Are you ready for something a little different… daring… even shocking? Bring out this wine at your next gathering. It’s wine in a box, ‘cept it it’s not in a thin, cheap cardboard box labeled Franzia– it’s literally in a wooden box.
Meet the next wave of boxed wine hoping to capture your attention: ultra premium cask. About a year and a half ago, a import company called Wineberry began approaching French wine producers to see if they’d be willing to try a new approach to packaging wine for the juicy U.S. market. Many laughed like they’d insulted their mother… but a few (possibly) smart ones thought, “What the hell?”
More difficulty awaits at this end. In my opinion, cask wine is the most efficient packaging for everyday wines. But the negative perception seared into the minds of consumers is proving difficult to overcome. Can’t say I blame them — the excruciatingly bad wine found in the trailblazing boxed wines of ‘ole sullied the waters. But the industry isn’t done trying.
This sustainably-farmed French pine box houses a 3-liter (or 4 bottle) bladder that scores high on the Green scale: it eliminates glass usage, reduces shipping costs and provides a longer shelf-life for the wine. Because the wine is siphoned out of the vacuum-sealed pouch without exposing the remaining juice to oxygen, the drink stays fresh up to six weeks.
But what matters most is on the inside, right? Domaine Le Garrigon is a biodynamically-farmed winery (Huh?) that has produced wine in the Rhône region of France since 1919. This mostly grenache-based red sings with the dark fruits of blackberry and plum with a hefty helping of spicy black pepper that makes you take notice. Medium-bodied and earthy with refreshingly balanced acidity, it could pair well with any winter meal you throw at it. Quite delicious, and not just for a boxed wine. Sw=1. 4 stars. Will retail for around $54, which translates to $13.50 per bottle for super high quality vino. Cool.
Sweetness (Sw) rating: 1-10. Star rating: 1-5.
Tampa folks: Buy it locally at Bern’s Fine Wines and Spirits