Best Chardonnay: Black Box Chardonnay
Courtesy of Walmart.com
Region: California | ABV: 14% | Tasting Notes: Oak, Apples, Tropical fruit
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 For Red Wine Fanatics: Black Box Red Blend
Taste of Home
Crowd-pleasing picks aside, the red wine-lovers in our tasting group preferred this blend from Black Box. Pouring ourselves a small sample, we picked up on an assertive aroma. A wine with a bold bouquet certainly had to have an impactful taste, right?
Absolutely right! Taking a sip of Black Boxs red blend, we found it to be pleasantly powerful. Considering the spectrum of sweet to dry, this wine was right in the middle, making it a joy to sip on its own. While sampling, we all commented on how this wine was a bit more complex than the others we tried. It took us some time to parse out the individual flavors, but in the end, we picked up notes of plum, berries, vanilla and a little spice . The finish of this wine was long allowing us to savor those subtle flavors.
- Price of a 3L box : $15.99
- Cost per glass: $0.80
Boxed Wine Can Be Surprisingly Delicious Find Out Which Brand Deserves To Be Called The Best Boxed Red Wine
Taste of Home
When Im in full-on entertaining mode, things can become a little stressful right before a party. Between all of the cooking and decoratingand dont get me started on cleaningI like to give myself a bit of a break when it comes to beverages. For big families and big events, a bottle or two of red wine just wont cut it. Id be uncorking all night! Thats when I like to rely on boxed wine. Its easy to serve and a big box is pretty gosh-darn cheap.
Recently, though, it seems like the boxed wine section of my grocery store has expanded. With so many options to choose from, I rounded up a few of my favorite tasting pals to compare five different red blends in a blind taste test. Here are the wines we tried:
While we did sip these in a blind test, we did peek at the end at pricing. Here are our favorites:
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Why Black Box Wine
Black Box wine has a compact size that makes it easy to take with you on an adventure. And if you are an outdoor enthusiast, this is definitely something that youll appreciate.
You can open your wine without fear that itll go bad because it stays fresh for four to six weeks after opening. All you need to do is store in a cool, dry place at room temperature.
It leaves a small carbon footprint compared to bottled wines and is fully recyclable to reduce wastage.
Its Reputation Precedes It
Black Box is an award-winning brand that boasts of 50 gold medals and several best buys. If brand and reputation are anything to go by, then its a brand that you can trust.
About Maltose Express In Monroe Connecticut
During the fall we sell wine grapes from Delta Packing that are sourced from several different regions of California and this year we will offer premium grapes from the following AVAs: Lodi, Amador, Tracy Hills and Mokelumne River. Some labels will be Lodi Gold, Valley Beauty and Smiling Baby. This season we carried the following white California wine grapes: Albarino, Chardonnay, French Columbard, Muscat Alexander, Thompson Seedless and Viognier. We also carried the following red California wine grapes: Alicante Bouschet, Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, Mixed Black, Mouvedre, Nebbiolo, Petite Syrah, Petite Verdot, Pinot Noir, Ruby Cabernet, Sangiovese, Syrah, Tempranillo, Zinfandel, Old Vine Zinfandel and Ancient Vine Zinfandel. We expect to receive wine grapes from early September to early October depending on the area and the weather in California. Follow this link to see more on our California wine grapes and to pre-order them in late August and September each year:
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What Happens If Black Box Wines Chardonnay White Wine Is Out Of Stock And I Need To Give Specific Instructions
- Find Best Match: By default, your shopper will use their best judgement to pick a replacement for your item.
- Pick Specific Replacement: You can pick a specific alternative for the shopper to purchase if your first choice is out-of-stock.
- Don’t Replace: For items you’d rather not replace, choose “Don’t replace” to get a refund if the item is out of stock.
Best Value: Franzia Dark Red Blend
Taste of Home
When you think of boxed wine, who doesnt think of Franzia? This classic brand got high marks for its value. A five-liter box costs less than $20 that comes out to $0.46 per glass! But outside of the amazing price, Franzias Dark Red Blend also impressed us with its rich bouquet.
Slightly dry, this red blend also gave us some earthier flavors accompanied by subtle notes of currants. During our blind sampling, a few tasters commented on how this wine stood out as being more festive than the others. Something about those dark fruit flavors and a touch of spice had us thinking fruitcake . Sipping this wine, we definitely envisioned ourselves enjoying a glass with friends during a party.
- Price of a 5L box : $15.47
- Cost per glass: $0.46
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Offer Classic Wine & Cheese Pairings
Our bold Cabernet Sauvignon, enticing Pinot Noir and rich Chardonnay hit just the right notes of refined drama, while the price tag has no drama at allperfect for our affordably chic party. But what to pair them with?
When serving Pinot Noir, we like to offer Gruyere alongside a softer, creamy cheese such as brie or camembert. With something bold like Cabernet Sauvignon, try pairing equally bold cheeses such as sharp cheddar, aged gouda or gorgonzola. Our rich Chardonnay pairs well with a wide range of cheeses from cheddar to Havarti and even triple cream.
For the meat lovers include a few charcuterie staples such as calabrese, prosciutto or good old-fashioned salami. Finish the arrangement with deliciously dark fruits such as grapes, figs, plums, and olives along with a split pomegranate for a splash of red.
Best Pinot Grigio: Bandit Pinot Grigio
Courtesy of Minibar
Region: California | ABV: 14% | Tasting Notes: Lemon peel, Apples, Stone fruit
Founded by vintners Joel Gott, Charles Bieler, and Roger Scommegna, Bandit is committed to making delicious wine while preserving the National Parks system.
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, youll 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.
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When And Where Did Winemaking Begin
Before we delve into the details of how to make wine from grapes, itll help to get some context about its history. While France and Italy are the countries most synonymous with winemaking, archaeological records suggest that wine was first produced in China around 7000 B.C., with the countries of Armenia and Georgia following suit not too long after.
Pro tip: For the full story on the nuances between Ancient World wines, Old World wines, and New World wines, be sure to check out our guide to the curious and captivating history of wine.
Best Overall: Bota Box Old Vine Zinfandel
Courtesy of Wine.com
Region: California | ABV: 13% | Tasting Notes: Black fruits, Pepper, Blueberries
The boxed wine to reign over all other boxed wines with its enchanting flavor is the Old Vine Zinfandel from Bota Box.
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.
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Best For A Barbecue: Bridge Lane Red Blend
Courtesy of Total Wine
Region: Long Island | ABV: 12.9% | Tasting Notes: Red cherries, Plums, Oak
A Bordeaux-focused red blend from New Yorks Long Island, this medium-bodied wine is full of ripe cherries, as well as plum and red apple skins, with a subtle oak spice finish, says Brown. Its smooth and approachable, and it goes fantastically, she adds, with flavorful cuts like marinated hangar steak and chimichurri sauce.
Plus, with its minimalist, hipster packaging, its a great host gift for your next barbecue at a pals.
A Brick Of Dehydrated Grape Juice Used To Surreptitiously Make Wine In The Days Of Prohibition Has Gone On Display At A Californian Museum Offering A Unique Insight Into American History
The Vino Sano Grape Brick, thought to be one of the last few in existence, has been put on display by the Ontario Museum of History & Art, and dates to around 1930.
The chunks of dehydrated grape juice became popular in the early 20th century when the production of wine was banned under Prohibition, with the bricks able to be officially dissolved in water to make grape juice, or unofficially fermented to make wine.
Their production became particular profitable among those winemakers that owned vineyards, but from 16 January 1920 were no longer able to make wine from them.
Many vintners continued to produce table grapes, or tore up their vines to plant another crop, while others hit upon the grape brick in order to continue turning a profit from their vines.
Under the Volstead Act, whose rules regulated Prohibition, grapes could be grown, but only if they were being used for non-alcoholic consumption. Furthermore, if the winemaker sold grapes to someone, aware they were going to use them to make wine, they themselves could be jailed.
It meant that in selling their grape bricks, winemakers had to be able to maintain deniability that their product could be used to produce alcohol. To get around this, winemakers ensured that their grape bricks carried a warning not to leave it in water for too long in case, heaven forbid, it should begin fermenting and turn to wine.
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Boxed Wine Isnt Actually Horrible
Aside from the obvious advantage of being cheaper, buying boxed wine is actually smart for a host of other reasons so much so that some vintners are starting to sell even their fancy cuvees in cardboard.
Why, you ask? Well, first of all its nigh impossible for wine to go bad in a box, either before or after opening.
Thats because of the vacuum-sealed bag inside the box which you may or may not remember from college. It keeps the wine almost entirely out of contact with oxygen, which means youll never open a box to find your wines already turned.
And that cute little spigot? It works to maintain the wines vacuum seal, even after youve had a glass , which means you can keep an open box of wine on the counter for weeks instead of just a couple of days, like with a bottle.
And although its true that cork allows wines that need it to age with grace, most easy-drinking table quaffs dont benefit much from sitting in a bottle, or will be drunk too young for it to matter.
Boxed wine also carries a much smaller carbon footprint and you can take it into glass-free zones, like campsites.
But enough about why its awesome: Which one tastes best?
The Difference Between Wine Grapes And Table Grapes
If youve ever wondered why you cant head to the grocery store, pick up some concord, red, or green grapes, bring them home, crush them and turn them into delicious wine, congratulations, youve wondered what most people wonder but have been too afraid to ask: whats the actual difference between table grapes and wine grapes? The answer? A lot, actually.
The first difference between these grapes is the species from which wine and table grapes originate. All grapes that are used to make that incredible glass of wine youre currently swirling come from the Vitis Vinifera species, a species native to the Mediterranean, including Europe and the Middle East. But while some table grapes also come from this species, others come from species such as Vitis Labrusca, and Vitis Rotundifolia, species that dont make great wine but are delicious to eat.
A second difference between these two grapes has to do with their skin thickness. Table grapes have thin skin, perfect for chomping into as you munch away, but thats not ideal for making wine. When it comes to making great wine, especially red wine, a thicker skin is better, and thats exactly what wine grapes have, perfect for imparting tannins and delivering that deep red color you enjoy staring at.
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Enjoy A Fresh Glass Of Wine
Wine is a beloved beverage that has been around since practically the dawn of time. Whether its to mark a special moment or to simply relax after a long day, having a glass of wine is one of those pleasures in life that we can all enjoy.
While making wine from grapes is a mechanical process for some , for others, its an art form. You could certainly give homemade wine a try, but we invite you to try ours. Every bottle of Usual Wines is made from sustainable, small-batch grapes without any added sugars, sulfites, or chemical additives because we believe in doing things the Old World way for the modern wine lover.
For more ways to broaden your appreciation of the wonderful world of wine, be sure to follow our Usual Wines blog.
Servicing North American Vintners
Old world boxes made with modern day craftsmanship. Quintessential Canada offers a sophisticated collection of wine box styles which are crafted exclusively using box joint construction. We invite you to explore why our wine boxes are the Quintessential choice to partner with your good taste.
“For several years Quintessential Canada has provided us with customized wood boxes for our wine products. The quality of their product is excellent but more importantly, it enhances the presentation of our products and makes our customers feel that we care enough to provide the best. A special thanks to Dan OShea and his staff for their ongoing commitment to AboutFace.” Anna Pileggi AboutFace International
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Best Budget: Franzia Sunset Blush Pink Wine
Courtesy of Walmart.com
Region: California | ABV: 9% | Tasting Notes: Strawberry, Ripe peach, Grapefruit
No proper boxed wine list is complete without an appearance by Franzia. Founded in 1906, Franzia is one of the worlds most popular wines. Its been known to invade your grandmothers fridge and college dinner parties. The label likes to have a little fun and shouldnt 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. Easily accessible and highly recognizable, this is also one of the most economical selections on our list.
California Residents: Tap Here For Proposition 65 Warning
|WARNING: Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol|
|WARNING: Many food and beverage cans have linings containing bisphenol A , a chemical known to cause harm to the female reproductive system. Jar lids and bottle caps may also contain BPA. You can be exposed to BPA when you consume foods or beverages packaged in these containers. For more information, go to: www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/BPA|
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Best Organic: Badger Mountain Red
Courtesy of Badger Mountain Vineyard
Region: Washington State | ABV: 13.5% | Tasting Notes: Herbaceous, Pepper, Red fruits
Out of Washington states Columbia Valley comes this organically-produced red blend from Badger Mountain, curated by their head winemaker Jose Mendozano relation to the South American city.
Blending happens to be Mendozas specialty, so 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 Ros: Le Vieille Ferme
Courtesy of Amazon
Region: France | ABV: 12.5% | Tasting Notes: Floral, Citrus, Peach
Brown calls this wine produced by the Southern Rhônes famed Perrin family one of the best wine values of the wine world.
A blend of syrah, grenache, and cinsault, its a consistent gem thats 100 percent crushable, she says, with a red-fruit palate and touches of citrus, peach flesh, and white flowers.
It’s a perfect match poolside with friends, for those regular Tuesday nights with leftover Chinese food, or while simply Netflix and chilling, folding laundry. Nadine Brown, wine consultant and former wine director of Charlie Palmer Steak in DC
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The Best Boxed Wine For Your Money
Eight adventurous TPH staffers and I tasted seven boxed wines, ranging from $11.46 to $21.99, to figure out which wine we wouldnt be embarrassed to serve at a party after sneaking it into a fancy decanter, of course.
To control the experiment , we kept our tasting to a single varietal, or type of grape: cabernet sauvignon.
We cant say for certain that our findings will hold across varietals. Maybe our least favorite brand just happens to flub its cab, but does a bang-up job on pinot noir or sauvignon blanc.
But even so, some of our results were pretty surprising and they might just help you nail down those holiday dinner plans. Heres what we tasted, started with the cheapest option: