I like red wines infrequently, they’re a little heavy for me. They just feel dense and I can’t drink them very quickly. But if I’m catering to a friend or guest who loves red, I have a few favorites. And because I’m catering to someone else’s (less superior) tastes, I won’t spend more than $10 on a bottle of red wine – so like $25 for a box. I get a lot of flack from bottle-snobs, but I neither see nor taste any convincing reason to believe that wine from a bottle is inherently better than wine from a box.

  • Bandit makes different sizes of their wine juice boxes and they produce pinot grigio, chardonnay, merlot, cabernets and a red blend – all made in sunny California. Their cabernet sauvignon tastes like berries and wood and I usually offer it to people to accompany red meat. The merlot has a much more powerful taste, I can barely swallow it. And the red blend is the fruitiest of the three – so it’s the one I’ll choke down when/if I have to!
  • Big House is another good California wine that sells its wine in boxes. They make a Pinot Noir that I tried at my friend Sharon’s place once. It has a real cherry finish – it’s almost like drinking alcoholly juice!
  • Black Box – also of California – makes a super flavorful Shiraz. It’s like cherry and currants and vanilla and wood – a perfect complement to a filet mignon.

Next time you’re picking things up at Trader Joe’s, take a swing through their wine aisle. They carry some of my favorite boxed wines and their sales associates are quick with a recommendation. They also have taste tests every few days so you’re not tricked into buying something that they tell you will taste chocolatey and then you get it home and it tastes toxic.

On the radio show this morning they were begrudgingly praising boxed wines for things like environmental considerations, packaging benefits to the wine, and ease of transport. They made all of these observations with a complete sense of “slumming it.”

Don’t let the mainstream media convince you that wine in a box is somehow of less class than a bottle of wine. The different is minutia. And if you’re really concerned about serving wine out of a box at a gathering, make a stop at the local Good Will or Salvation Army and buy a carafe. Serving wine out of a carafe is a little silly and only seems classy because of the vaguely European vibe of it, but if you’re concerned bout it – here’s an option.