Wine crafted by celebrities is a rampant trend. It’s in liquor cabinets across America. It’s showboating at your local wine shop. The celebrity wine industry is approximately worth $50 million in the US alone, with over several hundred celebrities “making” wine. While their involvement spans from a direct hand in the process to straight up eponymous endorsements, everyone from Antonio Banderas to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Emilio Estevez, Francis Ford Coppola, to Fergie, are cashing in on the wine scene.
We wanted to fall off the wagon with some of these celebrities, so we organized a proper wine tasting. Rather than getting lost in the sauce—with eight bottles of celebrity wines—we called in some help from rapper Sadat X and his producer, Will Tell, known for their shared passion of wine drinking that’s best displayed in their YouTube show, True Wine Connoisseurs. Each episode begins with Sadat X drinking the “brown water” (a.k.a. Hennessey), moving onto drinking and reviewing a wine hand picked by Will Tell. By the end of the show, there’s a rap summation of Sadat’s thoughts on the bottle of choice, paired with any off-the-cuff idea that’s trickling through his mind while the camera’s running. Beyond Will Tell’s hand as musical producer and sommelier for Sadat’s wine-y episodes, he recently produced the True Wine Connoisseurs’ Planet of the Grapes, the first hip-hop wine album in history. The True Wine Connoisseurs crew is even hitchhiking on the celebrity wine bus. Paired up with Club W and Winebow, the connoisseurs have created their True Wine Connoisseur red wine, a Syrah-based California red that will be released on December 1.
Without further ado, here’s your Botox-free True Wine Connoisseurs bible on celebrity wine drinking that includes the presence of musicians Rick Ross, Dave Matthews, Train, actor Drew Barrymore, sportscaster Jim Nantz, and tattoo artist/husband of actor Lake Bell, Scott Campbell.
Rick Ross presents Luc Belaire, Provence, FR, Sparkling Rosé, ($33)
Will Tell: I would actually drink this. Rosé season is over, but I would chill with this on a hot summer day. I’m getting cherry and a lot of flavors. It’s a little dry—it’s a brut.
Where You Should Drink This
Sadat X: This is something I would drink with my lady somewhere. It’s got that type of feeling, 'cause it’s only gonna take about one and a half of these, and whatever happens, happens.
Will: I give it a smooth six.
Drew Barrymore, Barrymore Wines, Triveneto, Italy, 2011 Pinot Grigio, $17.
Will: There’s not much of a nose on this. I get a little bit of grassy flavors, and the color is even a little bit green.
Sadat: This is feeling like a PTA meeting to me. This is like when the moms get together in the afternoon when the kids are at school. You drink it between 11 AM and 3 PM before the school bus comes home with the kids. You might want to drink this with an ice cube. I wouldn’t bring this into the studio, but if there was a blizzard outside and we had already finished drinking something else and this was lying around, we’d probably drink it. It’s that “this is all I got left,” type of situation, but I still love Drew Barrymore’s other work. Fucked-up Factor
Sadat: If someone who is drinking this went really overboard with it, they’d probably wake up with a mind-splitting headache. I would give this about a strong five or a six.
Dave Matthews, Dreaming Tree, Central Coast, CA, 2011, Chardonnay, ($15)
Will: Dave Matthews Band... Legendary. I gotta say, I’m not a big chard drinker, but this is not bad. I’m getting lemon Jolly Ranchers on the nose. It’s got a little bugged out aftertaste—that’s the only thing that’s not sitting well with me.
Sadat: Every time you look at tour maps, Dave Matthews is always touring somewhere. It definitely tastes like grape.
Where You Should Drink This
Sadat: This tastes like I can have some fish with this. This is like an afternoon brunch type of thing somewhere outside in the spring. I would drink this with a girl.
Will: This could get you fucked up…. This could get you fucked up…. This could get you fucked up….
Jim Nantz (Sportcaster) The Calling, Dutton Ranch, Russian River Valley, CA, 2011, Chardonnay, ($32)
Will: This tastes like liquid roasted chestnuts. You got a little smokiness, and it reminds me of Christmas.
Sadat: Jimmy Nantz, graduate of Marlboro High School in New Jersey—and University of Houston Cougar—this glass goes out to you, Jim Nance. [sips] I can feel his professional hand in this. I feel like I can picture Jim with a glass of this hiding low off of the TV screen so he can pull a fast one drinking this during sports-casting.
Where You Should Drink This Wine
Will: This is more for the evening after the game if you’re still standing from all the beer and the other shit you drank. This is more of a drink after work, or if you can’t sleep at night, you might drink a little bit of this to go back to sleep.
Sadat: This is like a holiday type of thing when you got people over for Thanksgiving.
Will: I’m around a six, just because of the fact that I’ve had about three glasses of this, and I’m feeling pretty good.
Sadat: It’s about a four or a five.
At this point, we moved onto the reds….
Jim Nantz The Calling, Red Lago Vineyard, Alexander Valley, CA, 2010, Cabernet Sauvignon, ($37)
Will: This is a nice cabernet, but there’s not much age on it. This is from 2010, so if you give it another year, it will be a lot better—but it’s still a good wine right now. Everyone would probably say “leather” and “tobacco.” On the nose, I get a lot of alcohol, but I’m also getting black cherry, currants, and a lot of tannins.
Sadat: What are the tannings?
Will: The tannins are the leftover wine residuals.
Sadat: OK, I can agree with that. That’s why I feel it’s bitter. So this is Jim’s red? He’s proving that he’s a little more serious, cause’ he got the white and the red going, so it leads me to believe that Jim’s got a little hand in what he’s doing.
Who You Should Be Drinking This With
Will: You could drink this with anyone. Jim Nantz is making “the call.” He named it “the Calling,”—by the way—because he’s “making the calls,”—football calls—get it?
Sadat: This one is universal. You could drink this with a lady, but I would feel good if I went to a football party and put that on the table. That’ll stand up on it’s own.
Will: This might creep up on you.
Sadat: This is a 7.9, going into the eight. Jim put a little kick in this one.
Dave Matthews, Dreaming Tree, North Coast, CA, 2009, Cabernet Sauvignon, ($15)
Will: Well, Dave Matthews is just awesome, so it’s only according that his wine would be awesome too. Cheers to you and your wine, Dave.
Sadat: I rock with Dave Matthews because if you look in Billboard magazine, every year it’s like, Dave Matthews Band on is on tour. and I’m like, Damn, Dave, do you ever just go home and chill?!
Will: This is at an eight. So far, Dave Matthews has the most fucked up factor, but you have to take into consideration that we’ve had five bottles of wine in a row.
Sadat: Yeah, it will come down on you.
Train: Save Me San Francisco Wine Co., San Francisco, CA, 2011, Drops of Jupiter Red, ($12)
Will: I’m not up on the band or the song that this is named after, but I got to be honest—I’m smelling a lot of sulfur on the nose, which is one of my pet peeves in wine—it smells like burnt hair lye, but it tastes better than it smells. It has a taste of caramel.
Sadat: Oh shit! Jupiter? That’s some crazy shit for a name. When I think of drops of Jupiter, I hope they got no dude on the front of this bottle.
Where You Should Drink This
Sadat: It’s probably gonna sound like some strange shit, but I can see myself on the Fourth of July with the joints going off. I don’t know. I don’t really like this one.
Will: Two bottles of this, and it might let you down. It will let you down.
Sadat: I’d give this an eight or a nine. This might defeat the purpose if you’re drinking this with your lady. You both might fall asleep drinking this and then you wake up the next morning with that bottle on the floor like, “damn, yo!”
Scott Campbell (Tattoo Artist), SAVED Wines, California blend, 2011, Red wine, ($25)
Will: That label looks like some Illuminati shit. I’m tasting a lot of red berries. You can always tell when it has a high alcohol content if it burns the back of your throat, and this is burning the back of my throat. I think this is today’s winner right here. You’ve been saved, Sadat.
Sadat: Before we even get into Scott Campbell’s wine, I got like 17 or 18 tattoos, so I’m gonna need to holler at you, Scott Campbell. I’m drinking your wine. I need something main on my back, but I’m gonna drink this first [sips]… ’cause I’m not gonna front—after a minute, it all starts to taste the same. Scott Campbell is the best all day.
Where You Should Drink This
Will: I would actually bring this wine to a party as the house wine for everyone to get wrecked on.
Sadat: I could take it to the studio.
We threw out—and up—the “fucked-up factor” rating system at this point in the interview because the Saved red wine weighed in at bottle number eight for the day.
Celebrity Wine Winners
Sadat: So today’s winners were Scott Campbell and my main man, Dave Matthews, who sneaks in cause he’s the OG money-getter. And Rick Ross, too, but Rick is drinking too much of that rosé, he needs to get into the gym and slim down a little bit, but I still love him.
Celebrity Wine Losers
Will: The PTA joint. Sorry, but that was very flat, not too many highlights to it.
Sadat: The PTA joint, Drew Barrymore’s pinot grigio. I was disappointed in Drew. It didn’t really seem like she had a hand in that.
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