Talk to me about Box Wine
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.
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...
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.
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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.