Box wines, like the screw cap, have had significant hurdles to hop in terms of consumer perception and taste quality. Lingering memories of the 1980's box wine, Franzia, have probably done more than their fair share of wrecking consumer reception to box wines. However, innovative packaging, month-long storage options and upgrades in both quality and consumer value have all come together to make many wine lovers take a second look at the box wine phenomena.
For an everyday wine option, the boxed versions have something to offer everyone:
- Easy storage - for up to 4-6 weeks once opened.
- One box of wine typically holds the equivalent of 2-3 bottles of wine.
- Considerably easier to enjoy a single glass rather than trying to stop up and successfully store an opened bottle.
- Cheaper packaging with significant cost savings passed on to the consumer.
- Decent quality for the price in the everyday, value wine category.
Box Wines to Try
Australia has been working with boxed wines for years now, just like they were pioneers with the screwcap, they don't seem to shy away from non-traditional wine packaging or closures for that matter. So it's no surprise that two of the best box wine options come for down under. Hardy's and Banrock Station are both fine starting points in the box wine segment. Give Hardy's Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon a try if you are looking for fruit-forward everyday reds.
The Chardonnay and Cab are also worth trying from Banrock Station.
The Octavin Home Wine Bar has recently come out with an international collection of box wines. With wines from Spain, New Zealand, Hungary and, of course, California they have a fairly comprehensive offering from various growing regions.
I tried the Big House Red ($22 for 3L), a blend of 13 grapes ranging from Syrah and Grenache to Petit Verdot and Barbera. The overall impression was straightforward, ripe red fruit with a palate focus on raspberry and just a touch of vanilla. Octavin also puts out a Monthaven Winery Central Coast Chardonnay ($24 for 3L) that exhibits a solid balance of fruit, acid and super subtle oak with a fruit focus equally distributed between green apple and D' Anjou pear on the palate.
Yellow + Blue Malbec ($12 for 1 L) from Argentina is another solid entry onto the stage of box wine. This one happens to be organic and typically brings upfront praise for its approachability and dark berry fruit palate profile. Killer Juice Cab ($22 for 3L) is another ultra ripe red wine option coming from the box wine segment. Though not a well-structured, complicated Cab by any stretch of the imagination, it serves its purpose as an everyday red wine entry and has plenty of fans to prove it.
Botabox Malbec is a delicious, medium-bodied, fruit-forward red wine with hallmark blackberry fruit, and a good bit of jammy plum flavor as well. A nice addition to the boxed wine category.
Two old world box wine entries include:
Folonari's Pinot Grigio ($20 for 3L) delivers a fairly standard dry white wine with a focus feature on apple aromas and palate presence from Italy's Veneto region. If you've tried this popular white wine in the bottle, you know what to expect from the box wine version.
From The Tank ($35 for 3L) a fairly sophisticated, medium-bodied, red blend consisting of Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan from the Cotes du Rhone region. This red box wine will definitely stretch the box wine paradigm.
Increased storage capacities, cheaper packaging, and improved quality - all make box wines worth checking out for today's savvy wine consumer.