Feb 23 2011
If you’re like me, you’ve always avoided the aisle in the store labeled “box wine”. Who would want to be seen looking at that stuff? But there are actually two categories of boxed wine. There’s the cheap kind that generally comes in 5 liter boxes, like Franzia or Peter Vella. Then there is premium box wine, which generally comes in 3 liter boxes, about the equivalent of four bottles. The cheap stuff tastes cheap, and is only good for making wine coolers. Premium box wine, however, is something very different, and definitely worth considering.
One box of Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon will cost you around twenty dollars. Believe it or not, it’s excellent wine. It’s equivalent in taste to a twenty dollar bottle, but you get four times as much for your money. Less expensive choices, but still very good, include Delicato, Johnston, and even Corbett Canyon. Consistently good ratings and multiple awards make the value of these premium box wines undeniable.
Another selling point is how long boxed wine will stay fresh. I have tried several different products to reseal an open bottle of wine in a way which will maintain the flavor, but nothing works really well. A day or two of decent flavor after opening is all you can expect, and sometimes not even that. But with boxed wine, the vacuum action of the bag contained within the box keeps the air out, and maintains the flavor of the wine. Perfect if you like to have a glass or two at a time and aren’t going to polish off an entire bottle in one evening.
If you take wine with you when you travel, picnic, or camp, boxed wine is easy to transport. You don’t have to worry about breaking anything, or discovering you’ve forgotten the corkscrew when you get there.
There are some downsides. Most people who drink wine know how much to pour to get about five glasses out of a bottle. A self-imposed limitation, of course, but it does help you “see” how much you’re drinking. I’ve noticed that it’s easy to pour very full glasses from the seemingly never ending supply you get from a box of wine. So, your one to two glasses of wine with dinner can quickly turn into three or three and a half.
If you are hosting a party, you probably won’t want to plop a box of wine down on the table. Of course this is easily solved by pouring the wine into a decanter, but if someone asks, will you be comfortable telling them they are drinking “Black Box” wine?
Another downside is that the boxes can be a bit of a pain to open. You have to rip open the perforated cardboard and reach in, tugging and twisting at the spigot inside to get it out and into the proper place. It’s just not the same as uncorking a fresh bottle of wine.
In the end, I’m glad I got past my aversion to boxed wine. It provides good wine at an excellent value, and it allows me to enjoy a few glasses of wine on occasion without the pressure to finish an entire bottle or dump it out. So head down the boxed wine aisle and pick up some high quality boxed wine. Once you do, you’ll be hooked!
Written by Denise-Andrews