Posts Tagged ‘Box of Wine’
Experiment #2 – 1L Tetra Pak (a.k.a. An oversized juice box)
Wines Tasted: 2008 Yellow + Blue Torrontes (white) and the 2007 Yellow & Blue Malbec (red).
Price Paid: $12.50 for each wine
This is my second experiment with trying wines in alternative packaging. Let me start off by saying that if there’s a method of packaging wine that is better for our planet, I’m all for it. I’m sure that all of us would agree that the greenest possible packaging methods should be used. However, I’m still searching for answers to whether or not the wine industry feels that alternative packaging, such as the “bag-in-box” system and/or the “Tetra Pak” system, makes better sense over glass bottles. If it does, then why are so few wineries willing to adopt and promote these more eco-friendly packaging options? If these alternative packaging methods are in fact greener and cheaper for wineries to use over glass bottles, shouldn’t there be more Box Wines and/or Tetra Pak wines on the shelf? My guess is that there are other factors coming into play – maybe impact on taste and freshness of the product? Let’s face it, business is business and most wineries aren’t going to make the leap to this type of packaging without knowing that there is a value proposition as well.
I digress and will continue with my experiment:
On the hunt for “Green” Wines
I took a stroll down the aisle of my local wine store and picked up two Tetra Paks from Yellow + Blue. The white wine was a 2008 Torrontes and the red wine was a 2007 Malbec. Both of these wines were from Argentina, and both wines noted on the eco-friendly container that they were made with organically grown grapes.
So how did they taste?
Well, they weren’t bad, but they weren’t very good either. For all that was said about the packaging being so much cheaper so that “better juice” could go inside, I found both of the Yellow + Blue Wines to be ok at best. The Torrontes white wine was the better of the two wines. It possessed some of the characteristics that I’ve tasted in comparatively priced bottled Torrontes, but this 2008 Yellow+Blue was definitely outmatched by bottled competitors such as Lo Tengo and Alamos. It was very light and kind of watered down. I give the 2008 Yellow + Blue Torrontes a 2 Star rating based on taste alone.
As far as the 2007 Malbec, well let’s just say that it didn’t stack up to some of the bottled Malbecs that I’ve tasted in this same price range this year. In my opinion, there are a lot more bottled Malbecs worth trying over this juice box Malbec in the same price range. I give the 2007 Yellow + Blue Malbec a 2 Star rating based on taste alone as well.
Did these wines stay fresher in a juice box than a bottle?
In my experiment, the Malbec was just about undrinkable on day #2 (it was not pretty) and the Torrontes did manage to hold what it had to offer for about three days. That’s pretty comparable to a leftover bottle of white wine.
So What’s the Verdict?
At the end of the day and this discussion, isn’t wine meant to be drunk? If the wine inside the bag or the adult sized juice box doesn’t taste as good as a comparable priced bottled wine, then that’s where I have to draw the line. I want to be as green as the next guy, but I really want to enjoy what I’m drinking even more! I respect what the folks at Yellow + Blue Wines stand for – “Wines for a Better Planet”, but the wine has to be better in order for me to buy it again. Unfortunately, these two particular wines are outmatched by competing bottled wines in the same price range, and the fact that they didn’t stay fresher any longer than a bottled wine didn’t do much to persuade me to change either.
Below is the link to Yellow+ Blue Wines and another site dedicated to promoting eco-friendly products:
It’s time to share with you the results of my first box wine experiment of 2009. The first specimen in the study of today’s Box Wines is the 2006 Killer Juice Cabernet Sauvignon from California. This wine comes in a very eye-catching “Harley Davidson” looking black box and contains a 3 liter bag of what the producers of this wine claim is “Killer Juice”. I paid $20.99 for this 3 liter bag-in-box wine. For those of us that are a little math-impaired, that works out to be 4 (750ml) bottles of wine, which is equivalent to a little more than $5 a bottle.
The outer shell of the box touts the fact that this wine has won a Gold Medal at the International Wine Competition Critics Challenge in 2007. In addition, the folks at “Killer Juice” say that their bag-in-box “Wine Cask” will keep your “Killer Juice” tasting as fresh as it was on day one (for up to 6 weeks).
So what’s a Wine Cask? A Wine Cask, in this case, is 3 liters of wine filled in an airtight plastic bag with a nifty pouring spout. The advantage of using a wine cask over traditional bottling is that when you open a traditional bottle, air gets inside the bottle and starts to oxidize the wine. Which is just a fancy phrase for any of the “unky’s” – funky, skunky, punky.
So there you have it. We have a specimen that claims to be “Killer Juice”, a great value, has even won a Gold Medal, and claims to stay fresh for up to 6 weeks on your kitchen counter.
The Results of the study:
1.) Is this “Killer Juice”? In our opinion, no, not really. It tasted like black cherry juice for adults. They claim that this Killer Juice contains 13.5% alcohol. I would have never guessed that. Unfortunately, to my taste buds there was nothing killer about this juice box.
2.) Is the 2006 Killer Juice Cabernet Sauvignon a killer value? In my opinion, no. There are some large wineries like Concha y Toro, Lindeman’s, and Columbia Crest, just to name a few, that offer much better “killer juice” in a bottle for about the same price as this box of wine.
3.) Does this Cab merit winning a Gold Medal? Sure, if it was the only box wine entry in its class…or the judges were kindergarteners who confused it with their juice box. I look forward to trying other box wines to see if there are any better tasting ones. But I personally can’t imagine how this wine supposedly won a Gold Medal in any wine tasting competition.
4.) Did this Cab stay “fresh” on my kitchen counter for up to 6 weeks? Yes! The wine cask system worked flawlessly. It’s an amazing alternative to glass bottles that I wish more wineries would utilize.
My Verdict: The 2006 Killer Juice Cabernet Sauvignon was more like “So-So Juice” to me. It really lacked the depth of other bottled value-Cabs that I’ve tried so far this year. I’m not sure on what basis this wine was awarded a Gold Medal. It’s really not that good (believe me). The real test is when you take a drink of an inexpensive Cab from a bottle, then take a sip of this juice. The difference is huge. The Killer Juice doesn’t even come close on taste. I did this little taste comparison for more than 30 days, with the same results just about every time.
But what was fantastic about the Killer Juice Cab was the bag-in-box system. It works exactly as promised. It’s a far superior storage system over traditional glass bottles. I’d like to see more wineries adopt this system so that us wine lovers could enjoy some real “Killer Juice”!
I’ll be trying more boxes throughout the year and give you the skinny on them. This wine merits a 2 star rating. It ain’t awful, but it isn’t very good either.
WineLife365 Rating: 2-Star
I have become increasingly interested in “alternative” wine packaging. I’m sort of curious to try the new box wines that are beginning to show up on the shelves, but I’m afraid to commit to buying a 3 liter box of wine that I might not like. However, moving towards bag-in-box packaging seems to make a lot of sense to me for so many reasons, and it seems odd to me that more wineries are not using the wine bag-in-box packaging for their everyday wines. There appears to be several advantages for wineries, merchants, and consumers to adopt the wine bag-in-box technology over traditional wine packaging.
Several pluses for the wine bag-in-box argument:
- Wine can stay fresh for up to six weeks after opening. So the consumer can pour a fresh glass of wine every time during that time span.
- There appears to be less cost in packaging, shipping, and storage with wine bag-in-box packaging. Rapak, a leading company producing this type of bag-in-box packaging, claims that a 3 liter wine pack is 38% lighter than 4 glass bottles and that it has a 98% filled pallet efficiency which is 40% better than glass bottles.
- Bag-In-Box packaging is easier to open and serve than glass bottles – There are no corks or corkscrews to worry about.
- Bag in a Box packaging is fully recyclable.
- No glass allows you to safely carry your wine anywhere.
- Less breakage and spoilage.
- There are a wide variety of “bag” sizes and Smaller “bags” are available.
I’m sure that for many wineries, changing to this type of packaging may present some challenges. However, from a consumer’s point of view, this packaging would seem to make better sense for us and the environment. So how about it, are you up for a box o’ wine?
I plan on trying some – so I’ll be your guinea pig and share my thoughts. Stay tuned!