Move Over Franzia...France is Boxing Wine
I say, it's time to think again because these boxes are proudly offered in nearly every chateau in Provence.
It's important to know that contrary to the stereotype set by Franzia, French boxed wine doesn't consist of only 'pink, sweet, White Zinfandel.' The vacuum sealed bags offer 3L, 5L, or 10L of delicious, high-quality white, rosé and red wines.
These 'cubis' or 'bag-in-box' wines are prominently displayed smack in the middle of the tasting room or wine shop, and judging by the position and inventory, they're selling like hotcakes! I have to admit, I've become a fan of boxed wine since living in France.
Hold on, Let me write that again: I. have. become. a. fan. of. boxed. wine. since. living. in. France...never thought I'd say that!
Anyway, I plead my case: This is why I love the cubi-goodness:
- It's freshy-fresh. Once opened, the vacuum sealed bag actually keeps the wine drinkable for much longer than traditional bottles. Those who don't drink a whole bottle in one sitting and save the rest for the next night can relax; no more 2-day old, oxidized, flat wine!
- Boxes are conveniently stored. This is especially exciting for white and rosé lovers because it's possible to stick the box right in the fridge. I know the painstaking struggle of figuring out just where to fit a wine bottle into the fridge: It's too tall for the shelves, it keeps falling over in the door, it's too long when lying on its side, the cork drips...the headaches are endless! A box just slides right onto the shelf next to the milk.
- Typically the price per volume is much better. Since the winery doesn't incur the cost of glass and cork (their two highest costs), they can sell it to us lucky patrons for much less.
- Easy for parties. No need for a corkscrew or to pop bottle after bottle. One box is good for the whole night and people can help themselves to the spigot.
- Drinkers can have as much or as little as they want without feeling guilty. Not often, but sometimes one little sip is enough!
Despite my enthusiasm for boxed wine, I do have two conditions that must be met before I'll buy it:
- The wine must be of a decent quality. And...
- It has to be a wine I do not plan on aging.
The requirement that I actually have to like the wine inside is a no-brainer. It's worth mentioning though, because this rule doesn't just apply to boxed wine, it's numero uno with all of my wine purchases regardless of the vessel or price. If I don't like the wine or it tastes poorly made or flawed, a low price-tag, pretty label, box or bottle won't get it into my fridge.
The reason for condition number two is that when aging a wine, it's actually a good thing for a little oxygen to seep into the bottle over the years. Typically this is accomplished via the porous, natural cork stopper, and cannot happen in an airtight vacuumed sealed bag-in-box.
On this note, there is one major guideline I follow when drinking boxed wine: it should be drunk within one year of purchase and within three weeks of opening. Any longer and judge for yourself, but usually it's only good for cooking or Sangria.
Our favorite Cubis so far:
- Chateau Maravenne Rosé
- Chateau Pas du Serf Rouge
- Chateau de Bregançon Rosé