Fortunately, in the last 10 years, "box wine", "Bag-in-a-Box" as it's formally known, has become an industry gazelle making consumer-friendly strides. You can now find some of the best Cotes-du-Rhone, Mendoza and Bordeaux wines packaged in this way, saving an average of $3-5 on the single bottle price, each containing the equivalent of four bottles. While many areas of the world are still reluctant to take advantage of this technology given the trailer park trophy it traditionally comes with, they lose the most winning customer demographic: Party go-ers and throwers [SEE: a mirror], those drinking a glass or two in one sitting [SEE: wtf?], fraternity/sorority members [SEE: "...tube"], i.e., everyone.
Bag-in-a-box began as a cover-up to a mistake, "White Zinfandel" its now infamous creation. When one winery (purposefully nameless) added too much sugar to a very large amount of wine, throwing it out would have dealt a devastating loss of income. It was repackaged and sold off at a lower price under a new name and, to the surprise/horror of the winery, sold-out before new batches could be (mistakenly) repeated. "Death" was now officially available at your local grocer.
More insightful producers realized the "felix culpa!": wine packaged this way isn't exposed to oxygen at the normal rate and therefore preserves itself up to 5x longer than the traditional cork and bottle. As an added "green" bonus, the carbon footprint is also far less given the exterior packaging consists of recycled paper material and low-impact, recyclable bags. When shipping, this vastly reduces the weight and fuel output of ships, planes and other cargo carriers. The effect on flavor is nearly indecipherable for the "everyday" to middle-range priced wines. A number of wineries have invested in this technology and here's my red and white favorites, perfectly priced and easy to locate:
Picpoul, a grape from the South of France, is famous for being seen in the tall, slender green bottle with a knight on horse back, Caves de Pomerols. This is the same juice, repackaged. The wine is a pale yellow, with green tints in the glass, suggesting a fresh, crisp personality. Lime flavors and ample acidity make it an excellent alternative to higher-priced whites such as Sancerre and Californian Sauvignon Blanc. Pairs well with shellfish and mindless chatter = an excellent party wine.
Avg. retail: $34 (per bottle $9.99 -- saves $6!)
I'm a Grenache freak and love when that garnet goodness, popping with plum, is salted with the pepper of Syrah. This wine comes from one of the best producers of Chateauneuf-du-Pape in the Rhone Valley. And when the winemaker shook my hand, it showed: purple stained and the size of my head, he spoke with the same strength with which he shook.
WB: Do you make wines such as this for a specific audience in mind, targeting anyone in particular, perhaps young people?
Monsieur Jaume: No. That's stupid. I make what I like. I hope they like it.
And there you have it. All that needs to be said about this wine is that, at this price, it's free. It's outstanding and full of plenty of spice and healthy tannins. This is what France is about plus a bangin' value.
Avg. retail: $42.99(per bottle, $14.99 -- saves $17!!!)