The Search for the Best Boxed Wine: Week 10

The Back Story:

Ladies and gentlemen, the first iteration of the Search for the Best Boxed Wine has come to an end. After this boxed wine is exhausted, we will take a hiatus to allow the boxed wine market to change and develop. Once the 2009s are in full swing, we’ll revisit the experiment. Until then, I’ll continue to monitor these boxed wines, and I’ll create a full wrap-up post at the end of June. I appreciate you guys sticking through with this, giving me your attention, and not mocking me too much as I binged on mediocre juice. Hopefully we’ve at least been able to change a few minds about the economic viability of serving wine in bag-in-boxes.

I was hoping to end the first 10 weeks with a really kick-ass boxed wine, one that would put all the others to shame. We head to the unplumbed depths of the “award winning” 2009 Angel Juice Pinot Grigio in search of untold beauty wrapped in PET and cardboard.

(Disclosure, I snort-laughed when I noticed the “Outstanding Value” label on the box.)

The Results:
The appearance of the wine is a slightly pale straw, and it appears to have a medium viscosity.

The nose of the wine is very sweet and ripe, with tropical notes, melon, and citrus. Alcohol is detectable but not particularly hot at 12.5%.

The mouth feel of the wine is medium-bodied, a bit creamy, but it has a dead-weight kind of feel to it. Not a whole lot of activity.

The flavor of the wine is surprisingly bland. There’s a bit of honeydew melon and lime, but that’s basically it. Finish consists of, as far as I can tell, some sort of tropical fruit, possibly ripe banana. It’s difficult to tell because the balance is a bit off… you can taste the acidity on the finish. Alcohol is pretty well balanced, at least at around 50 degrees. As soon as the wine warmed up a bit, the flavor actually got a little bit more open. Apple became detectable, even prominent, and the citrus and melon flavors matched the acidity even better.

For the Casual Drinker:

It’s difficult to entirely recommend this wine. Pinot Grigio isn’t known for having an aggressive flavor, but that’s exactly what this wine needs in order to counteract the acidity and alcohol. As such, you’re getting a good, pleasant flavor, but it’s tempered by the imbalance. The acidity is definitely a heartburn risk and it’s a bit temperature sensitive, so don’t serve it too cold or the flavors will be too subdued. The flavor’s not opening up any in the glass.

The Conclusion:

At $20.00, or $5.00 per bottle, it’s certainly filling its niche as a bargain wine. It’s not inherently bad, just a bit flawed, but at that price, it’s perfectly fine. 5/10.

Current Line-Up:

Angel Juice Pinot Grigio 2009

  • Week 0 – Decent Pinot Grigio flavor, slight imbalance, opens up as it warms.

Bodegas Osbourne Seven NV

  • Week 0 – 6/10 – Red-fruit, spicy, slightly earthy. Bit imbalance in the alcohol. Very smooth and well-rounded.
  • Week 1 – 6/10 – Still a great flavor and a good balance. Still a pleasant tannic character.

Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc 2009

  • Week 0 – 6/10 – Tropical, citrus, herbal flavors and nose. Slightly imbalanced acidity and alcohol.
  • Week 1 – 6/10 – Very similar to last week. Possibly I forgot to flesh this out last week :-). It’s still great.
  • Week 2 – 6/10 – Very good flavor, balance is maybe a little bit more off.

Double Dog Dare Chardonnay, California NV

  • Week 0 – 3/10 – Very off-putting nose, dull, listless color, rough mouth feel, apple and oak flavor, imbalanced acidity.
  • Week 1 – 2/10 – Flavor and balance have taken a dive. The chemical from the nose is noticeable on the flavor
  • Week 2 – 2/10 – Consistent from the last week. Weak flavor and nose, imbalance.
  • Week 3 – 2/10 – Still doing what it does. It’s imbalanced, chemically, but still clinging to its flavor.

Big House Red, California 2008

  • Week 0 – 7/10 – Lean, light texture, floral and red-fruit flavors, good balance, slightly hot nose, medium finish
  • Week 1 – 6/10 – Flavor has deteriorated a bit, and there’s a harshness that I possibly didn’t detect before
  • Week 2 – 5/10 – Harshness has intensified. The flavors are still good, just slowly fading.
  • Week 3 – 4/10 – Alcohol is detectable in the mouthfeel, finish, and nose. Flavor is a bit rougher.
  • Week 4 – 3/10 – Odd cigarette flavor and scent now… this wine is not lasting well at all.

Retired Line-up:

Pinot Evil Pinot Noir NV

  • Week 0 – 5/10 – Slightly imbalanced acidity, balanced alcohol, earthy nose, red fruit flavor, short finish, slight metallic undertaste.
  • Week 1 – 5/10 – Still as fresh as when it was opened. Similar earthiness, red fruits, short finish, slightly imbalanced acidity.
  • Week 2 – 5/10 – Still tasting pretty fresh. Still balanced. Flavor tastes on par with previous tastings.
  • Week 3 – 4/10 – Flavor is beginning to diminish, causing the alcohol flavor and metallic taste to come through more.
  • Week 4 – 4/10 – Holding steady from last week. Still a slightly off flavor, but it hasn’t diminished since.
  • Week 5 – 4/10 – Nose is a bit more harsh. Cherry flavor is strangely more prominent.
  • Average score: 4.5/10. Length of stay = 5 weeks. Final score is 5/10. I would completely recommend this wine as a stalwart backup for any occasion as well as a decent sipper on its on right.

Monthaven Central Coast Chardonnay 2008

  • Week 0 – 5/10 – Imbalanced (high) acidity, balanced alcohol, apple, tropical, oaky flavors and nose, medium-bodied, way too bitter finish.
  • Week 1 – 5/10 – Similar balance in acidity and alcohol, similar flavors and nose, similar bitter finish
  • Week 2 – 5/10 – Starting to taste a bit more imbalanced, flavors and nose have faded slightly, finish is less bitter
  • Week 3 – 4/10 – Odd caramel scent on the nose. Flavor has deteriorated and the balance is still off.
  • Week 4 – 3/10 – Flavor has deteriorated further. Alcohol flavor is starting to take a prominent feature.
  • Week 5 – 3/10 – Held steady for the final week. Still drinkable, and the flavor’s still partially there.
  • Average score: 4.2/10. Length of stay = 5 weeks. Final score is 5/10. Though it didn’t finish strongly, this boxed wine is good for a few weeks of very tasty drinking.

Wine Cube California Vintner’s Red Blend 2008

  • Week 0 – 3/10 – Weak structure, heavy oak nose, red-fruit profile, heavy vanilla oak flavor, light-bodied, very short finish.
  • Week 1 – 3/10 – Exactly the same as before. Somehow, and I don’t know how, this sweet vanilla red wine manages to be drinkable.
  • Week 2 – 3/10 – Nose is a little bit off, but the flavor is still the same as before.
  • Week 3 – 3/10 – Same flavor, just a bit weaker. Odd buttered popcorn scent on the nose now.
  • Week 4 – 3/10 – Alcohol is becoming prominent on the nose and flavor. Other than that, it’s holding up well
  • Week 5 – 1/10 – Became much harsher, flavor took a nose-dive. It’s about time… it’s time to retire.
  • Average score: 2.7/10. Length of stay = 5 weeks. Final score is 3/10. I really didn’t want to like this wine, but it held up extremely well after being opened. Too bad it simply wasn’t well made.

Bota Box Shiraz California 2006

  • Week 0 – 3/10 – Imbalanced (high) acidity, imbalanced (high) alcohol, smooth texture, black fruits, very hot nose
  • Week 1 – 3/10 – Imbalanced acidity and alcohol, smooth texture, no loss in flavor, hot nose, maybe a bit more bitter finish
  • Week 2 – 3/10 – Still imbalanced, same texture, flavor, and nose. Holding its meager flavor well.
  • Week 3 – 3/10 – There’s something a little off on the flavor, but it’s not enough to drop the score. Still mostly the same.
  • Week 4 – 2/10 – Tastes very soft now, like the structure is beginning to deteriorate. Weak flavor, alcohol is strangely no longer prominent in the flavor
  • Week 5 – 2/10 – The flavor profile is very different. Very soft, very meek, hardly representative of the big fruit that preceded it.
  • Average score: 2.6/10. Length of stay = 5 weeks. Final score is 3/10. Had a pretty decent stay, though it came from humble beginnings. If nothing else, you’ve got over a month to drink it.

Black Box Chardonnay Monterey 2008

  • Week 0 – 4/10 – Imbalanced (high) acidity, balanced alcohol, briny, weak texture, slightly sour, fruit-forward, weak nose
  • Week 1 – 3/10 – Lost nothing on the nose, lost some flavor, still very imbalanced acidity, similar mouth feel, texture, increased sourness
  • Week 2 – 2/10 – Nose and flavor are starting to get musty, still overly acidic, beginning to taste flat, metallic, alcohol flavor still balanced
  • Week 3 – 1/10 – Nose and flavor lost distinguishing characteristics. Taste mostly of acid and alcohol. Flavor is officially wince-inducing. Consider this guy retired.
  • Average score: 2.5/10. Length of stay = 3 weeks. Final score is 2/10. Started off all right, but deteriorated too quickly to make it a contender for the best boxed wine.

Washington Hills Merlot NV

  • Week 0 – 3/10 – Imbalanced (high) alcohol, decent acidity, red fruit, blueberry, oaky flavors and nose, short finish.
  • Week 1 – 3/10 – Still hot on the tongue, balanced acidity, flavors are all holding true. Nose hasn’t changed.
  • Week 2 – 3/10 – Nose and flavor are still the same, mediocre but not any worse.
  • Week 3 – 2/10 – A slightly unusual, chemical flavor is starting to come forward. It’s really affecting the flavor.
  • Week 4 – 0/10 – Nose consists entirely of alcohol now. Flavor is unrecognizable. This guy is retired.
  • Average score: 2.2/10. Length of stay = 4 weeks. Final score is 1/10. Started poorly, and the wine was essentially undrinkable after 3 weeks. Not a good trait in a boxed wine.
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2 Responses to “The Search for the Best Boxed Wine: Week 10”

  1. Catherine M Says:

    So, if the search for the best boxed wine is over – who won? Inquiring minds want to know :)

    • wineaccguy Says:

      Once all of the boxed wines have reached their 5 weeks, the results will be released. That’s 5 weeks from now, unless this one I just reviewed goes sour early.

      If you’re looking for a frontrunner, my money’s on Seven’s Spanish Blend or Pinot Evil’s Pinot Noir for the red and Silver Birch’s Sauvignon Blanc for the white.

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