreshing and fruit-forward, Snoop Cali Gold encapsulates the entertainment icon’s iconic West Coast style. Not only that, this bottle is perfect for holiday entertaining – watch Snoop rap his timeless Doggystyle track “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?” straight off the label, using the brand’s new web-based AR experience.


In this column’s egalitarian scope on the ever-expanding wine game, we’ve covered Snoop Dogg’s foray into the vino cognoscenti minds—or at least the young vino cognoscenti minds, of how an iconoclastic rapper can take on the wine world with panache and alongside Martha Stewart as well.  Cheers! to that!

In our Snoop Dogg Uncorked article of a couple of years ago, we wrote: “Since its inception, 19 Crimes’ brand story has been about doing the unexpected, so it’s not so odd that it would tap Snoop to be the face of its first Cali red. Snoop, obviously, wasn’t one of the convicts who built Australia, but his addition aims to bring a more modern-day element to the brand’s wine selection.”

“Snoop Dogg is the perfect partner as he embodies the spirit of 19 Crimes and what those original rebels stood for. He is an iconic figure throughout the world. He’s rule breaking, culture creating, and he overcame adversity to become very successful.”

So this new Cali Gold sparkler on the Snoop Dogg Scene is a bubbly made from a blend of mixed white grapes, French Colombard, Riesling, and Muscat. That’s the only info I received from my sources out there and as you can discern, it’s not your typical sparkling wine blend.

The color is indeed a golden hue, with crisp aromas of lemon, green apple, melon, pear, and a little floral.  But as you’d expect with such an unusual grape blend indicated above—we’ve got a very interesting palate before us:

I find flavors of ripe peach, lemon candy, dried apricot, pineapple & tropical fruits, lime, nectarine, nuts, and some salinity.  Fortunately, it’s not an overly sweet wine.  Certainly there is some fruit sweetness but the wine is balanced with some fresh acidity.  And that’s a good thing when enjoying food & snacks.

Next, let both Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart be the guests of honor with 19 Crimes’ limited edition 2-pack featuring Snoop Cali Red and Martha’s Chard! ($24.99)

As the brand says: “Put Snoop and Martha in the same room and they’re bound to be the life of the party, using 19 Crimes’ unique AR technology. The 2-pack is available now and is sure to impress your guests and make for an unforgettable holiday!”

We’ve covered both these wines previously: 19 Crimes Martha Chard is fresh and lemony and not burdened with heavy oak nor toastiness—I found this wine to be perfect for parties and light fare.  The 19 Crimes Snoop Cali Red is a Petite Sirah blend that is on the fruity bold side for you bold red wine quaffers.

And Now! Our favorite Luxury Wine Couple for the Holidays!

2020 Beringer Vineyards Private Reserve Napa Valley Chardonnay ($50) This is the Chardonnay treat for the Coachella Valley!  It is always one of the best white wines for the money and every Chardonnay lover out here knows that! This Chard is a big, lush wine that showcases the best of Napa Valley terroir and the vintage. A single-vineyard Chardonnay sourced from the Gamble Ranch, located near the town of Yountville, in the Oakville AVA, this wine highlights the richness and complexity of this varietal and has been a benchmark Chardonnay since its first vintage in 1978.

The winery notes are right on and I can’t put it any better: “Layered, rich, creamy, and complex, this luscious Chardonnay is classically Californian, with expressive aromas of citrus blossom, jasmine, and lemon curd, supported by tropical ripe flavors of white nectarine, peach, and grilled pineapple. The well-integrated oak shows notes of brioche, vanilla, and ginger spice, leading to a long, mouth-watering finish with freshness and minerality that’s perfect for a summer sip, making it the perfect gift for those who prefer a white.”

2018 Beringer Vineyards Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($175) For those of you California Cab lovers who enjoy the finer things in life, or those who treat themselves to world-class wine once or twice a year, this is the baby to spend on.  From one of California’s best vintages ever, this Cab is a dream and a taste of heaven!

Wine writer James Suckling has awarded this wine 98 points stating, “Wild blackberry, cassis, dark chocolate, tobacco and dark spice on the nose. Dried violets, too. It’s medium-to full-bodied with firm, powdery tannins and a creamy texture. Intense, yet restrained and refined, with a solid core of dark berries and bitter chocolate. Really focused and crafted with exemplary Napa Cabernet character.”

Other writers found, “Dark but fresh, with vibrant black currant and black cherry preserve flavors laced with streaks of violet, iron and tobacco; notes of fresh blackberries, mulberries and crushed blackcurrants, plus emerging hints of redcurrant jelly, bay leaves, unsmoked cigars and cedar chest. Full-bodied, rich and plush; “pairs well with a juicy beef tenderloin, making it the perfect pairing for holiday meals.  Whoa! Merry Christmas baby!!