Boxed wines are finally getting their due, and it's about time as far as I'm concerned. Once the punchline of jokes about cheap hooch, now vino a la cardboard is taking a more prominent spot in liquor stores everywhere. Even wine experts are admitting that the best boxed wines out there are pretty great, and that's saying something.
The advantages of boxed wines are many. They're more totable (and unbreakable) than a glass bottle, and because a typical box contains the equivalent of four bottles, they're an easy and affordable take-along for parties and barbecues, noted Food & Wine. If the guests don't finish the box by the party's end, not to worry: The inside pouch keeps the wine fresh for up to three weeks, which is longer than the four-to-five-day limit for an uncorked bottle. When the last drop is gone, the box can go right into the paper recycling bin (and the pouch into the plastics can). Plus, many of the varieties out there today are surprisingly delicious. You might not bring them to a formal dinner party (that's still glass-bottle territory), but for casual dining, they're the perfect solution.
These are some of the boxed-wine brands recommended by sommeliers and foodies. Check them out next time you hit the ABC store, or have them delivered to your doorstep through an online liquor store like Drizly. Cheers!
1. La Nevera Tinta
2. Black Box Chardonnay
3. Bota Box Rosé
Thank the heavens that rosés aren't the cloying Hawaiian Punch-y drinks they used to be, back in the day. Today's blends are refreshing and flavorful without being overly sweet. Case in point: this award-winning brand, which offers a crisp, grapefruit-scented rosé that just begs for a summer afternoon in the backyard or beach.
4. From The Tank Rosé
This brand got raves from a Wine Enthusiast staffer for its "perfect balance of fruity and minerally" and the way it pairs with just about any food you care to serve. It gets bonus points for being a "natural" wine — made from organic grapes, indigenous yeast, few to no sulfites and gentle handling.
5. La Vieille Ferme Vin Blanc
Food and Wine gave top marks to this boxed brand, which also offers a red blend and a rosé. The white, however, came out ahead for its tropical notes (banana and pineapple are especially detectable) and its pleasant mineral mouthfeel. Serve with your favorite appetizers and a casual attitude.
6. Barefoot On Tap Pinot Noir
Barefoot's approachable flavors have made it a popular consumer choice for years, and its many awards speak for themselves. Bring one of their boxed versions to your next gathering, and you probably won't have any leftover to bring home. The Pinot Noir is silky and fruity, which makes it a natural go-with for burgers and other hearty bites. Plus, a 3-liter box goes for less than $20. What more can you ask for?
7. Bridge Lane White Merlot
The North Fork of Long Island has become a respected region for good wines, thanks to the grape-friendly sandy soil and New York climate. Now one of their best wineries, Lieb Cellars, has a line of boxed wines worth your attention. This (yes!) white Merlot is made from Merlot grapes with the skin removed before blending. The result: a tangy, delightful drink with hints of lemongrass.