Vendange Chardonnay

Anyone who has searched the couch cushions for a handful of change knows that boozing on an extreme budget can be a risky proposition. To help you decide how to spend that meager pile of pennies, we've scraped the Bottom of the Barrel to review some of the cheapest wines on the market. The Vintage: Vendange Chardonnay, ABV 13.0%

For years Franzia has been promoting the consumption of massive quantities of wine-in-a-box via plastic bladder. Vendange has taken that concept to a new high (low?), with their personal-sized, single serving boxes-o-wine. It's an adult juice box that runs about 3 bucks and is the equivalent of 2/3 a bottle of wine. Alright, so we may have exaggerated a bit on the "single serving" assessment, but you're in luck since it happens to be a screw top. And everyone knows that even if they're not good for much else, screw top wines are easily re-sealed. Ah, the perks of cheap wine.

(See, swirl, sniff, sip, and savor this bounty after the jump)

Appearance: Nothing too suspicious about the light, straw-colored yellow of the chardonnay. So far, so good.

Bouquet: The box promised hints of apple and pear, and both of those scents can just barely be detected upon sniffing. Vague notes of sulfur were also present, or could it be brimstone? Devil wine or not, this doesn't bode well.

Body: The body was oaky and fairly tart, which may be due to the notes of green apple. Some hints of citrus were also present. Might be buttery too. We've never really understood what that wine descriptor entailed.

Finish: Bitter wine face! Apparently those fruity notes on the nose and palate were crab apples. The good news is that if you continue to consume the Vendange instead of swirling and spitting it out, it makes your tongue all tingly and starts to taste much better. Go figure.

Pairs with: Leftover Hell-o-ween candy. Don't pretend like you don't still have a stash sitting around. Alternate sips between licks of a warhead and the bitter finish will seem like a cool drink of heaven by comparison.

Lasting impressions: For a glorified adult sippy cup-o-wine, it could have been worse. We felt a little better about ourselves pouring it into a glass, but chugging it straight from the carton, or better yet, via curly straw, may also improve the drinkability. Just make sure that you're in desperate need of mommy's "special juice box" or this wine might fail to live up to expectations.

Know of any screw top vintages we just have to try? Leave your suggestions in the comments section.

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Erica O'Neil