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Posts Tagged ‘Boxed Wine’

25 Days of Christmas: Day 5

SIMMA DOWN NA!  Even though I’ve been guzzling down and raving about good and cheap white wine on  Day 2 and Day 4, don’t think that I’ve forgotten about you bargain-hunting red wine lovers .

As you begin wrapping those gifts, chowing down on hot pizza pies and MF-ing yourself for cutting the paper too short, the 2010 Maipe Malbec from Argentina is a cheap and tasty red that’ll ease your pain.

This affordable, everyday Malbec packs a nice spicy punch of plum, fig, strawberry, mint and black pepper. Delish with pizza!

I don’t know about you, but wrapping gifts while inhaling a large pepperoni, sausage and mushroom pizza requires a whole lot more than a 750 ml bottle.  Guess what?!  The 2010 Maipe Malbec from Argentina can be Super-Sized, too!  :) So it’s there for you whether you want a little or a lot!

The 750 ml bottle will set you back around $10 and the 3L box is less than $30, in most parts of the United States.

Happy wrapping!

25 Days of Christmas: Day 4

Well I’m officially into holiday gift-buying mode.  My first stop and purchase was at the world famous Golden Arches, McDonalds, of all places!  If you’ve got young kids like us, ‘nuff said.

So, I was at said McDonalds for one very important holiday purchase – the magnificent Holiday Coupon Book that I remembered receiving as a stocking stuffer on Christmas morning when I was a kid.  You know – that magical book of golden McTickets that opens a young child’s bright and gleaming eyes on Christmas morning as they envision McNuggets, McFries, McCheeseburgers and McMint flavored, green-dyed vanilla milkshakes all doing the “Mcarena” together.

Where has this storied Holiday Coupon Book, offering endless fast-food ecstasy, gone? 

I went up to the counter and asked the nice young man behind the cash register for two Holiday Coupon Books and he said to me, “I’m sorry sir, but we don’t sell them.  We only carry gift cards.”  Oh well…I’m sure my sons will still love their McCredit cards when they look into their stockings on Christmas morning.

Which leads me to a cheap and tasty adult stocking stuffer…and if you ask nicely, I’ll Super-Size it for you, too!  :)

As we all now, France produces gallons upon gallons of terrific and consistently good juice.  But let’s face it – many times the good stuff goes well beyond the price of an affordable Happy Meal.  Here’s one French white that falls into the category of One of the World’s Greatest Wine Values, and it can even be Super-Sized if you’d like!

Day #4 sings the praises of the 2010 Cave de Pomérols, Picpoul de Pinet, HBFor around 10 bucks a bottle, this 100% Picpoul (aka Folle Blanche) will give you a lot to cheer about. Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of Picpoul de Pinet:  it remains a foreign name to most American consumers.  (That’s probably why it’s still so damn cheap!)  This white wine offers pinpoint acidity derived from a shot of grapefruit, lime and pineapple with a honey-suckle finish.  It’s crisp and versatile and a great affordable choice for upcoming holiday gatherings and stocking stuffing.

If you’re looking for more fun, consider Super–Sizing your Folle Blanche to the 2010 Cave de Pomérols, Picpoul de Pinet, La Petite Frog, Bag in Box 3 liters.  Why pay 40 bucks for 4 bottles when you can get the same primo juice in this cute “petite” box for less than $30?  Trust me (and the box :) ) everyone will love it!

What’s Up, Doc? It’s Wabbit Season!

When it comes to hitting the bull’s-eye in the wine world, you’ve got to have the precision of a marksman.  In the box wine segment, few can compete with Octavin’s locked and loaded lineup:  they’ve been hitting the mark time and time again.  I’ve had the pleasure of trying many of the Octavin wines, and recently sampled the company’s newest addition:  the 2009 Rudolf Müller Riesling, a.k.a. “The Bunny Wine,” from Germany.

The 2009 Rudolf Müller Riesling, produced from grapes grown in the Landwein Rhine region of Germany, showcases a refreshing peachy-apricot flavor with a hint of minerality on its soft, fruity finish. For what works out to be about $5.00 per 750ml, this slightly sweet Riesling should hit the mark with wine drinkers who prefer sweeter wines over traditional drier-style white wines.

3 Stars out of 4 for the 2009 Rudolf Müller ‘Medium Sweet’ Riesling.  For me, it was a tad too sweet to drink in the evening, but as a low-alcohol afternoon sipper, I’d spare Bugs and Daffy and happily pair it with a Caesar salad or curry chicken salad.




Bottle Shock: 2010 was the Year of the Box!

A few weeks ago, I was asked by Spark Magazine to provide some advice for wine consumers based on my experiences in 2010.  My response was:

“If I could offer consumers one piece of advice that I learned in 2010, it would have to be: don’t judge a wine by its package.  I’ve had several terrific box wine experiences in 2010 – I hope to see this category continue to grow and that consumers give them a try.”

Now I’m sure that some of you that are reading this may have just spit out your wine in laughter or think that I was completely hammered when I made this statement.  However, I assure you that I was not inebriated…so get a napkin and wipe your chin!

In 2010, more than just a few boxed wines were damn fine, and actually earned the right to put the words “Premium Wine” on its cardboard outer shell.  Don’t get me wrong – there’s still plenty of undrinkable plonk on the shelf that deserves to be put in a time machine and dropped back into the 70’s with plaid bellbottoms and polyester suits, with no hope for return.  However, the wine industry is moving in the right direction by offering several boxed wines that taste good and are affordable to the masses.  That is something definitely worth cheering about!  So here are my picks for the best boxed wines of 2010:

Best All-Around Boxed White Wine

Winner:  La Petite Frog, Picpoul de Pinet, 3L box. It’s a box full of 100% Picpoul, otherwise known as Folle Blanche.  It has terrific acidity, supported by grapefruit and a zest of lime.  This wine is superb alone or with chicken, fish, Mediterranean foods, salads and even Tex-Mex; and the best part – it costs less than $30 for the equivalent of 4 standard bottles of wine.

Honorable Mentions:   The Octavin Home Wine Bar line-up.  Octavin has completely elevated the box wine category to a whole new level with Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand), Big House White (California), and Monthaven Chardonnay (California).  These wines are all crowd-pleasers and CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP!

Best All-Around Boxed Red Wine

WinnerBig House Red (3L Box).  This past week, I had several folks taste a bar-length table full of boxes filled with red wine, and the Big House Red garnered the most compliments and universal approvals among these tasters. 

Some comments from them were: 

“A lot going on the front, middle and finish.”
“This is a nicely put together New-World style wine.”
“It’s very pretty.”
“Complex, yet very easy drinkin’.”
“Tastes like you’re trying something new.  It expands your palate without being intimidating.”

I sum up the Big House Red, as being a killer value-red for under 20 bucks that pairs well with just about anything.  It’s a very food-friendly red wine.

Honorable Mentions:  My little tasting group also had lots of nice things to say about the French, terroir-driven La Vieille Ferme (3L Box) Rhone blend.  Tasters remarked of its “Good Character,” that “Everything is in balance”, and it had “Nice layers of flavors.”

Finally, California’s popular Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon (3L Box) made a lasting impression on our tasters as well with its “Brawny,” “Big,” and “Meaty” black-cherry and vanilla-spice flavors.

All in all, I’d love for more wineries give the box a shot and see more wine drinkers try these box wines with a fresh and open mind. Still can’t get past the box – especially when entertaining?  Try pouring the wine into one of your fancy decanters and hide the box in a cabinet!

Very special thanks to my friends at Branmar Wine and Spirits for agreeing to an impromptu tasting and for helping me to power through the boxes of red! :)

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