The dog days of summer are here and, soon enough, they’ll make way for sweater weather and pumpkin spice-flavored everything. With only so many weekends left, we recommend you get out and enjoy as much of the sunshine as possible.
If your idea of fun involves good friends and great wine, there’s a decent chance you’re already familiar with the wonders of a boxed variety like Franzia. Sure, some wine aficionados may turn their noses up at its name, but don’t let that stop you! As any on-the-go oenophile can tell you, drinking wine out of a box is a surefire way to keep up with today’s go-go-go lifestyle.
Here’s everything you need to know about the unique bev, which brands to buy, and what recipes you’ll want to try.
A Quick History of Boxed Wine
What do the electric drill, spray-on skin, and bag-in-box wine all have in common? Aside from sounding like the key ingredients for a late night DIY project gone horribly wrong, all of these revolutionary innovations come from the land down under.
Searching for an alternative to the half-gallon flagon, Australian winemaker Tom Angove was inspired by the old goatskins used at the time. And in the 50 years since he originally filed his patent, the bag-in-box product design has come a long way.
Cheaper to produce and easier to ship and store, the advantages of boxed wine are undeniable. But to experience the best user benefits of the bag-in-box, one need only pack a picnic basket and head to the nearest park, swimming pool, or shoreline. For starters, you won’t need to bring your corkscrew (or find a random object that can double as a makeshift bottle opener). Boxed wines come equipped with a spout so they’re easy to open, easy to pour.
Unless you’re sucking the wine directly from the spout (and we wouldn’t recommend that, especially when drinking red!), you’ll need to bring some cups. Trusty red Solo cup are always an option, but if you’re looking to score bonus points for being classy, stemless plastic wine glasses are a great option. If the situation calls for discretion, take a page from Frank Reynolds’ book and use a soda can to conceal the contents of your beverage. Here again, reds present a greater challenge than whites.
Now that you’ve decided where you’re going and what you need to pack, let’s figure out what you want to drink.
Boxed Red Wines
If you’re looking to set the mood with a nice red, look no further than The Naked Grape’s Pinot Noir. Although the box is labeled pinot noir, those aren’t the only grapes you’ll find inside. Notes of grenache, tempranillo, and alicante bouchet all contribute to the ripe red fruitiness of this jewel-red wine. Ripe cherry and pomegranate flavors come through to deliver a fresh and fruity blend guaranteed to delight.
If you’re a bit adventurous, really kick it up a notch with a few Vanilla Berry Pinot Noir Slushies.
Boxed White Wines
If you’re like me, you almost always prefer a crisp white to a full-bodied red, especially on a warm summer day. I suggest pairing your afternoon of sunbathing & poolside leisure with LOFT California Chardonnay. The subtle blend of light citrus, tropical fruit, and pineapple flavors will complement the aroma of your tanning oil beautifully. Elegant and crisp, this is the Chardonnay you are looking for.
If you’re in the mood for something a bit sweeter, Bota Box Riesling may be more your speed. Aside from sounding like Lana Del Rey lyrics, the notes of white peaches and honey pair with floral scents for a well-balanced blend.
Feeling a little extra, but not too much? Try this deliciously simple Two-Ingredient White Sangria recipe.
Boxed Pink, Rose, and Rosé Wines
Reds and whites are wonderful, but a crisp rosé is essentially the anthem for summer. Back in 2003, Black Box changed the games of boxed wines with their award-winning, blackberry-driven Cabernet Sauvignon. We dare say they did it again 12 years later with Black Box Rosé.
A deeper red than most in its category, this delicious blush of fresh strawberries, cherries, and white peaches blends perfectly to deliver a light, refreshing rosé with a distinctively dry and satisfying finish. On the go and you don’t want to shove a box of wine in your purse? Say no more. This delicious rosé is also available in 500ml. It’s like a Capri Sun for adulthood.
We recommend you kick back and enjoy the simple pleasure of watching a lovely sunset with a refreshing Rosé Spritzer in hand.
Welcome to nirvana. You’re welcome. Get the recipe.
— Head illustration: Kali Ciesemeir for PDX Monthly.