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Why We Are Fans of Box Wine - and You Should Be Too

Photo Credit: Haarala Hamilton

Photo Credit: Haarala Hamilton

We're fans of practicality as much as we are of convention and tradition when it comes to wine. Our post in support of screwcaps a while back is evidence: we believe technology has its place in the vinousphere. Wine packaged in a box is just another great example.

In addition to sticking with tradition and buying by the bottle, we’re excited about the affordable flexibility box wine offers us – for many an occasion. Here are a few to get you started:


Receptions + Dinner Parties. 

We're starting by giving up one of Rebecca’s hostess secrets: when you need wine for a group, box wine is a great option. A 3L box is equivalent to 5+ bottles of wine. That gives you plenty of bandwidth for your team's festivities.


Workplace Bliss

The development team prefers red wine and sales and marketing prefer rosé or white wines for your Friday wine down. How about one of each? (Try this trick at home and you'll also have relationship bliss. Bonus – you can drink at whatever pace you like because it doesn't spoil quickly – a single glass on a Monday, maybe three on Friday…)

On a Budget.

In part because the carbon footprint is lower, box wine is incredibly affordable. For about $20/box, you’re getting tremendous value.



If you’re looking for a recipe for success, this is it. Box wine stays fresh for about 4 weeks. That’s because as you dispense, the bag inside shrinks down, minimizing the spoiling impact oxygen can have on an open bottle of wine. If you just need half a cup of wine for your dish, you can dispense what you need (including a glass for yourself, we hope!) and stow the rest for your next endeavor.



Certainly not all box wines are created equal. (The same is true for bottled wines.) It's always worth asking for recommendations. But you get the idea. Don’t go by the book. Go buy the box!



Summer highlights: under $9 (rose) wine

It seems like summertime is also a time when you're more likely to escape to the beach, or go camping. Or maybe you have the great opportunity to be the 'destination location' of your friends. Either way, it seems like your more likely to be going through a few bottles on a given night, rather than just the one - or more likely to be drinking more in general, night after night on your vacation, for example. So having a few delicious but affordable wines in your repertoire is kind of a necessity. Note: Cheap wine does not necessarily mean BAD wine. On the contrary, savvy wine shop's have a collection of wines they work even harder to find in the affordable price range. Because they won't compromise quality for price.

This summer there were two wines, roses no less, that came with me on vacation pretty regularly. Both were late-comers to Ball Square Fine Wine's rose collection. The first of the two, Les Trois Chenes, is a project of Chateau Moutete and is a crazy blend of Cinsault, Ugni blanc, Syrah, Merlot, Mourvèdre and even Rolle, for good measure. The result? A wine with surprising levity, authenticity (great minerality) and under-handed (in a good way) fruit. Possibly a perfect example of Provincial rose. For $8.99 especially, this was a no-brainer.

The second of the two is a curious wine from the Vinho Verde region of Portugal. No joke. And no surprise, it has a little bit of spritz. A regular cork screw will do it. But those little bubbles go a long way to delight your taste buds on a hot day. (I mean, come on, why else do people put tonic water or club soda in their cocktails? Subtle bubbles rock.) This wine, Adegas de Moncao Murhalas rose, is made from Porguese varietals Alvarelhao, Pedral, and Vinhao, the last of which is a fleshy red grape. Almost sweet red berries and watermelon flavors are lifted by brisk acidity and that little bit of spritz I keep going on about. It's fruit-forward sweetness made it great with spicy foods, too - or as desert itself after a big meal.

Suffice to say: happiness! I'm drinking them still while supplies last.

Which under $9 bottles captured your enthusiasm last summer?



June Wicked Wines are... GOAL!

And…. We’re off! The World Cup games have started so it is definitely time to uncork a few bottles and celebrate the games. Of course there’s no better way to do that than traveling the world a bit. This month our Wicked Wine tour starts in France, travels to Italy, then comes back to Portugal and ultimately flies south of the equator to the home of the games: South Africa. Who are you rooting for? Which of these picks gets the most points on your tally sheet?



Late Bottled Vintage Port vs. Vintage Port

Today  we're concluding our series on Port in the only really appropriate way, by ringing the bell on the official Port "showdown". LBVs and Vintage Ports are no doubt the two Port styles that most confuse consumers.  Here's a tip: if you don't get caught up in the semantics of LBVs you'll be better off! Pop on over to Wicked Local today to get the  full scoop to navigating these two lovely beasts with greater ease. (Today's image is c/o 2007 Vintage Port, which also provides more info about the latest vintage to be declared.)

Are you in favor of LBVs? Which properly aged Vintage Ports have you enjoyed?



A bit on Port dessert wine

Some of us are comfortable drinking Port all year long (with or without a slight chill), but many more of us find it most compelling after a full day at the office, followed by an evening rendezvous with Mr. Shovel…. No doubt, with snow finally falling in Boston, it’s hard not to think about (let alone enjoy) these noteworthy dessert wines! There are myriad styles of Port on the market – from white Ports to Ruby’s, Tawny’s, Vintage Ports and everything in between! When most people think of Port they are most often thinking of Tawny’s. So today at  Wicked Local we delve into this highly sought and oh-so-enjoyable libation.

Which Port is your fan favorite this winter?



Fired Up: Do the Right Thing, Consumers!

Old School Goodness: Burmester 89 PortI heart Port. I have said this many times. So imagine my horror when one of the best in the Port winemaking business tells me they have done research.... and have found Americans are drinking Vintage Port younger and younger. Five minutes later I was tasting the Burmester Vintage Port 2007. That's somewhat normal in the trade, because that's how we grow in our wine knowledge - knowing through a quick taste where Port starts, and, most importantly, gaining appreciation for where it goes. Trust me when I tell you the 2007 is some YOUNG stuff.  The 2005 isn't much better. Both are bitingly acidic, tannic and, well, as someone recently described too-young-stuff (who I really respect), I wanted to pull my gums out over my teeth. Yes, you may have guessed, that is NOT cool.

Port is something to behold. It is something that, when done well and has the right amount of age under its belt, has finesse AND structure. I like mine best when it has been aged for an extended period of time. Like 20 Year Tawny. Or the 1985 or 1990 Burmester Coleheita (single vintage, single vineyard Port).

Please readers. Do yourself a favor and contribute to a more efficacious marketing trend: stop buying YOUNG Port! This stuff is meant to be aged. It mellows, often gaining exotic brown spices, burnt orange peel essence, sultry caramel and vanilla notes, all on top of a luscious layer of fruit - whether stewed plums, figs or blackraspberries. Why give that up?

Come on.






It's worth the wait.

Enough said.



July Wicked Wines Uncorked!

July Wicked Wines July can be one of the most exciting months to enjoy wine. BBQ’s, baby showers, open roof decks and the joy of summer office hours (aka “early release” Fridays) coupled with one of the most versatile and delectable produce seasons gives you every excuse to pop a few corks. No surprise then, this month’s Wicked Wines reflect the need for a dynamic line up. Get excited to sip solo, toast the dog days of summer with friends or break out your inner-chef with these wicked good choices! Check them out here!

Then tell us... what's your take on Pinotage?


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Madeira: the wine of our forefathers

Photo care of: up for a terrific Fourth of July holiday? Already know which grill wines you'll be pouring? Great! Because this year we've got something a little different for you to add to that case of wine you're taking away with you.... Hop on over to Wicked Local today to find out how our Forefather's toasted the signing of the Declaration of Independence - and the wine you've likely been missing out on!

Have you ever tried Madeira? What about with each course of your meal??

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June's Wicked (Good) Wines Uncorked!

June 09 Wicked Wines!I can hardly believe it is already June - 6 months of 2009 are behind us and only 6 more to go!  Time to officially get our beach chairs out of storage and fill up a second propane tank as "back up" for those terrific nights of grilling ahead. The only thing needed is a few good ideas for what to uncork this month... Head on over to Wicked Local today to get the skinny on four great wines you should give a (s)wirl. Some are a party all in themselves; others will help get it started (without breaking the bank).

What other wines have you tucked into this month? Any destined to become your official summer "house" wines?



Vintage Port declared in 2007

Croft Vintage Port labelYeah, yeah, it may be sort of, kind of getting warmer out there here in New England. But it is still rainy, damp, brisk and windy, too.  It is way too early to forget about the wonderful world of Port! This week, in fact, just in case dreams of dry rose, picnics with bubbly, or vibrant whites are on the brain, the folks in Portugal are bringing us back to reality. For the first time in four vintages, major Port houses throughout the Duoro have declared 2007 a Vintage year for Port! What does this mean? Well, think of Vintage Port as the top of the totem pole. It is only made in great years, made from the best grapes on offer; there also has to be ample fruit available to meet the demand. No one is allowed to get ahead of themselves either, even if all of the conditions in a given year seem to indicate a Vintage year is inevitable. The Powers That Be have to wait one full year after the vintage year to assess the wines and then declare the Vintage.

Of course... the trick about Vintage Port is that you have to "earn it" to really enjoy it. The tannins are so intense it takes decades for the wine to come into its own. If you open a bottle of Vintage Port after, say, 10 years, your wine will still have very hearty tannin, enough such that you can drink it over several days. On the other hand, if you are a patient soul and wait 40-50 years to drink your Port, it should be enjoyed immediately; the wine has achieved maturity and will not be able to hold up to excessive oxygen exposure.

So if 2007 is an important year for you personally, keep an eye out for these Vintage Ports when they come to market in another few years. Then cellar it for a "special" occassion sometime in the distant future.

Which Vintage Port have you enjoyed? How old was it when you opened it?