Once considered nothing more than cheap party wine guaranteed to give you a headache in the morning, boxed wine is seeing a new life in today's wine scene. It's not just California wineries hoping to be trendsetters who are experimenting with boxed wines either -- there are several Old World wine regions offering some decent boxed wines as well. While some wine enthusiasts are still struggling to wrap their heads around screw cap wines replacing corks, now there are boxed wines that are rivaling some award-winning bottled wines.
Bota Box Wines
Bota Box Wines is one of the leaders in bringing quality boxed wines to the masses. Pronounced boh'-tuh, bota is a leather bottle used to carry wine for centuries. Grapes are sources from California's Napa, Lodi, Monterey, and Sonoma wine regions. Bota has won a number of awards, including Silver medals for both the Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc in the 2015 Consumer Wine Awards. Wine Enthusiast included three of Bota Box Wines as their top picks for the best boxed wines. These included the Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grigio. Serious Eats names the Riesling and Old Vine Zinfandel as the top two white and red options from Bota, respectively.
- Riesling: Medium-bodied; aromas of sweet melon, ripe stone fruit, honey and floral notes; flavors of lychee, pear, white peach and green apple.
- Cabernet Sauvignon: Medium body; aromas of black cherry and blackberry; red currant and black fruit on the palate.
- Old Vine Zinfandel: Jammy and fruit forward; aromas of blackberry, black cherry and toasted oak.
Wine-Searcher has a list of stores and outlets that carry Bota Box wines.
From the Tank
VinePair recommends From the Tank boxed wines; From the Tank also gets a shout-out from The New York Times a "good" one to try. From the Tank produces a red, a white, and a rosé that come in three-liter boxes. They are made from French grapes, specifically from the Côtes du Rhône region. From the Tank wines are a collaboration between Jenny & Francois Selections, wine importers, and Denis Deschamps of Les Vignernons D'Estézargues. The blend differs each year so expect something new each time.
- Red: Hand harvested; fruit undergoes 15 days of maceration; bagged and boxed on demand; beautiful garnet color in the glass; notes of smoky red fruit, sweet herb, and a note of baking chocolate
- White: Pale yellow in the glass; tart fruity nose with mineral scents; crisp citrus and peach flavors
- Rose: 21-year-old Syrah, 40-year-old Grenache; racked by bleeding by opening the base of the vat
Jenny & Francois Selections has a search tool on their website to help you locate From the Tank boxed wines.
Bandit Wines is another brand of boxed wines making headlines and even grabbing the attention of publications like Gayot. Gayot rates Bandit's Pinot Grigio as one of the top 10 best boxed wines. Bandit's wines have won awards at the 2015 Orange County Fair Wine Competition, Critics Challenge International Wine Competition, and more. Wine Spectator mentions Bandit is a boxed wine that you can "depend on".
- Pinot Grigio: Citrus, peach and pear; lemon and green apple flavors
- Merlot: Plums, blueberries, black cherry and vanilla
- Cabernet Sauvignon: Blackberries and toasty oak on the palate
Check the Bandit Wines finder tool to see where to purchase their wines.
French Rabbit's Pinot Noir was included on Epicurious' list of the top five boxed wines. French Rabbit produces only vintage-dated, appellation-specific French wine. The wines come from the South of France. Chardonnay was the top white boxed wine from Forbes. French Rabbit is also included in Paste Magazine's list of best box wines.
- Chardonnay: Comes from the Limoux region in the Languedoc; hints of peach, lemon and honey on the nose; citrus and apricots on the palate
- Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir grapes come from the Limoux region in the Languedoc; dark cherry and fresh red berries on the nose; ripe red fruits on the palate
Check Wine Web for places that carry French Rabbit wines.
Black Box Wines
Constellation Brands is the mastermind behind Black Box wines. According to Paste Magazine, the boxed wines have won numerous awards, including 48 Gold Medals and 27 "Best Buys" from Wine Enthusiast. Oprah's website calls out the Sauvignon Blanc, and Black Box as a whole was noted in Wine Spectator as well. Grapes come from prestigious wine regions in California, Chile, and Argentina. Some of Black Box's best wines to try include:
- Chardonnay: Grapes from Monterey County; citrus and pineapple on the nose; tropical mango and green apple on the palate
- Sauvignon Blanc: From Chile's Valle Central, the Sauvignon Blanc has stone fruit aromas with peaches and floral notes on the palate
- Pinot Noir: Black Box's Pinot Noir comes from California; aromas of strawberry, cherry, and rose petal; fresh berry and coca flavors
- Cabernet Sauvignon: From Valle Central in Chile; aromas of black currants, hints of mocha, and toasty oak; flavors of black cherry and chocolate, smooth tannins
Use the store locator for Black Box Wines to learn where to purchase them.
Benefits of Boxed Wine
If you're still struggling with the idea of boxed wine, consider some of the interesting benefits that might help sway you to give them a chance. Wine boxes are light and recyclable, and won't break when accidentally dropped. Companies are working to make packaging even more eco-friendly, reducing their carbon footprint. And, one of the biggest benefits of boxed wine is its ability to keep open for a much longer period than an open bottle. In many cases, boxed wines can last up to four to six weeks after opening.