I’ve become very happy about the reformation of box wines. Not Franzia or Rossi (ack!), but good wine. Three Thieves Bandit, Bota, and Yellow & Blue are making some apparently stellar boxes for great prices. Of those three, only the Bota is bag in a box, though, for ultimate long-lasting freshness. But there are plenty of others. Hardy is popular, and some 1.5L cubes. At about $16 and applicable sales tax for a 3-liter box (equivalent of 4 bottles), you’re looking at $4.50/bottle for excellent grape. I’m having Y&B as I write, and I’ve got Bota on the shelf in the kitchen. This isn’t your grandmother’s box of wine. Vineyards have realized that box wine is:
- Cheaper to package, ship, and sell – half the weight is in the bottle (and some vineyards aren’t cutting price by quite as much as they save)
- Stays fresh much longer – great for light consumption and that healthy glass per evening
- Eco-friendlier, due to recyclable packaging and less intense manufacturing, and much lower shipping weight
With the latest thinking on the health benefits of light consumption (US government agencies actually had but suppressed data supporting this in the 1990s), these clarities make it much easier to have a glass or two for wellbeing when permitted. Red wine (reservatrol) is thought to stave off heart disease and many effects of aging and balance cholesterols toward the good ones, cabernet sauvignon may help prevent alzheimers, and of course it has long been understood that wine cleanses most pathogens that adversely affect humans.
These developments (realization of the nexus of benefits to personal heath and ecology) are a boon to the wine industry – revitalizing wine as a handier beverage, but also bringing in tons of light “sippers”. And sipping is the way to go: sipping wine slowly increases absorption (through the mouth) of the helpful nutrients that quick consumption loses to liver processes – increase from absportion is by a factor of 100. It’s like a single bowl of tobacco per day for a true pipe smoker (one who doesn’t inhale). People with zero wine consumption are actually closer, statistically, to the health situations of those with heavy consumption. Moderate consumers who consume in a moderate manner beat them all.
I have a feeling it helps with maintaining a healthy weight too – and not because wine drinkers are statistically, generally closer to their optimum weights. By experience, I notice I’m less interested in desserts and other snacks with wine. It has done nothing but enhance, however, my craving for pure, high-quality dark chocolate (my ‘secret’ source being CVS’ dollar aisle) – no nougat, not cookie, no garbage, and no high-sugar air-filled Hersheys – just dense, dark chocolate. On the other hand, that doesn’t seem to be much of a problem in moderation, either. 🙂
Downsides to the box are:
- Even bag in a box may not be a perfect vacuum seal, tho that’s the intent – so, if you’re going to keep your box of wine more than a few days, you should probably refrigerate it. You can decant your red and let a small portion warm up 40min before drinking. Still, 3 weeks is the advised time before damage from oxidization, once opened, if you’re using the bag in a box, compared to days for a bottle or the ordinary lined/bagless box. For non-bagged boxes, there’s no pump, so consume those in normal same-as-bottle time frame.
- Because of the initial vacuum seal, you get what you package, so you can’t rely on a vintage to age. However, storage becomes less of an issue and, besides, 12-18 months is the current intended consumption time for most common wine. How long were you going to pack away that $10 bottle of Ravenswood?
- It’s highbrow to go lowbrow, so surely the yuppies are going to ruin it, like they have coffee shops, motorcycles, and most everything else. Just give it time.
In my home, it’s coffee in the morning, tea by day (or water with some Mexican lemon juice), and the wine in evening. Box wine is a great, relaxing medicinal, for body and soul, to look forward to at day’s end. The box has brought me back from rare moderate to frequent light consumption.
I think light consumption helps settle the stomach too. During a fast (from meat, wine, and oil), the Apostle St. Paul advised Bishop St. Timothy to drink wine medicinally for his stomach (medicinal use is always approved when one’s bishop judges it a genuine illness). Contemporary science has since rediscovered what people already knew – it helps with peptic ulcers.
Update: The Y&B Malbec is the one I dig best. It’s a screw top carton with no bladder, so only comes in 1-liter, not 3-liter, and is therefore a bit pricier, but sooo much better than the others.