Last week for the first time in my life, I stopped in front of the wine box area of my local supermarket. I was on an important mission: I had to find a wine in a box for our coming Wine Blogging Wednesday. This month, the most famous wine blogging event is hosted by Box Wines and of course, the theme is Box Wines & Non-Traditional Packaging.
The first wine I tried was the 2004 Three Thieves Bandit Pinot Grigio sold in a one-liter Tetra-pack for $7. “We stole money from the bottle and gave it to the wine” claims the producer Three Thieves on the box. According to the winemaking notes, the wine is a California blend of 80% Pinot Grigio, 12% Sauvignon Blanc, 4% Chenin Blanc, 4% Muscat. It was cold-fermented at 50F in stainless steel to retain the fresh, fruity aromas of fermentation and was not permitted to undergo a secondary malolactic fermentation to ensure crisp acidity.
The big surprise was that the wine was actually very pleasant. It had a very pale yellow color and a subtle nose of honeyed pear. On the palate, it was dry and crisp with a creamy mouthfeel and an aftertaste of apple. Transfer the wine into a regular glass bottle and serve it to your friends on a warm summer day: they will love it!
I also tried a red wine from South Eastern Australia, the 2005 Hardy's Stamp of Australia Cabernet Sauvignon, sold in 3-liter box for $16. In Australia, this kind of wine is pretty common as more than 50 percent of all wine consumed in the country is from boxes.
The bag-in-the-box system was actually created 40 years ago by the Scholle Corp. There is a vacuum-sealed plastic bag inside the cardboard box that keeps the wine in a sterile environment. As wine is poured from the tap, the bag collapses, blocking air from reaching the wine and preventing oxidation. However, the wine should be consumed within a month after opening.
So I poured the wine from the tab. It had a dark red/purple color, a heady nose of sweet black berries, a soft and full texture and a finish of ripe fruit and licorice. Although not the most exciting wine, it is a solid everyday drinking wine. But 3 liters is a lot; I may use some of it in the coming days in a beef stew.
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