Vendange Shiraz 2004

Vendange Tetra PacksPrice: $3.50
Maker: Vendange Wine Cellars, Lathrop, California
Variety: Shiraz
Packaging: 500 ml Tetra pack
Alcohol Content: 13.0%
Our Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Vendange Shiraz 2004, like its sibling Vendange Merlot, comes in a cute half-liter Tetra pack. As we previously noted, this slender container seems far smaller than a half liter, and is a monument to packaging efficiency. I suppose a square pack, rather than the current mostly octagonal shape, would take up even less space, but I suspect the octagonal scoring adds some stiffness and avoids bulging of the sides that might occur in a square shape.

The Vendange Shiraz is quite drinkable considering its juice-pack container. Its nose is quite robust, with blackberry, spice, and leather notes. Its flavor is a nice balance of berry, plum, oak, and spice. The finish is acceptably long, with trailing notes of black pepper. We found that this Shiraz was helped by letting it breathe a bit – our first pour after opening the pack had some rough edges that seemed to be mellowed by a bit of air.

As with the Merlot, the major reason to choose Vendange Shiraz over other good Australian or California Shirazes is the packaging. It’s not going to be the wine you take to the boss’s Christmas party, but for tailgating, picnics, or even home consumption it’s a great choice. The multiple varietals that Vendange puts in these convenient packs means it’s easy to please multiple tastes without ending up with a bunch of partially consumed bottles. There’s no collapsing bag inside these packs, so one would have the same concern for a partially consumed tetra pack as with a bottle. Then again, at .5 liters one wouldn’t expect to have the pack hanging around for days.

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