Just like Inspector Harry Callahan, boxed wines are a bit outside of the mainstream, are unorthodox, fresh, and get the job done. Sometimes it’s messy and the results are less than entirely satisfactory. Other times, they are just fine, leaving you to smile with a satisfied smirk!
So what is the deal with boxed wines and, more largely, wines in bags (the box is just extra structural framework for the bags)? Unfortunately, the deal has generally been that producers put crappy wine into boxes, so the several attempts to put better wine in bags and boxes has been met with stiff resistance from consumer.
Wake up folks, there’s no reason to shun wine in bags. In fact, we should all be supportive of this movement towards less wasteful containers that prevent a wine’s degradation both in storage, albeit for a limited period of time, and once opened. Having a box of wine in the fridge, ready to go and remaining fresh for weeks, is a hugely appealing prospect.
Now if only the wine was worth drinking. It is the producers' turn to keep plugging away and filling your bags with better wines. Some producers are already doing a great job. Find out who in my round up of bag-in-box wines. Some of these are actually delicious!
I'm not in love with the cutesy name of Cuboid, but the wines here are really good values, true to type, and eminently drinkable!
$20/ 3 Liter box
2010 California Chardonnay 12.5%
Some smoky oak on the nose over a bit of wood spice. Low but clean notes of buttered toast and pineapple with a touch of herbal floral tones. A little round and soft with RS on entry...
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2010 California Cabernet Sauvignon 12.5%
This smells of smoke and ash with some black currant fruit, a bit of roasted bell pepper, and a hint of mint. Rather light on the palate for Cabernet, but fresh and balanced with a lovely texture...
A mixed bag of wines. One is great, the other ho-hum bug!
$20/1.5 liter bag
NV California Cabernet Sauvignon 14.1%
Lots of caramel, woodsmoke, moist earth and cocoa here, accenting jammy blackberry, plum and prune aromas. This is pretty dense and rich with a broad base of tannins and good acids...
NV California Chardonnay 14.1%
Somewhat butterscotch driven on the nose, with ginger crème brulee and some tropical fruit tones. This is rather soft and shapeless in the mouth with a creamy texture, creamy flavors...
An odd-ball couple of interesting wines- a simple white and fun red!
$20/ 3-liter box
A blend of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Muscat.
Fresh and floral on the nose, with crisp, slightly sweet apple fruit. Accented with some honeycomb and honeysuckle, with some green apple and saline undertones. A little soft in the mouth...
A blend of Syrah and Petite Sirah.
Spice and earth on the nose with noticeable wood influence, but at the same time this has some attractive, low key wild berry, blueberry and grape skin notes. Moderately rich and nicely...
Bodegas Osborne Seven
Seven Red Table Wine Spanish 13.5%
$20/3-liter Octovin box
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Tempranillo, Grenache, Petit Verdot and Graciano.
This is quite perfumed if a bit crazy on the nose, with notes of black tea, orange oil, Red Hots, and rust accenting the spicy and floral strawberry fruit. A bit flat and broad in the mouth, though this does deliver some nice, slightly jammy, orange pith toned, strawberry and blackberry fruit...
Decent wines, but we're getting close to a cut-off here!
2011 Sauvignon Blanc Central Valley Chile 13.5%
Nicely intense with pineapple, passion fruit and jalapeno aromas. In the mouth, this is a touch soft, round and easy, though with decent intensity to the light pineapple fruit that...
Ripe but weedy on the nose in the way a simple Bordeaux can be fruity yet weedy, with a similar dose of raw but integrated wood. A bit flat in the mouth with some charry wood tones and...
Other wines tasted