TGTaste #2: Boxes, and Red Wine in the Summer


This month, I was thrilled to be invited to participate in Thirty Girl’s #TGTaste Twitter event. The chat highlights specific producers each month, and tasters from every walk of the wine world comment on the juice, its makers, and what (or who) they’re pairing with the wine. For July, the chatter will be centering on Black Box California Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

My last tasting was a bit of a wild party, so for the Black Box event I drank alone  kept things simpler with a quiet dinner at home. I discovered Black Box wines a few months ago, and had enjoyed their Merlot here, so I focused on the cabernet.

I should mention right away I’m a huge fan of the box–wine lasts longer, takes less packaging, and can go on adventures where glass can’t (can you tell I drop things often?). I’ve tasted some Black Box wines in the past, but hadn’t had Cabernet Sauvignon I experimented with in anticpation of next week’s event.

When I first twisted the caps off these boxes, I’ll admit I wasn’t impressed.

Then, I remembered: “room temperature” in regard to wine doesn’t mean “let the reds sit out in your 85 degree kitchen before opening them.” In short, hot red wine tastes awful. (Imagine expecting juicy, lush wine and instead getting overly alcholic, flavorless plonk–yeah, you’ve been there.)

Alas, if you don’t have a fancy wine fridge or cellar there is a solution. It’s called a refrigerator–and yes, it’s OK to put red wine in there. Toss the bottles (or boxes) in for 30-60 minutes before serving, and Ta-Dahhh! the flavors the winemaker intended can pop right back up. If you think the wines have gotten a bit too cold (average fridge temperatures range from 35-38 degrees) just hold the glass in your hands for a few minutes.

Following my refrigeration experiments with the Black Box(es), I was much happier with the wines! I could suddenly understand why the label included the phrase “lingering notes of berry.” This California juice certainly had strawberry and blackberry flavors, though the finish was more tart than I would have liked. (Something to inquire about with other Thirsty Girls and Black Box afficiandos next week!)

Alongside a simple burger and some grilled veggies, this $3.95 Tetra Pak didn’t disappoint. It was simple, and didn’t blow my mind, but for a quiet Tuesday night it certainly did the trick.

Black Box Uncorked:

Laura Loves: Taking small boxes of wines on kayak and canoe adventures–tie them to a string so they can chill in the water as you paddle!

Interacting with the hashtag “#TGTaste” on Twitter with other Thirsty Girls. Join in next Wednesday, July 18 from 8pm EDT!

This Forbes article on finding value in boxed wine, and with other splurges.

Fun Facts:Bag-in-a-box style wines were originally invented in Australia.

To save shipping costs, many producers now ship wine in gigantic (read: 20,000 liter) bags, not unlike those inside your favorite boxed wine.

Black Box was the first producer to create vintage-dated boxed wines.

If you like Black Box: Try Bandit or Gato Negro boxed varieties. My favorites are Bandit Chardonnay and Gato Negro Malbec or Merlot, all of which are about $10.

  • July 11, 2012
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