You might not be able to share a bottle with Brad or gossip over a glass of rosé with Kylie, so the next best thing is trying the wines they’ve helped produce. But does their taste live up to the celebrity promise? Our wine expert Olly Smith puts them to the test.
In my wine collection at home, I have a bottle of Pink Floyd rosé from 2009 that I’ve never opened. I’d like to say I treat it as a holy relic, but the truth is it wasn’t a wine designed to age and has probably long since given up the ghost of its former summery scent.
I once told Pink Floyd’s drummer Nick Mason about my keepsake bottle while sitting round a campfire at a festival with TV chef Paul Hollywood, to which Nick replied, ‘We three should write a cookbook and call it The Dark Side of the Spoon.’ Because that’s what wine helps us do, isn’t it? Create magical memories. And that’s perhaps why celebrity wines are so appealing – they make us feel like we are part of their inner circle, drinking their booze.
And if there is ever a year we need that, it’s 2020. There’s been a flurry of celebrity wines this year. The bandwagon is rolling fast – with Kylie treating us to a French rosé, actress Sarah Jessica Parker expanding her range and the Delevingne sisters giving us a taste of their lavish lifestyle with a brand new Prosecco. Even wine stalwart Cliff Richard has given his brand a makeover.
But would I buy these? Some for sure, yes. Others, not in a thousand years. To splash the cash, the wine has to pass my three vital tests. First, it needs to be good enough to carry the extra ‘celebrity’ tax. After all, as soon as a celebrity name is attached to a wine, the price rockets. Second, presentation matters in these wines perhaps more than with any other. The look, feel and allure of the bottle, label and chosen fonts have presumably been heavily invested in. And when they’re a mess, it makes me wince – you may as well create your own version by buying a decent bottle, soaking off the label and replacing it with a design of your own.
And finally, can you imagine the celebrity themselves drinking and enjoying the wine in your glass? If the answer is yes, then what are you waiting for? Join them!
Vida Nova White 2019 Portugal (13%), £11.19, wells-wines.com
I had to go hunting for Cliff’s signature on the foil collar and the back of the bottle, so I’d love to see his name more clearly identified. Or just call the wine ‘Summer Holiday’ and be done with it.
While the presentation leaves quite a lot to be desired, the aromas are light, fresh and reasonably attractive – pear, citrus and even grapefruit and orange peel. Not bad if you’re looking for something simple, zesty, sharply refreshing to sip, with reasonably lasting flavours (the longer the flavours last, generally the better the quality).
But then there’s the price. If it was just under a tenner, I’d be giving it a higher mark. 6 out of 10.
Prosecco DOC NV (11.5%), £12, winedelivered.co.uk
While the packaging is eye-catching, it strikes me as a bit weird. The label wording looks oddly like ‘GIN’ thanks to Graham’s prominent initials and the purple foil. It’s the sort of thing you would expect to find on a Cadbury’s bar from the 1980s. If it’s trying to be classy, it’s not succeeding.
In the glass, the aroma is neutral. Quite clean and pure to taste, the bubbles are a bit prickly, but it’s fruity, light and frothy.
Graham’s character is massive but, alas, this doesn’t deliver the same wow factor. If it was £8, I’d be more convinced. For £12, there is better, cheaper Prosecco. 5 out of 10.
Sarah Jessica Parker
Invivo x SJP Sauvignon Blanc 2020 (13%), £12, Sainsbury’s
The giant cross on the label is odd and, for me, denotes something incorrect. I guess it’s to show this bottle is a collaboration between Sex and the City actress Sarah Jessica Parker and wine company Invivo. The colour of the cross, though, is fantastic.
The wine itself has impressive tropical aromas. It’s vibrant – how a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc should be.
Without question this will have mass appeal, thanks to its exotic flair. It’s also correctly priced for such a dynamic drop regardless of the celebrity tax and my gripes with the label. It’s a credit to Sarah Jessica Parker and Invivo. 8 out of 10.
Sting and Trudie Styler
Sister Moon Rosso Toscana Il Palagio 2015 (13.5%), £36, Vintage Roots
While the label says the wine celebrates the ‘fundamental connection between earth, moon, music and love’, I would summarise this as being jolly tasty.
Blended from Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, it’s very good indeed. I’ve visited the estate and tasted the wines with Sting and Trudie so I can vouch for their passion and this particular bottle does not disappoint.
Sip it and you find a rich, firm and textured drop. It’s even better with food thanks to that firm structure. I can’t help dreaming of steak Florentine as I drink it. This is wine built for good times and, despite the high price, I’d definitely buy it myself. 8 out of 10.
Rosé 2019 (12.5%), £9, Tesco
Rather than going for the obvious Aussie wine, Kylie has gone French with this bottle from her new range. She has spoken about her love of French rosé and enjoying a glass or two while recording in Nashville.
The aroma reminds me of a bowl of strawberries. Enticing, like being in the garden sipping on a summer’s day.
The mistake that could be made is buying it thinking that it’s a Provence-style rosé with austerity and dryness – this is much fruitier.
Nine quid is fair enough for your Kylie connection, but I have seen it on offer for £7 and that’s where this wine’s heart is – the reduced price point is perfect for sipping in the kitchen disco. 6 out of 10.
Chloe, Poppy and cara Delevingne
Della Vite Prosecco Superiore DOCG (11.5%), £25.99, Selfridges
The shape of this bottle is pleasing, but I’m not a fan of how dark and hazy it is. It makes me worry that a secret lies within.
But the wine is marked ‘DOCG’, which means it has passed the most stringent regulations and quality testing in Italy.
The aroma is good with a bit of citrus vigour. There’s some finesse here, fruitiness and an impressive texture which would work well with nibbles.
The price is notably high, so you’re paying a lot for the celeb association. That said, it is sophisticated and, while I’d spend the cash elsewhere, the wine is good enough for your consideration. 7 out of 10.
Rosato Verona (12%), £25.99 for 2.25 litres, Waitrose
For the packaging alone, Phillip deserves a medal. It’s high time wine in a box had its day. Staying fresh for six weeks to kick around in your fridge, it’s undeniably convenient.
This is a new addition to Phillip’s range and it’s certainly worth the price. It works out equivalent to just over eight and a half quid a bottle and I could imagine Phillip, feet up, knocking back this attractively pale pink Italian wine on a sun-dappled verandah.
What impresses me most is the simple yet characterful taste with a tangy, crunchy red fruit flavour that doesn’t rely on sweetness.
This is a decent all-round sipper to have on standby and take you back to a fresh taste of summer. As at home with pizzas or shellfish as with winter dishes such as shepherd’s pie. 7 out of 10.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
Miraval Rosé Côtes de Provence 2019 (13%), £19.99, Majestic
Sensational packaging: the best looking in the line-up, understated, unique and classy.
Get your nose in the glass! Elegant, laced with grown-up scent and fragrance, towards orange blossom without being sweet. A little bit of spice in there too.
This is everything I want from a Provençal rosé. If you’re looking for a classy bottle to gift at Christmas, it delivers balance, elegance and long-lasting flavours.
Unless you know Brad and Angelina are behind it, the bottle doesn’t reveal its secret. Even though this breaks my rule of proud association, I forgive it because the wine, made by top producer Famille Perrin, is so darn classy and near pitch perfect. 9 out of 10.
Two Paddocks Pinot Noir 2018 Central Otago (13%), £32.99, nzhouseofwine.co.uk
In my opinion, Two Paddocks is one of New Zealand’s greatest estates. I’ve visited and seen Jurassic Park actor Sam Neill’s dedication to the quality of these wines – and to his team.
I regularly buy from them. They stack up against some of the world’s best Pinot costing hundreds more.
It is a pale colour in the glass with a slight garnet tint. But don’t be fooled – there’s an abundance of gorgeous aromas, from floral to wild herb, a little bit of violet and that mysterious Pinot magic that wine fans are prepared to splash so much cash on.
Alongside finesse, it has a very firm, fine texture – a wine that could nail your Christmas Day. Picture this in your glass, turkey with all the trimmings, Jurassic Park on the box – what more could you want? 10 out of 10.
Additional reporting: Charlotte Vossen.