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Putting Black Box Wine To The Taste Test

By Erika Kubick in Food on Jul 22, 2014 8:40PM

2014_07_22_blackbox2.jpg Boxed wines are stigmatized as poor quality college-chuggers, but we all know you can’t judge a book by its cover, or a wine by its packaging. Despite their questionable reputation, boxed wines offer an array of advantages over their bottled counterpart and, frankly, Black Box is actually distributing some prime sippers.

I usually can’t keep a bottle of red open longer than a couple of days and am forced to either drink more than I should in one sitting or trash the rest and cry over the waste. But there are days when I want to feel like a mature adult and experience the benefits of one glass of wine with dinner, and I know I’m not alone on that one. Black Box wines are stored in polythene plastic, a safe, non-toxic plastic that does not affect the taste of the wine and keeps your wine fresh up to a month. The bag in a box packaging also prevents against wine flaws, like corkage and oxidization, though they also will not age and are meant to be drunk within 6-8 months of purchase.

Because the entire packaging is recyclable, boxed wine is more environmentally friendly than the bottled kind. Of course, wine bottles are also recyclable, but the 3-liter boxes contains the equivalent of four 750ml wine bottles, 85 percent less packaging waste with half the carbon footprint. The box is also lightweight, portable and safe for outdoor drinking. The value is also an upside, with a single 3-liter box (four 750 ml bottles) coming in between $23 - $25.

The facts are convincing, but the most important factor is how the wines actually taste. Black Box has 10 varietals available. I was sent samples of a red and a white—the Sauvignon blanc and pinot noir, both classic and weather appropriate. The Sauvignon blanc is aged in stainless steel from Valle Central in Chile. It’s a simple, refreshing white, featuring zippy lemon, sweet honeydew and a nice floral note, a nice accompaniment to fresh summer salads and seafood. The California pinot, a blend of pinot noir, syrah and dry red, boasts tart cherry balanced with a gentle spice and a touch of oaky vanilla—it’s a good date for your daily wedge of cheese or with a ham and gruy√®re sandwich. I tasted these wines the day I opened them, then several times a week for one month. I’m happy to report that, four weeks after my first glass, the wines tasted virtually the same. Naturally neither wine was ground breaking, but for your every day glass they’re quite respectable.

Black Box Wines have been awarded 24 Gold Medals from wine competitions all over the world and 27 “Best Buy” designations from Wine Enthusiast Magazine. They’ve opened up my eyes to what a box of wine can be and I hope they set a standard of quality, value and environmentally conscious practices for others to follow. In addition to Black Box wines, I recommend trying other brands as well including Fish Eye and Banrock Station. You can find these wines at Binny’s, Jewel-Osco, and Mariano’s Fresh Market. As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments section.