The declassé and the classay

Last Saturday I had a friend over for drinks, and I bust out the 2014 William Heritage Estate Reserve Chardonnay. It was gorgeous, stately, great structure and a still exuberant floral palate. But I’ve talked about chardonnay plenty lately, and we all know my buds at William Heritage.


So let’s chill out a little.


Let’s unpack boxed wine.


I had a yen for Trader Joe’s and you know they’re one of the best destinations for cheap and cheerful wine. I decided to turn my critical eye towards one of their boxed wines, Block Red Australian Shiraz.


This chunky cardboard box is just $12.99 and contains 3 liters. The normal wine bottle is 750ml, so for you math fiends out there, that means this is four bottles’ worth of wine for about $3.25 per bottle. Which is actually a slight step above their normal Three Buck Chuck, so hey!


Boxed wine has a bad rap. I get that. Extremely cheap wines took over the format and ran it into the ground. Which is a shame because in these days of looking for value and impact on the environment, the box has a lot of upsides. The nice even shape makes shipping cheaper and easier, as well as less weight and less extra packaging. More importantly, the plastic bag inside cuts the amount of air that gets to the wine, and as we all know, oxidation is the enemy of an open bottle. It won’t last forever, but the box states that the wine should be good for at least 45 days from opening. And I can guarantee you as someone who’s had a lot of half-opened bottles laying around for a while, six weeks plus is pretty amazing.


The instructions on the box are pretty simple. Just press around with your thumbs to find the perforations. While I can attest that the spout is easy to open when you’re on your third glass (or Solo cup), folks with limited mobility in their fingers might find it challenging.


If you’re driving to the beach or a friend’s house, the box is the way to go. I still have flashbacks to a road trip I took up to Rhode Island years ago, with a case of wine in the back, and how every bottle.


Rattled.


All.


The Way.


Up. To the ferry.


Remember I want only what’s best for you, and that, comrades, ain’t it.


This Block Red shiraz is a great bullshirting with your BFF on the phone wine. There’s no oak, plenty of bright berry fruit, and would go with pretty much all the foods. Your 4th of July barbecue? Entirely. Burgers, hot dogs, nachos? Yup.


Plunk it down on your counter or table at your weekend festivities, and let folks have at it. Worried about the wine getting too warm? Heck, at this price, get an ice cube tray, freeze some, and put it in an ice bucket to let folks chill their drinks and not dilute it. It’d make a friendly cooking wine too, added to some tomato or barbecue sauce.


There’s lots of great wines out in the world for lots of great situations. Sometimes you’re having tea with the Queen, sometimes you’re setting some tasty things on fire on the grill. Isn’t it nice we can enjoy things that are appropriate and still delicious?


Wishing you a weekend full of delicious things at your preferred price point.

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