Test Drive

Which Celebrity Wines Are Actually Worth the Money? A Sommelier Weighs In

From the gems to the celeb wines that "should not be consumed," this expert isn't pulling any punches.

No matter how massively successful they get singing, acting or playing sports, celebrities can’t seem to resist the itch to do something a little more entrepreneurial—from opening restaurants to launching style brands—with varying degrees of success. In recent years, lots of famous folks have been trying their hands at one of the world's oldest crafts: winemaking. While these celebrity-fueled wines all have killer marketing, cool labels, and big names behind them, we wanted to find out which ones are actually worth dropping some dough on. We turned to sommelier Jessica Altieri, founder of the digital network Wine Channel TV and author of the wine-buying guide Kiss My Glass, to find out which celeb wines are swell … and which are swill.

2015 Barrymore by Carmel Road Pinot Grigio, Drew Barrymore

 

Average retail price: $15

“This crisp Pinot Grigio with a hint of minerality will keep you coming back for more at this price point. It's filled with bright lemon, Asian pear and green apple aromas with a refreshing finish."

Unfiltered Blonde 2014 Sonoma County ChardonnayBrandi Glanville

Average retail price: $15

“Its bright lemon and grapefruit aromas and hints of spicy vanilla on the creamy finish make this 90-Point Wine Enthusiast Best Buy," from the Real Housewife of Beverly Hills's Brandi Glanville, a "bang-for-your-buck Chardonnay." 

Ferguson Crest Fergalicious Red Blend 2012Fergie

Average retail price: $40

“Thank goodness Fergie has her music career rocking, because this wine needs some work. There’s a great story behind the wine label, including how Fergie's father always had a green thumb and they created this brand in 2006 to carry on their family's heritage. And while this blend of Syrah, Merlot, Grenache and Cabernet, filled with baked black raspberry and savory salumi aromas, has you rooting for this wine to be a knockout like Fergie, the wine has too much heat and is lacking the smoothness to make it Fergalicious.”

2013 The Dreaming Tree CrushDave Matthews

Average retail price: $13.99

“Rock star Dave Matthews teamed up with Sonoma superstar winemaker Steve Reeder to create Crush, a blend of Merlot, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, and Syrah. This full-bodied red blend is as smooth as Dave’s voice with fresh red raspberry jam and plum aromas, and a lush lingering finish that makes it a great everyday sipper. Definitely a wine you want to ‘Crash’ into some BBQ ribs.”

2013 Yao Ming Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Yao Ming

Average retail price: $100

“As Dick Vitale would say, this is a ‘Slam, Bam, Jam’ wine all the way! With its dark cherry and plum aromas and flavors with a smooth, sultry full bodied finish, this will age beautifully and should be saved for a special occasion with a big juicy steak … and preferably with someone who appreciates good wine and hoops.”

Myx Fusions Moscato, Nicki Minaj

Average retail price: $8.99

Minaj's menagerie of Moscatos yield some hits and some misses, according to Altieri, and you've got to like your drinks sweet if you're going to indulge in any of them.

Moscato and Mango: “Sweet mango spritzer in a mini bottle. Where's the straw? This is your pool sipper.” 

Moscato and Grape: “This is essentially a grape-juice box, kind of like Juicy Juice. If that's what you want, here you go.”

Moscato and Peach: “Can I make this into a peach slushy? Or a peach Popsicle?”

Moscato and Coconut: “I feel like I'm drinking suntan lotion. Should not be consumed.”

Tropical Sangria. “It's a fruit bomb in a bottle … Capri Sun with booze, basically.”

Red Berries Sangria: “This one's a red berry fruit bomb . Add some sliced fruit and your recent college grad friends would sip away.”

Viva Diva Moscato, Mango Flavored, Christina Milian

Average retail price: $7.99

“This sweet moscato looks like a pool party in a glass and is infused with natural mango that'll have you smacking your lips. But it’s lacking some complexity. Mango Moscato cocktails would make this a bit better. ‘Call me, Beep Me,’ Christina, when you add some zing to this Moscato.”

Message in a Bottle 2011 Rosso Toscana IGT, Sting and Trudie Styler

 

Average retail price: $18.99

“The message is clear in this bottle that Sting and his wife Trudie Styler produced at their Tuscan vineyards at Il Palagio: Sip up. With luscious red cherry and blackberry aromas with a hint of spice, this is a sexy wine with layers of depth and a lingering finish.”

Miraval Rose Cotes de Provence Rose – 2015Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

Average retail price: $21.99

“Summertime sipping has never been better with this blockbuster wine: wild strawberries, citrus, and white pepper aromas with a succulent finish and a touch of saltiness that just begs for oysters. I can just picture them drinking this in Provence. This dry Rose is almost as sexy” as the couple behind it, says Altieri.

 

 

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