It may be a bit late in the outdoor concert/picnic season to mention this, but I re-stumbled upon Bandit wine, sold in resealable Tetra Pak cartons, at Silver Lake Wine this week, although they’ve had it for at least a year. Most times I go in there, it’s for wine for a dinner party, either my own or for a friend’s, so I’ve always ruled it out.
So yesterday, after a trip to Rockaway Records on Glendale where I scored a CD of the 2nd Talking Heads album, “More Songs About Buildings and Food,” for $6, I thought I would pop into SLW, in the same building, to celebrate my purchase with a bottle of wine. (Here’s to 1978!)
And there it was. A lime-green carton with a jumble of fonts, clunky rounded off corners, a price sticker that read $7.75.
I asked the wine guy, “How is it?” He fixed me with an enthusiastic eye-lock: “It’s really good.” He said, given the good quality of the wine, if it were in a bottle, which means you would have to factor in the cost of the glass, cork and the extra shipping costs because glass weighs more than cardboard, the price would be about $17. Plus, the bottle would contain one third less wine than the carton, which is a full liter.
Sold! He told me people were dubious of the funny green carton and joked about its resemblance to soy milk packaging, but he said almost everyone comes back for more.
Here’s the skinny: The wine is a pinot grigio made by Three Thieves winery using premium California grapes from different regions, so no appellation appears on the label. It’s a very good PG; balanced, fruity and light (like me, except for the balanced part.)
The carton is light too, which counts in its favor when it comes to lugging wine into the Hollywood Bowl or to a picnic. This also counted when I put in into my knapsack and pedaled home on my bike.
The only difference I noticed is that the carton took a lot longer to chill in a refrigerator. After three hours, it still wasn’t quite cold enough, so I popped it in the freezer for another 20 minutes. I’m wondering if it works in reverse and stays chilled longer, but then again I drink too fast to have it matter.
Silver Lake Wine also sells Bandit cabernet sauvignon in cartons, which is next on my list. And Three Thieves lists chardonnay, merlot and sangria on their site, all in full and half-liter cartons. Check your local wine store. Salut!