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Talk to me about Box Wine

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Please don't tell me there is no good boxed wine out there. I know I am not going to find some fabulous rare vintage, but there has to be something good enough to serve guests, right? I live in a dry country, so I need to be able to pack the wine in my luggage. Obviously, boxes are going to be much more convenient and portable than bottles. (I can legally bring the liquor into the country, so this isn't a question about smuggling, it's a question about logistics.) Buying liquor at the duty paid store is far too expensive a proposition to do more than once in a great while, and while I take advantage of duty free when I travel, most of the wines sold at the airport are pretty high end and more than I want to spend for a casual dinner at home.

And ideas?

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  1. I don't have access to a variety but if you can find "Black Box" it is definitely palatable.

    1. A dry...country?!? My condolences.

      My husband and I have started keeping boxed wine for everyday use, since it keeps so well and we like being able to have a glass without worrying about the rest of a bottle spoiling. I don't know what you consider "good enough to serve guests"...that's different for different people/budgets/etc. We've got a box of Woodbridge Zinfandel going right now, which, I'd venture, is not at all what many posters here would consider serving guests (or perhaps even their dogs) but we find it perfectly OK at the end of a long day.

      All that having been said, we're new to the boxed wine phenom, and eager for suggestions as well. I'll be watching to see what gets mentioned here, too...

      1. Black Box Chard. Is pretty good. You can get it at the grocery. There is also Wine Cube at Target for around the same price. Also good. We load our boat with these two when we go for a long cruise. We take off the cardboard and stack the bladders. They are really sturdy and are capped well with a foil liner so they are not going to burst. You could bit in probably twice the amount or more.

        1. I can't help you out with Chicago per se, but if you have a layover in Paris, you might check these out. I'm sure they're similar to the selection available in the UK, if you fly through there.

          Château Rollan de By, Médoc cru bourgeois. They're currently selling the 2006 in 2L boxes, at 17€/L (equiv 12,75 € / bottle). That's an honest to god real wine that you could serve to guests. If I were you, I'd buy these, toss the boxes, and fill up a suitcase.

          You can get a 3L box of simple AOC Buzet, produced by the co-op, for abt 4,5 €/L

          During the summer there are plenty of provençal rosés that come in boxes.

          1. You would have to order this online, but Sylvester winery in Paso Robles produces a non-vintage boxed chardonnay that is great for the price. I'm not sure you will have time to order the wine but I would look into Sylvester boxed wine in the future

            1. You might want to do a search of this board, as there are probably a half-dozen threads on boxed wines.

              Hunt

              1. As other posters have said - Black Box. I went to a party in a park and glass was prohibited. So, off to BevMo I went and Black Box was highly recommended. We got both the Card and the Merlot. Both were very drinkable!

                1. And why are my post all of a sudden double spacing???

                  1. One of the better wine stores in the Boston area recently began carrying a 3L box of 2007 Cotes du Rhone from Vignerons de Caractere for $28. Although I've certainly had much better from the region, and although I use it primarily for cooking, it still beats the pants off of any other box wine I've ever had.

                    As mentioned on this board, you'll soon be seeing box wine from Italy pretty widely:

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/548525

                    1. i'd also recommend checking into any local wineries ... I know of at least one local one here who sells a few of their house wines in 5 L quantities.....perhaps they might even box a pricier variety on special order, if they already have this capacity? I've never purchased it, so I don't know.

                      1. I saw some good prices on Black Box and another wine (I believe it was Hardy's) from Australia today. I'm interested mostly in whites. Do they really keep well for the length of time it would take to drink 4 bottles' worth? The ones I saw today were 3 litre boxes (the equiv. of 4 bottles), so I'm guessing a couple of weeks or so? I used to live in So Cal where sales on wine made economizing not so much an issue, but I'm now living in the midwest, and the only sales/cheap prices I see are on very average wines. If I'm going to be spending 8-10 on an average bottle of white, I might go for the box if I think it would be worth it. The black box chard is selling for 18.99 for a 3 litre box right now.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: DanaB

                          It obviously depends a bit on how long it takes you to go through a bottle.

                          After being unsealed, a box of wine will generally keep for about five or six weeks at room temperature, probably a little longer in the fridge. So even if you go through well less than a bottle a week, you'd be perfectly fine.

                          On the other hand, taking quality and variety into consideration, I'd argue that if you're committed to shopping around a bit (perhaps even ordering over the Internet), $8 - $10 per bottle can give you access to a really significant step up from Black Box or Hardy's. The best I can say about most currently available box wines (and again, this is already changing) is that they're surprisingly not repugnant. Going on taste, I'd say buy a VacuVin for ten bucks and stick with the bottles.

                          1. re: finlero

                            DanaB's question and then your reply got me to wondering. I've heard a lot of folk praise the bag-in-a-box for how well it keeps the wine "fresh." I use my VacuVins and even travel with a pump and 6 stoppers. Has anyone ever compared the two "methods?" I'd *guess* that it would be difficult, as one would need both a box and a 0.75ltr. of the same wine to compare. Just curious.

                            Hunt

                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              I'd love to hear other hounds' opinions on this, but my totally unscientific empirical data suggest that bag-in-a-box is still the clear winner.

                              The only thing slowly killing the freshness [all I can think of is Steve Martin in the Jerk] of boxed wine is the very gradual leakage of air into the bag via the unsealed spigot.

                              On the other hand, (1) uncorking a bottle of wine introduces lots of air at the outset, (2) VacuVin is great, but it's certainly not a perfect vacuum, thus some ambient air will remain in your bottle, and (3) just like bag-in-a-box, you're going to get some slow leakage from the environment into the bottle.

                              In my experience, VacuVin preserves a bottle of room-temperature red wine up to about a week, and a refrigerated bottle of white for two or three weeks, as compared to about five weeks of freshness for boxed red and even more for boxed white.

                              Lastly, I should note that I currently keep boxed wine around almost exclusively for cooking, so I'm quite a bit less fussy about subtle changes in flavor than I would be with the bottles I actually drink.