We refer to cars we don't like the look of as boxy. We tell people to think outside the box when they're being dull and boring. Where's all this box negativity coming from? When it comes to wine, it's time to turn away from box hatred and embrace a greener package: the wine box. Foodbuzz kindly set me up with a box of Black Box Sauvignon Blanc, and I have to say the box makes perfect sense for this drinkable, basic, dry wine made from New Zealand grapes.
The secret to box wine isn't really the box, it's the mylar bladder. The liquid is packaged in an air-impermeable plastic bladder with a nozzle. The bag prevents spoilage because, as you drain it, it's deflating shape conforms to the contents perfectly without allowing air in. Bottles can't do that, unless you fill them up with glass pebbles... and we all know how much of a pain that can be.
That means you never have airspace, so you get much less spoilage, less waste, and pretty much always have something to serve stashed in your fridge. The wine doesn't last indefinitely, but it lasts long enough to make the lack of traditional packaging well worth it. The box holds 3 liters, so you get 4 bottles worth in one package. The packaging ensures that, once opened, the wine will survive under refrigeration for at least the length of time it would take you to get through 4 bottles, and at about $6.25 per bottle, that's hard to beat.
About the Beverage
The Black Box wine is a highly produced commercial affair, and as a result, doesn't have a lot of character. There's no terroir in the box, if you will, but no scary surprises either. It's perfectly drinkable, pleasant and refreshing on a hot afternoon. It has a lot of acid, some floral aromas, and no residual sugar that I could detect, making it an acceptable pairing with casual food or on it's own as the sun drops behind the horizon from a vantage point your local green space.
I'm not going to say that Black Box rivals the finest Sauvignon Blancs produced in Bordeaux, but it's not trying to, and the wine is certainly none the worse for being transported in an earth-friendly box as opposed to a traditionally packaged rival. In short, the quality of the wine is good enough to serve at a picnic lunch in the park or at your sunset backyard BBQ party without a moment's hesitation... it's floating far above Franzia in terms of quality, the other box wine. But would I serve it with sixty dollar per pound Dover sole flown in from the white cliffs? Not likely.