Oh the glorious memories of high school. If it wasn’t wine in a box it was Bartles & Jaymes (couldn’t resist the commercial) or a 2L of Sun Country or Boone’s or… Well you get the point. Boxed wine has been afforded the same stigma that Rose has suffered at the hands of White Zinfandel. Memories, some good, some bad but all including a wine (or a derivative of it) that you’d prefer not to taste again.
So when I opened the package and found 3L samples of both the Big House Red and Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc you know what initially went through my head. But it appears boxed wine is going retro and as history shows, though rarely, sometimes, the 2nd time is better than the 1st. Reports say that boxed wine sales are increasing at almost 10x the pace of overall wine sales. Couple that with the fact that I am a value seeker at heart and I decided to taste these wines with my eyes wide open. What did I find?
First off before I even get started I should mention that if you have a serious interest in learning more head straight over to Joshua Sweeney’s site and give his Search for the Best Boxed Wine Wrap-Up a read. Okay, you back?
I served these at my niece’s graduation (thus my lack of formal tasting notes) and the Silver Birch was impressive and is a crowd favorite (see best of above or Drink Nectar’s take). This one is potentially on par with the King Shag which would make it quite the steal. The Big House Red while not impressive was certainly drinkable. The Silver Birch I would be happy to serve to guests again and while I wouldn’t be embarrassed to serve the Big House I wouldn’t go out of my way to talk about either. Perhaps the Black Box Malbec, that Joe Roberts (aka 1 Wine Dude) refers to as “Quite a feat to pack that much blueberry & tobacco spice in that lil’ box. A bargain at less than $7 a bottle.”, would be a better selection. What does this all mean to you?
As I see it there are two potential reasons to buy these wines. The first use case being a social gathering where a large amount of wine is necessary. These wines perfectly serve the purpose of being drinkable while not being wasteful from a quality perspective for the vast majority that may not be paying attention. The second use case being that you don’t drink all that much (and/or don’t crave variety in your wines the way I do). These wines are proclaimed to stay fresh for up to six weeks after opening. If either of these cases matches your needs I recommend giving these a try.
What’s your take? Have you had boxed wine lately? If not, are you willing to give it a chance? If so, which one? What did you think?
*as indicated above both the Big House Red and Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc were received as press samples