Celebrity wines and spirits can be a hit-or-miss proposition. At their worst, they’re little more than vanity projects and questionable brand extensions. But when done right—with care, expertise, and passion—the results can be fantastic. Just look at Inglenook, which was purchased by Francis Ford Coppola in 1975 in a decrepit state. Today, nearly half a century later, it’s considered to be among the top tier of Napa Valley producers.

These days, it seems as if every other week heralds the arrival of a new bottle from a well-known actor, musician, or reality star that you just have to taste. But one question always remains: Which ones are worth your money?

Well, we’ve done the hard work for you. After tasting more celebrity wines and spirits than we can count, we happily recommend the following 12 bottles. All of them represent a successful sense of synergy between the liquid in the bottle and the bold-faced name behind it. They are also just really good tipples in their own right. Each one is worthy of space on your shelf.

Which celebrity wines and spirits are worth buying?

Cognac

 

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The D’Ussé VSOP Cognac (US$50 or S$70) shows plenty of grilled stone fruit, warm honey, and sweet woodsy spice, making it an excellent sipper both on its own and alongside food. The XO is also worth looking for: It’s deliciously subtle and silky and has greater concentration and length. Can Jay-Z do no wrong?

Reposado Tequila

Cofounded by Eva Longoria and crafted by Alejandra Pelayo, Casa Del Sol Reposado (US$70 or $S98) benefits from four months in Cognac and other French oak barrels, resulting in a silk-textured tequila, subtly sweet with suggestions of pineapples, coconut, vanilla, and rosemary.

Blanco Tequila

 

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Two stand out: The E. Cuarenta Tequila Blanco (US$46 or S$65) from Earl Tywone Stevens Sr.—E-40 to fans—for its savoury corn-nut character, and the Santo Tequila Blanco (US$54 or S$76) from Sammy Hagar and Guy Fieri. Its peppery character is joined by roasted corn and spice that lingers through the finish.

Añejo Tequila

celebrity wines and spirits

The Rock’s Teremana Añejo Tequila (US$40 or S$56) has notes of caramelised agave, roasted nuts, and woodsy spices, all of it kissed with hints of smoky honey. Also look for the Lobos 1707 Extra Añejo (US$150 or S$211), the LeBron James–backed spirit; the cayenne on the finish lends it an appealingly spicy character.

Vodka

Crystal Head Vodka (US$55 or S$77), founded by Dan Aykroyd more than a decade ago and still going strong, is a rich style of vodka, with gentle suggestions of stone fruit and vanilla custard carried on a soft, velvety frame, and, of course, packaged in its distinctive crystal skull-shaped bottle.

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Whiskey

celebrity wines and spirits

The Blackened x Willett Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey Finished in Madeira Casks (US$140 or S$198) is a generous rye whiskey, with hints of grilled yellow plums, molasses, and spicy honey. You don’t need to be a Metallica fan to enjoy it, though if you play air guitar while you sip, we won’t blame you.

Pinot Noir

Former defensive back and Pro Football Hall of Famer Charles Woodson’s 2020 Intercept Monterey County Pinot Noir (US$20 or S$28), a plush style of Pinot, rolls across the palate with gently spiced plums and black cherry, plus a lingering suggestion of blood orange. It’s surprisingly gentle.

Syrah

An evocative nose of crushed blueberries, plums, and cracked peppercorns tee up a balanced palate in the 2018 Pursued by Bear Baby Bear Columbia Valley Syrah (US$60 or S$85). Actor Kyle MacLachlan started Pursued by Bear in 2005; his age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon is also worth seeking out.

Cabernet Sauvignon

celebrity wines and spirits

The 2018 Wade Cellars Three By Wade Cabernet Sauvignon (US$40 or S$56) has an age-worthy structure yet is also fantastic right now; it drips with kirsch, black currant, and cocoa powder, but lively acidity keeps it fresh. NBA star Dwyane Wade and vigneron Jayson Pahlmeyer are their own dream team.

Kosher Wine

 

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Proof that kosher wine can be every bit as delicious as non-kosher, the 2019 Stoudemire Reserve Galilee Cabernet Sauvignon (US$65 or S$91) from Amar’e Stoudemire and Israel’s Tulip Winery is ripe, structured, and long on the finish, with suggestions of cherry and cedar and a final grace note of tobacco.

This story first appeared on www.foodandwine.com

(Main and featured image: Salini Perera)

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