Cheap wines again - need box wine for picnic

cecilia_md7a(7a/Baltimore,MD)August 1, 2006

This post is related to the cheap wines thread that I started a few months ago. I am involved in organizing the first annual Mid-Atlantic Gardeners' Tomato Appreciation Gathering (or MAGTAG - see the Mid Atlantic Gardening forum)scheduled for Aug. 26 in Baltimore. Beer and wine are allowed in the park pavilion that we're renting for the occasion, so I would like to supply some inexpensive but good wine. I've heard that you can get decent-tasting box wines these days - Aussie reds, for example - and would appreciate any recommendations that you all might have.

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Above and below contain both reviews and recommendations for boxed wines. Consensus: it ain't ALL bad!

Personally I haven't had any in years but it's the wine not the packaging that matters. Screw caps are losing their negative stigma among savvy wine drinkers, why not a box. Since the bag inside collapses as the wine is consumed, there is less opportunity for oxidation, therefore the remaining wine still taste decent the next day or so.

Here is a link that might be useful: Reviews of box wines.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 11:52AM
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It ain't all bad, but none of it is actually good yet, at least those I have tried. Hardy's, Jacob's Creek, and a few others from Australia make box wine that is drinkable, but not yet "good", although I suppose it is only a matter of time before they are putting even better juice in the boxes. Personally, I think it's a grea idea, but the market is not going to accept good wine in bags for a few years yet, so it is only the cheapest stuff that is going in. The wines from California mentioned in the link are really not worth drinking. At least not if you like wine.

Dont' know how much you want to spend, but you can get really nice rose for under $10 a bottle, and really nice whites for the same. Some wonderful roses are available right now for $5 - $10. In fact, they may represent some of the best bargains out.

For whites, New Zealand sauvignon blancs tend to be safe - maybe not exceptional but it is hard to find a really bad one. Also look at the big producers in Washington - the Chateau St. Michelle group that includes Columbia Crest and Villa Mt Eden. They make rieslings and chardonnays that are around $6 a bottle and astoundingly good for the prices. Even the Germans have a few rieslings at the QBA level that are worth looking at for under $10.

For reds, you might want to look at some Argentine wines - the offerings from Altos las Hormigas, Norton, Dona Paula and others for example, are often as low as $6-$7 and really good. Spain has a lot of under $10 wines - Tres Picos (drinks like a MUCH more expensive Chateauneuf du Pape), Pannaroz, Las Rocas, and others are nice, as well as many from Australia, including the lower end offerings of Hardy's, Wishing Tree, Paringa, and others.

Unfortunately, the cheaper California offerings are of lower quality, although if you stay away from Napa and Sonoma, your price/quality ratio improves. Fess Parker is making some nice wines in Santa Barbara. They have pictures of him as Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett on the labels but the wine itself is made by his son and is not bad. Joel Gott has a zin called Three Thieves - his family has been in the wine business forever and he has contacts for good fruit. The wine comes in a little jug but it's a decent buy, not great.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 3:48PM
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Thanks, barnmom and rosesinny.

I found an article on this very subject in Slate Magazine - rosesinny, it even mentions Three Thieves. I'll have to see if that brand is available around here.

Here is a link that might be useful: Can good wine come in a box?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 2:46PM
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