wine in a boîte…

wine has been around for millenia. it’s arguable whether wine or beer was the first alcoholic beverage – but both predate Pepsi and Coke by a fair margin. “good” wine has been bottled in specific ways for almost as long; not always the same specific ways, but purists have long insisted wine should be bottled, and bottled correctly.

however, sometime after the invention of cardboard and plastic bags, wine in a box appeared. this innovation was scientifically superior to traditional methods (or so the scientists assured us), but couldn’t change the fact that the product most often in these superior packages was swill. foul, nasty, pink swill often enough.

so i’ve long been unwilling to drink boxed wine. heck, i don’t even like wine to be bottled with artificial corks. but i was wandering through Target the other day, and noticed they have their own brand of boxed wine.

“interesting,” i thought. “maybe this stuff isn’t as bad as what i’ve had in the past. after all, it at least has actual varietals listed on the packaging instead of just colours.”

so, curiosity being one of my persistent failings, i bought a box. or, more accurately, four boxes.

what i purchased was a four-pack of 250 ml single serving boxlets. (or “wine grenades,” as i’ve been calling them to myself) i, being an inveterate red wine drinker, chose the cab/shiraz blend (50%/50%, how even!) and found it to be not entirely undrinkable. plus, it was cheap: $7 or so for the four pack, including tax.

while a specific vinyard wasn’t specified, it was labeled as a 2004 vintage. now, since 2004 is considered by some the best cabernet sauvingon vintage in California since 2001 (not sure that’s a huge deal, personally), perhaps this wine has a little extra going for it. bouquet was faintly fruity, with hints of red berries. flavor was very fruity, with lots of rasberry overtones – even so, the fruit was almost drowned by excessive, almost chemical-flavoured tannins. really, not bad for a cheap table wine. for wine in a box? outstanding.

this is not to say i am recommending Target’s new wine offerings – i’ve only had one of the four “flavours” they offer in the single-serving packs, and none of the others. but i was impressed by my minor sampling. it certainly beats the holy heck out of Franzia.

never buy it again, though. what would i do with my corkscrew collection, and where’s the romance in peeling a shiny foil tab off what looks like a mutant juice box, anyway?

quote of the day:

“He who loves not wine, women and song remains a fool his whole life long.” – Martin Luther


3 Responses to “wine in a boîte…”

  1. Stewart Says:

    …so, while we understand that 2004 is considered by some the best cabernet sauvingon vintage in California since 2001, was it actually from California?

    “Real emetic fans will also go for a Hobart Muddy, and a prize winning Cuvee Reserve Château Bottled Nuits San Wogga Wogga, which has a bouquet like an aborigine’s armpit.”

  2. Fly by Night Sailor Says:

    Actually, the Target Wine Cube is from Trinchero Family Estates in Napa. They have five vineyards in the area, and I’m sure one or more of them must be the source of the Wine Cube wines. Some of it has been very good. There is variability between vintages. Andrea Immer (master sommelier) has worked with Target on these wines. Maybe they just keep improving. Carol Emert at the SF Chronicle found the ’02 selections disappointing, but found three of the ’03s very good, including the cab/shiraz. I haven’t had the ’04. Sounds worth looking for. I think I need to find a bigger Target store than we have here.
    Fly by Night

  3. jhota Says:

    yeah, i’d recommend the ’04 cab/shiraz as a nice table wine to anybody. particularly at its price point.

    i was not impressed at all with the merlot, though.

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