Boxed wines get a bad wrap. Get it? Wrap? Because they’re in a box. Jokes are bad if you have to explain them.
But that’s what boxed wines are to wine snobs — a bad joke. Try offering vino from a box to a sommelier and see how hard they laugh.
Why do plonk aficionados look down on the boxed version when some of them are actually good?
Whether you enjoy a Cabernet or lean toward a Zinfandel, just because they don’t come in the traditional bottle doesn’t mean they automatically taste worse. As an added bonus, the packaging is more environmentally-friendly and it stays fresh longer than its glass counterpart.
What To Look For
When picking out a boxed wine, Nadine Brown, wine consultant and former wine director of Charlie Palmer Steak in DC, has these suggestions.
“Many of the options are easy-drinking, everyday wines, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t find them enjoyable,” she says.
“The wine should be free of faults,” added Brown. “Quality is improving as more producers use this packaging for mid-tier wines.”
Best Overall: Bota Box Old Vine Zinfandel
“Proudly produced from California grapes, this wine is very agreeable on the palate and proves boxed wine is a force to be reckoned with. Bold with balanced acidity and notes of black cherry, black plum, pepper spice and blueberry. This dark and jammy wine pairs well with barbecue and grilled meats.”
Best Red: Pour Haus Cabernet Sauvignon
“This California blend is bold and mildly acidic with oaky flavor notes of strawberry, raspberry, spice and rhubarb. Luscious and full-bodied, you’ll want to pair this with fatty meats and rich cheeses.”
Best Rosé: Le Vieille Ferm
“A blend of syrah, grenache, and cinsault, it’s a consistent gem that’s 100 percent crushable with a red-fruit palate and touches of citrus, peach flesh, and white flowers.”
Best White: Frontera Sauvignon Blanc
“Bright, young, and fresh, this summery Sauv Blanc has its zippy roots in Chile’s Central Valley, where the grapes have a mineral exuberance. It’s a crisp sip with citrusy, snappy appeal, hints of tropical fruit, and a clean finish that makes it a match for all sorts of light picnic foods.”
Best Budget: Franzia Sunset Blush Pink Wine
“No proper boxed wine list is complete without an appearance by Franzia. Founded in 1906, Franzia is one of the world’s most popular wines. It’s been known to invade your grandmother’s fridge and college dinner parties. The label likes to have a little fun and shouldn’t all wine do that? Their Sunset Blush Rosé is as fun as it gets from the perfect pink color to the medium-sweet notes of strawberry, peach and grapefruit.”
Best Chardonnay: Black Box Chardonnay
“Black Box is known for its focus specifically on making great wine that pairs well with a variety of dishes. Their chardonnay delivers citrus aromas with buttery flavors of oak, apple, pear and mango. Bold, semi-sweet with a lasting toasted finish, this chardonnay pairs well with lighter fare like roast chicken and potatoes, or richer whitefish piccata.”
Best Pinot Grigio: Bandit Pinot Grigio
“Not only does Bandit make a tasty pinot grigio, but their packaging makes it easier to have wine-on-the-go, optimal for camping trips and long mountain hikes. And once you reach the summit, you’ll be hit with creamy aromas of peach, apple, pear and lemon. This is semi-dry with a citrus finish. Bring along an almond-rich trail mix for an out-of-this-world pairing.”
Best Red Blend: Black Box Red Blend
“Black Box strikes again with this impressive and delicious blend of their pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon varieties sourced from California, Argentina, and Chile. Mildly sweet with notes of cherry, raspberry, earth and blueberry. Looking for a red that can stand on its own? This velvety smooth blend fits the bill.”
Best Organic: Badger Mountain Red
“Dig into this organically farmed red with its aromas of cherry, plum, cranberry and fennel. With flavors of dark fruits and pepper and sturdy tannins, this wine can be had on its own or paired with various meats and pasta.”
Best TetraPak: Bota Box Pinot Grigio
“The hits keep coming from Bota Box with this appetizing, ultra-convenient, eco-friendly packaging, making it easier to take their greatness anywhere. This vibrant medium-bodied white is light and lacy with crisp peach, citrus aromas and flavors of pineapple and white flowers.”
Best Poolside: From The Tank Vin Rosé
“A blend of organic and sustainably farmed grenache and cinsault grapes from southern France’s Languedoc region, this well-made rosé was fermented and stored in both stainless steel and concrete, with stirring of the lees for a creamy texture. Along with its ripe, red berry flavor, that body makes it the strawberries-and-cream of boxed wine, yet it finishes with lip-smacking acidity.”
Do you drink boxed wine? If so, tell us your favorites below!
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