Boxed wines get a bad rap. Forget the Franzia stigma and open your mind to the economic and ecological benefits of the BIB (bag in box). With some of the world’s top distributors and winemakers thinking inside the box, the quality matches the quantity in the following favorites.
Sant Evasio Barbera
Word on the street (and by “street” I mean the wine aisle at Whole Foods) is that this easy-drinking Italian red is served by the glass at some of the finer Italian restaurants
at least in downtown Asheville. A great fall porch wine, it stays fresh for 45 days after opening — but I dare you to make it last that long.
Fuori Strada “Off Road” Sangiovese – 2010
Fruit-forward, yet balanced with a hint of spice. Goes great with grilled veggies! This Italian red couldn’t be more green: it’s made with organic grapes, comes in eco-friendly packaging, plus they are part of 1% for the Planet. It’s like saving the world, one glass at a time.
Bota Box RedVolution
You’ll see mixed reviews for all of the Bota Box varieties (people seem to love it or hate it), but I’m a fan. Like most of my favorite boxes, this one’s a blend. A combo of Merlot, Cab, Zin, Syrah and Petite Sirah, it’s a great everyday red.
Big House White
A longtime fan of Big House Wines, I was cautiously optimistic when it started coming out in box form. Could this crisp, crowd-pleasing blend of Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Marsanne, Malvasia Bianca, Orange Muscat and Muscat Canelli sip as well from the tap as it does from the bottle? The answer is thankfully, “yes”. If you’re not familiar with Big House, don’t let the pretty packaging fuel your skeptical side
it is as good as it looks.
Pepperwood Grove “Big Green Box” Pinot Noir
I was introduced to Pepperwood Grove by the bottle while working at a wine store in college, way before their “groovy green bottle” rebranding. Today, the label is different, but the value and flavors remain. The pinot noir is meduim bodied, fruity but not too jammy with light peppery notes. This versatile wine goes with everything, or like in my college days, all on its own.
2010 La Petite Frog Coteaux du Languedoc Picpoul de Pinet
This dry French white is just plain dangerous to keep in the house. Slightly costlier than its boxy counterparts, the quality is also higher and worth the price of admission — sure to be a palette pleaser at your next party.
Black Box Shiraz
I love that this is a company dedicated solely to the box. Their commitment shines through with all of their accolades, from Wine Enthusiast Best Buys to Gold Medals. You won’t hear much complaining about any of the Black Box varietals, but the Syrah is a definite stand-out. Berry flavors and full tannins make this a great meat-paring alternative to a chewier cab.
While their whites are nothing to write home about, I finally get what the Y+B fuss is all about with their malbec. Plus, they get extra karma points for their green initiatives (yellow + blue = green, get it?): 100 percent certified organic, a carbon footprint less than half the size of the traditional model, and the Tetra Pak packaging.
The Climber Wine Pouch, Clif Family Vineyards
Inside every box is a bag. The Climber Wine Pouch from Clif Family Vineyards simply takes the box out of the equation for a packable, drinkable wine. One pouch is equal to two 750ml bottles. Leave no trace? No problem. This comforting cab is sure to go quickly by the campfire.
Virginia Wineworks White Blend Box
Currently only sold in stores in Virginia and DC, this is the box to watch. Renowned winemaker Michael Shaps and his partners use 100 percent Virgina grapes in their bag in a box line, which is approachable both for your wallet and palette. The versatile white blend is a great place to start, but all six are worth a try. More than most boxes, it’s still a steal when you break down the price by the bottle. Not in Virginia? Check their website for a list of states where they ship direct.