Maker: Westcorp International
Packaging: 3 liter box
Our Rating: 8 out of 10
Westcorp International, a South African wine firm, offers Rain Dance Shiraz as one of a series of box wines with that label. Currently shipping is the 2004 vintage. The packaging for this series is colorful, and the name alludes to an old African tradition, the dance that brings the life sustaining rains. The wine is packaged in a 3 liter box with squared-off corners. The spout is a twist-spigot, but doesn’t seem to have any of the dribble problems one finds with some of the cheap American boxes with this kind of dispenser.
It’s rare that the description of a wine on the packaging doesn’t over-promise, but the Rain Dance box says simply, “a smooth, easy drinking red wine with berry and fruit flavors.” We agree with that minimalist description. The wine has a pleasing aroma of spice and berries, and the flavor is smooth – berries and oak, with some peppery spice. The finish is slightly acidic, which plays well with the rest of the experience. This may not be a big, complex red, but it’s a crowd-pleaser that should prove enjoyable to a range of palates. This would be a nice selection for a cookout or group event where you want the practicality of a box but want to go a bit upscale. The Rain Dance Shiraz box would also be perfect for the “glass of red wine a day” drinker who doesn’t want to contend with oxidation issues in partially-consumed bottles.
Overall, we are excited to see the Rain Dance product in our local area. In the Midwest, at least, box wines beyond the cheap offerings of Franzia, Vella, and Almaden have been relatively few in number. Seeing a somewhat better (though still affordable) product like the South African Rain Dance is good news – we hope it is the harbinger of more boxed vintages to come. Our local market had only two of the six Rain Dance boxed varieties – a Chardonnay and the Shiraz we tasted. They actually offer six, including one called “Stein”. That’s not a beer, but rather a mix of Columbard and Chenin Blanc. It sounds a bit sweet for our taste, but if we ever find it we might give it a try.