Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Fratastic Wine Tasting # 1- Block Wine

As we take a break this week from our world tour, I thought I would post a tasting that was a little different. I thought I'd give a new boxed wine a try. Yes, a boxed wine. Not just any boxed wine, boxed wine in a cube or as they call it Block Wine. A flood of memories came back as I opened this well designed and unique package. Memories of "Wine & Cheese Socials" with drunken sorority girls and box upon box of horrible crap passed off as wine. After my freshman year, I learned that it was a good idea to just keep a bottle of something decent in my room, you know, something like a $6 or $8 bottle. I was in college, live and learn. This was our idea of being classy, and in the end everyone had a good time and a lot of people were introduced to wine.

On to the tasting:
The Wine: Block Wine Merlot 2003 Country: USA
Region: California
Category: Merlot
Price: $10 (I think, it was a gift)
Decanted or Not: No

Tasting Notes:

The Color: Purple, dark, inky red

The Nose: Smelled like alcohol, faintest smell of something resembling fruit

The Taste: (First Tasting) What you would expect you get from a boxed wine. No real depth to the wine,
drinkable, but barely. Leaves the mouth dry with high alcohol content. Has the slightest touch of cherries, maybe a kind of flavor. This wine was pretty bad. Says the wine will stay good for up to 6 weeks (define "good") and each cube equals two bottles of wine.

First tasting verdict: 4 corks
(Second Tasting) I retested this wine again last night. It was still not very good and showed little depth and complexity. It did lose most of the alcohol nose, but didn't open up to be notable. I would guess that, because this packaging is designed to preserve the wine for weeks on end, the wine would have probably needed to be decanted. But that kind of takes away from the point of having it in a box with the little spigot. I do plan on decanting this wine one day and slipping it into a blind taste test.

Second tasting verdict: 5 corks

Any one of have any particular fondness for boxed wines or any funny stories to share?


The Vine Guy said...

LMAO!!! This is excellent. I fondly recall my college days..picking up to boxes of Franzia's finest on Thursday night, and drinking it like a champ on Friday and Saturday night.

Looking back now, that stuff was just gross. But hey, you are doing a public service by rating this boxed wine...we cater to the masses...LOL.

Great post here Grape Nut. Really made me laugh. Good luck finishing the rest of your stash...

Grape Nut said...

Yeah, going to give it another shot tonight. I'm going to decant it in a carafe for about an hour, see what happens. Really is cleaver design though. Also, if you wanted to bring wine where glass isn't allowed (horse races, concerts) this maybe a semi-drinkable option.

Chenoa said...

I recall my friend's mother serving boxed wine with pride in the mid-90s. She also smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes a day and played with puppets...so clearly not a tastemaker.
Another boxed wine experience takes me back to Scranton, PA, 1997-Lilith Fair. During our pre-party we served boxed wine, a white zinfadel no less, and cheese from the back of my friend's Dodge Shadow. The wine was almost as bad as Sheryl Crow live. Havent touched the stuff since.

Sergeant-At-Arms said...

Uugghh! Canadian farmers don't even drink boxed wine! Do yourself a favor and flush it down the toilet or feed it to the dog.

Played with puppets? Is this the same Irish lady that introduced you to quafes?

Chenoa said...

Sarge, like Lilith Fair, there are some things best left in the past. Gentlemen, perhaps you can follow up your box wine review with a look at Boone's Farm wine. Does it taste differently away from a college campus? Thoughts...

Grape Nut said...

I think Boones will still taste like Boones, but there will be less "making out" after the consumption a bottle or two. Probably because you won't get past the first glass.

A tasting of Boone's, Franzia boxed white zin, a jug of cheap burgundy wine and Mad Dog 20/20 may be called for.

Fly By Night Sailor said...

Definitely try decanting. I feel it's a must with boxed reds. I just decant the amount we'll drink in one sitting. In a pinch, I'll pour one glass with up to 12" of fall to the glass, or pour back and forth from one glass (or plastic cup...LOL) to another.

I haven't tried the Wine Block Merlot, but I must admit, I have found boxed Merlots to be much less agreeable than boxed Cabs, and the Wine Block Cab seems to have been well received. Truth be told, I have had some vile boxed Merlot (Trove comes to mind).

If you could go for a Cab, the Black Box Paso Robles Cab is easy to find, and consistently good. Or maybe you are in a big enough market to find something interesting like the 2003 Cuvee de Pena. Or Le Faux Frog 2004 Pinot Noir.

I'm in a small town, so I can only find good boxes like that when I travel, and then bring them home. Well, at least I can buy some modestly good "premium" boxes locally. No one should have to suffer that Franzia plonk, not even for cooking.

Fly by Night Sailor

Grape Nut said...

Thanks FBN Sailor, the advice is most appreciated. I really do like that the producers are getting more creative and especially that they're moving into vintage wines. Mrs. Vine Guy sent us an article (NYTimes, "Thinking Outside the Cardboard") from earlier this year mentioning that boxed wine is actually capturing a large share of european wine markets and now has spured "bag" pouring appliances.

We're in the New York City area so we'll try and see what else we can find do another posting.

Grape Nut said...

A friend sent me this short anecdote about boxed wine:

"One night a few years ago. My friend and I went shot for shot on boxed wine and were asked to leave the party. No shittin'"

MyManMisterC said...

Grape Nut, I must say you are looking very much like the wine con with the beard and collard shirt. Well done.