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Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Boxed Wine

If you’re my Facebook friend you’ve probably noticed that anytime anyone I’m friends with sees anything wine-related on the internet he or she pastes it to my wall with a ‘This made me think of you.” comment. Someone else might be concerned that everyone thinks she’s an alcoholic, but I choose just to be happy my Facebook friends understand my wants and needs so well. It makes me feel loved, is what I’m saying.

Last week, one of my readers (do you like how I just pretended it was one of my legions of followers and not my sister’s friend/coworker who happens to read my blog?) asked me about boxed wine. She said she was interested. She suggested I write a post about it. And I thought, Damn it, that’s not a bad idea!

I’m an expert in lots of things: making friendship bracelets, talking people into doing stuff with me, having a big mouth, things that are delicious with butter and salt on them, how to make your outfit way cuter with the right necklace or scarf, sweet-talking another agent into trusting me even though he shouldn’t, winning at holiday work parties, I mean lots of really important things. But hello, a completely untapped market in which I am an expert; something the public should truly be educated on, is obviously boxed wine. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it. How could I have kept my genius in this field a secret for so long? It’s really a tragedy.

So the point is, I’m remedying that right now. I’m here today to impart my wisdom about the amazingness that is boxed wine.

First of all, if you’ve never made the foray into boxed wine before, I know what you’re thinking:

We’re not talking the wall of Franzia, here people. There are generally two sections of boxed wine in any grocery or liquor store: the one that consists mostly of white zinfandel or non-specific ‘white wine’ in enormous boxes that look like they were designed by people who still have floral wallpaper in their homes and like it, and a section of slightly more expensive boxed wines with hipper packaging and actual varietals and vintages.

I’m not judging those of you who love your ‘crisp white’ for $5.99 for 3 liters, but just me, personally, I tend to stay away from the former section and gravitate toward the latter. (See how I just made boxed wine into like a snotty elitist thing? That’s how I live with myself when I pour my wine from a spout every night. I only drink the fancy boxed wine, is what I tell myself.)

I’ll drink almost any type of wine handed to me, but if I’m buying for me, I usually stick with the Pinot Grigios, because they are delicious and don’t turn my tongue and teeth purple. I don’t need any more glaring reminders of how much I like to drink; I  already have my Facebook status updates from the night before for that. Thus, here is a rundown of the brands of boxed Pinot Grigio (or the like) I’ve tried and my general thoughts:

Box 1 – Target Cubes

I began my boxed wine journey a few years ago with these adorable Target cubes. They’re actually a really decent value at $18 (which, since each box holds the equivalent of 4 bottles, equates to $4.5/bottle), and I like the taste just fine. It’s not sweet and not too acidic. Also important to note is that the boxes are super cute and the alcoholic content of the wine is a fairly robust 13.5%.

Isn’t it adorable how it says it will stay fresh ‘up to 4 weeks’? Aw, thanks boxed wine people, but it won’t last nearly that long in my fridge. Sweet of you to assume, though.

Box 2 – Big House 

This one violates my ‘it has an actual varietal’ rule a little bit. It’s a white blend. But it’s got super cute packaging and it’s one of my favorites taste-wise. I used to be able to get it at Albertson’s and they still carry the brand, but the one by my house has only been stocking the Chardonnay and the Cabernet Sauvignon lately, so I have to drive over to Total Wine to get the ‘House White’. Luckily, it’s considerably cheaper at Total Wine, so it’s worth the drive. You’ll pay $24/box at the grocery store for this one, but only $16/box at Total Wine. The alcohol content is 13%; which is not too terrible.

Box 3 – Black Box

This one is a brand one of my clients just recently gave me as a thank you gift at her house closing (how nice is that, right?). I hadn’t tried it before (probably because I totally judge books by their covers and the packaging isn’t that cute), but it’s actually really good (that’s really the extent of the sophistication of my palate: good or icky). It can be purchased at most grocery stores (I definitely saw it at Albertson’s) and Total Wine. It’s a pricier $26/box at the grocery store and $19/box at Total Wine. (That means it’s more delicious, right? I’m pretty sure that’s how it works.) The alcohol content is again an acceptable 13%.

Box 4 – Fish Eye

With Fish Eye we head into the low-end side of the fancy boxed wines. The packaging is cute, but even though this box is only $15 in the grocery store, I expected more. It tastes grody, is what I’m saying. I opened it and choked down a glass and a half a couple of weeks ago, but I actually poured out the second half of my second glass. I wasted wine, that’s how bad it is. And I haven’t even gone back to it. PLUS the alcohol content is a pathetic 12%! A Facebook friend suggested I use it to make sangria and I’m thinking that might be the only way to salvage it.

Box 5 – Bota Box

This cutie is my current favorite. It can be purchased at Bashas for around $22/box (or Total Wine for $16). It tastes light and crisp, has 13% alcohol content and I love the box. I’m partial to the color orange. Plus I liked them on Facebook and they have cute social media advertising which totally makes them seem more respectable to me (because I’m a sucker like that).

AND, as a bonus, they have teeny boxed versions that hold three glasses and are perfect for sneaking into movie theaters in your purse:

How fricking adorable is that? Dear Bota Box, I <3 You.

Box(ish) 6 – The Climber

Last, and while maybe not least, definitely down there on the list, is The Climber Chardonnay. I bought this one awhile back because I liked the idea that it’s marketed toward campers. Not that I camp. But if I did, I would totally appreciate having a bag of wine with a handle I could park next to my chair near the fire. Sadly, I hated the taste. It has a sharp aftertaste I did not care for. But, since it only holds two bottles (instead of the normal 4) and the alcohol content is an astounding 14.1%, I managed to get through it without having it go to waste. But I probably wouldn’t buy it again. Unless I was actually going camping.

That’s my experience to date with boxed wine. While I was ‘researching’ and photographing this blog post (yes, this is sometimes what I do with my day) I saw a new pretty box at Total Wine I just couldn’t resist picking up:

So cute, right? I haven’t tried it yet because I still have an open Bota Box AND the gross Fish Eye I can’t make myself finish, so it seemed excessive to open a third box, but I’ll let you know when I do. It was $18 and has a 13% alcohol content, so I have high hopes for it.

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