Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thinking Inside the Box

Perhaps it is not a great idea to have my very first post be about something as taboo as boxed wine, but it’s what’s on my mind right now.

Boxed wine has a not so nice reputation, with good reason. If you have ever tried Franzia, you know why. I do recall our local wine seller talking about the idea of boxed wine actually being a good one—you open the wine but it never has contact with air so it stays “fresh” for much longer than an open bottle of wine. He also explained that in France and Australia, boxed wine did not have the same reputation that it does in the U.S. and that boxed wine was widely accepted and there were currently several very good options on the market. I noted that he did not have any boxed wine for sale, we laughed, and that was the end of that.

Until now. My father-in-law has consumed boxed wine for several years. I think he started out with Almaden in a box—it was not very good. He’s now moved to Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon. He has a glass every day with lunch for his health—seriously, I think a doctor recommended it. Of course we have all heard that red wine, in moderation, is good for you. Apparently, there are beneficial anti-oxidants in the skin of the grapes—not to mention, sitting down with a glass of wine to unwind has its benefits, as well. So, for those who drink wine for their health, wine becomes almost like a medication, and therefore the wine box is just the “easy open cap” version.

I noticed this year that there was more and more boxed wine to choose from at our local liquor store. I had to walk right by it on my way to the beer cooler in the back. Then my husband noticed it, too. We bought a box. I think we went with Black Box. It was fine. Really. I mean, nothing special, but it was a far cry from the Franzia or Almaden crap that was served at neighborhood parties when I was a kid. (Or, as Mr. Big Dubya noted in November, the kind of wine that woo-girls drink.)

Okay, so my point is, boxed wine might be worth some exploration. I have done some myself. I really like Bota Box Old Vine Zinfandel—I like bolder flavors in my wine and this one in particular stands up to spicier and heavier foods. It is surprisingly complex. I’ve tried the Bota Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and the Shiraz. All are pretty good and are worth a try. Amazingly enough, Bota Box Old Vine Zinfandel, along with all the others I mentioned, also fits with July’s tasting assignment—it’s made it the U.S.—Cali, of course.

Boxed wines are not what they used to be. I am curious to know if anyone else has tried boxed wines and found some hits? I am seriously considering have a tasting with only boxed wines and sharing the results here, but, that’s a lot of wine (most boxes are equivalent to three to four 750ml bottles—or about 20 glasses of wine). I’d need to have a lot of guests, not to mention a lot of glasses. I’ll keep thinking about this. In the meantime, let me know your thoughts on boxed wine.

1 comment:

Mrs Big Dubya said...

Well, let me say once again -- Welcome! and, as I suspected.... your first post is a winner!

I'll admit it, I'm skeptical of boxed wine.... not opposed, just skeptical. I remember a friend's mother having it in highschool and so I've always just chalked it up to being on par with my own mother's Riunite, but.... now you've got me thinking.... and as August is coming up and I'm in need of an assignment......

Stay tuned...