Count on Ellen DeGeneres to make even the most mundane of chores feel super fun, and her recent trip to CVS with FLOTUS Michelle Obama was no exception, especially when the two encountered the boxed wine aisle.
In the wine moment, which occurs about four minutes into the video, the duo attempt to figure out what to do with that big cardboard thing. "How do you open wine in a box?" they ask those around them while they look at the Franzia box in confusion. Eventually they figure out how it works. Here's why you should too, in case you're not already down with boxed wine.
Despite its now-outdated reputation, wine-in-a-box has a lot going for it beyond its volume-to-price ratio. A number of producers are making high-quality boxed wines, which are worth looking into as cooler weather hits and you get ready to spend more time quaffing in the cozy confines of your home.
“I've been discovering a lot of excellent boxed wines lately," David Hunter, general manager and wine buyer for Chelsea Wine Vault at the Chelsea Market, tells The Feast. "These are such a great value because you get the equivalent of four bottles of wine in a very light, eco-friendly packaging that is easily transportable and can last over a month after being opened.”
In the wine industry, there's been a huge shift to producing quality wine in alternative packages. “A glass bottle and cork are great if you're buying an expensive wine that needs to age for a few years or decades, but it honestly does not make sense for 95 percent of wines which are going to be consumed within the week (or hours) of their purchase,” says Hunter. “Add that to the 1 in 50 corks which are invisibly affected by bacteria that destroy the taste of the wine [leading to "corked" bottles], so why take the risk?” adds Hunter.
Since boxes are easier to transport, too, and you don't need a corkscrew, that means you can spend the time you save drinking. Sounds like a plan to us. Here, 7 to stock up on asap.
1. Black Box
Black Box was the first to offer super-premium boxed wines in the U.S. and has maintained its status as an industry leader. The $25 three-liter box is equivalent to four regular-size bottles of wine. Plus the packaging is eco-friendly: It's fully recyclable, and the company claims the box yields 85 percent less packaging waste and requires less energy to transport, generating less than half the carbon footprint of bottled wines. Forbes includes it among their best in boxed wines, describing it as "lighter styled Cabernet Sauvignon with blackberries and some chocolate; it has a pinch of Zinfandel and Syrah, which makes things interesting."
This wine comes in a grab-and-go 500ml container (two thirds of a bottle) made from a Tetra (i.e. cardboard-lined) box. "This sustainably produced California Cabernet Sauvignon is a winner,” says Hunter. Good Housekeeping included it among their gallery of favorite organic red wines, boxed or bottled.
3. Herdade do Esporão’s Alandra Red
Esporão is Portugal’s leading family-owned winery, and this fruity, well-structured red is an excellent bargain at $18 for three liters. The wine is a blend of indigenous Portuguese grape varietals Trincadeira, Moreto and Castelão. Wine Enthusiast says of this wine: "It shows no signs of wood aging, boasting only fresh red fruits and balanced acidity. The aftertaste is fresh, continuing the fruity theme."
4. Di Giovanna
“One of my absolute favorite box wines is from a wonderful Sicilian wine-making family, Di Giovanna. I had the pleasure of visiting them two months ago to see the operation first hand. They are producing very natural, organic wines from local indigenous grapes. This one from the Nero d'Avola grape produces a fantastic dry fall rosé that is darker in color and a bit fuller in body, which allows it to pair perfectly with turkey, chicken, pork, fish or even fish tacos!” says Hunter. "This bright, minerally Sicilian wine with grapefruit and pineapple notes is more sophisticated than what you might expect to find in a box. You'd better get used to it!" says Tasting Table.
5. Archer Roose
"Archer Roose wine is from Chile's Maipo Valley, a place that can make really good Cabernet, often at cheaper prices than we can produce here in the U.S. This boxed cab is definitely a crowd pleaser, and hits all the marks of a nice entry level red wine," Erin Vaughen, owner of Vinley Market, an online wine boutique, tells The Feast. Reverse Wine Snob says this wine is "a quirky crowdpleaser that has mass appeal."
Try: Archer Roose Carmenère Chile NV (3L Box)
For one of the best value box wines in the world look further than Shania, says Hunter. "The Juan Gil family's Shania boxed wine," says Hunter, is "fruity and generously textured [and] boasts a lively palate and is very smooth," he notes. Vinepair says this is the boxed wine you should be buying.
Try: Shania Monastrell 2013 (3L Box)
7. Maison Cubi Wines
Maison Cubi wines are Premium French vintages that are vineyard-specific and not bulk-produced. The winery offers a rose from Provence in a 3L bag-in-box as well as a 1L tetrapak; white wines including Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier; and a Pinot Noir and a Syrah Carignan red blend in 3L boxes. “Rosé in a box! Light and refreshing and from Provence, the land where the best rosé comes from,” says Vaughen.
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