I love good wine and I love a bargain. Nothing beats the new wave of box wines for convenience and value. You get four bottles in a format that, once open, has a shelf life of a month or more. It's the perfect thing for those who only drink a glass or two a day, or for those who want just one more glass, but don't want to open up another bottle. It's a nice plus that this format leaves a smaller carbon footprint than a heavy glass bottle.
If you think of Franzia when you think of wine in a box, you're not alone. It's the No. 1 selling wine in America, outpacing Carlo Rossi by two-to-one. And if you have been a bit disappointed in the taste of their offerings, again you are not alone. Reviews have not been friendly to the brand, and to be honest, I'm not even sure if it's really wine. One box I looked at was labeled as being “table wine with natural flavors.”
The good news is that there are some very fine box wines out there, but you might not find them on your grocery shelf. These are good enough that they belong in a wine shop, and that's probably where you'll have to go to buy them. Sure, they are considerably more expensive than Franzia, but you get what you pay for. And at $24 or less a box, it works out to a very reasonable $6s a bottle. Here's the line-up:
Folanari Pinot Grigio
La Vielle Ferme Rose
Falling Star Malbec
Visit my house, and you'll find the first two in my fridge, and the third sitting on a kitchen shelf nearby. I love being able to have a glass of wine without opening a bottle, and I find all three of these to be well made and consistently good, glass after glass. If the wine snob in you still looks down on wine in a box, I say, get over it. After all, just a few years back screw caps were considered the mark of a cheap wine.
Long live the box.