With summer almost over it’s time to get friends and family together for a few more BBQ’s before the weather turns cool. Large gatherings mean lots of mouths to feed and plenty of thirsts to quench. Historically a lot of jokes have been made about boxed wine. And for many years the commentary, criticism and humor were warranted. However in the last 5 years things have taken a pretty dramatic turn for the better. There are a number of producers now putting quality wine out in boxes. This is often referred to as the bag in the box. More often than not these are 3 Liter containers which equates to four standard size bottles. These wines generally sell for right around $20 give or take a couple of dollars based on brand and where you’re shopping. If you were purchasing these as stand alone bottles you could expect to pay somewhere from $6- $9 per bottle. In addition to saving some money with the three liter format a few other advantages are part of things as well. Eschewing glass makes them more environmentally friendly. Additionally if you don’t finish them up no worries as the bag in a box concept keeps the wine fresh for approximately 30 days. Make no mistake there are still plenty of anonymous boxed wines you’ll want to avoid, but now there are also some very solid go to choices. Today I’ll look at three that I recommend. The Falling Star 2009 Chardonnay was produced from fruit sourced in the Mendoza region of Argentina. Falling Star is part of the Trapiche line and represents their budget label. After hand harvesting and fermentation the wine was ages in stainless steel tanks for approximately 6 months prior to a light filtration and bottling, This wine is available in 750 ml bottles, 1.5 L bottles and 3 Liter Boxes. I tasted out of 3 Liter box which has a suggested retail price of $19.99.
Tropical fruit aromas dot the nose of this Chardonnay from Argentina along with copious quantities of yellow and green apple. At the core of this wine is an inherent fruitiness. This is an engaging wine whose chief appeal is that it provides a pure blast of unadulterated Chardonnay flavor. The crisp, clean, refreshing finish shows off continued apple and orchard fruit flavors as well as wisps of minerals and lemon zest. Serve this Chardonnay well chilled at your next BBQ or party and the white wine lovers in the crowd will surely be pleased.
The Falling Star 2010 Malbec was produced from fruit sourced in Mendoza. Fruit was hand harvested and fermented for approximately 20 days at controlled, cool temperatures. 6 months of aging in stainless steel tanks followed prior to filtration and bottling. Much like the Chardonnay this wine is available in 3 sizes. The 3 Liter Box has a suggested retail price of $19.99.
Dark and brooding jam fruit aromas burst forth from the nose on this 2010 Malbec. A number of spices such as nutmeg, vanilla and cardamom make their presence known as well. Juicy, appealing, forward dark fruit flavors are the story of this wines palate. This wine is loaded with pleasing flavors that will make an impression on party guests and keep them coming back to the box for more. This wine has a reasonable finish for its price point and it will pair well with just about anything off the grill.
The Folonari 2009 Fresh Cask Pinot Noir was made from fruit sourced in the Veneto. This Italian wine is 100% Pinot Noir. After fermentation 80% of the wine was aged for roughly 6 months in stainless steel, the remaining 20% in French oak barriques. This Pinot is available in 750 ml bottles, 1.5 liter bottles and 3 Liter boxes. The 3 Liter Box has a suggested retail price of $19.99.
Dried red fruit, clove, and bits of toast all emerge from the nose of this Pinot Noir. This wine features an even keeled palate where fruit and spice notes both play equally important roles. Dried black cherries, olive tapenade and bits of herbs are all present. A touch of smoke, sweet strawberry and vanilla crème all emerge on the finish. This is a balanced and dry wine with terrific acidity. The Folinari 3 Liter Pinot Noir would be a perfect choice to serve if you’re having a big pasta or pizza party.
Each of these Boxes of wine represents a solid value in its category. They’re appealing wines, meant to please crowds of people. They succeed quite admirably on that score. The easy to pour spouts they feature and the 30 day shelf life of these wines once opened add additonal value. Give one a shot for your next party and see what you think.