Box wines are nicely priced for serving a crowd at informal picnics and barbecues.
Wines in glass-free packaging especially make sense in summer. More lightweight than their equivalent in bottles, these boxes, Tetra packs and a clever little barrel are easy to tote to the places you’re most likely to go barefoot (poolside, dockside, beachside). Plus, they’re nicely priced for serving a crowd at informal picnics and barbecues.
The Best Overall Party Pack: Red-Truck’s 2007 California Red Wine Mini-Barrel ($30/3 liters) packs a crowd-pleasing blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. It all adds up to a plush and vibrant berry-filled barrel of good-time wine.
An Easygoing Outdoor Red: With the mocha-tinged Boho 2006 Central Coast Merlot ($20/3 liters),you can enjoy the soft, cherry-berry flavors of a Merlot, but in lively, medium-bodied style that won’t weigh you down.
A Bright, Light White for Summer: Angel Juice 2007 Central Coast Pinot Grigio ($20/3 liters) is the pick to keep on hand in the fridge for a crisp and refreshing patio-sipper anytime. Enjoy hints of sweet apple and pineapple flavors framed by a lip-smacking tanginess.
A Bountiful Box of Sweet Sips: The sweet orchard fruits and soft floral notes of Washington Hills Riesling ($20/3 liters) will enchant those who enjoy a little sweetness in their sip, yet the true-to-Riesling crispness on the finish keeps the wine in balance. With just 11 percent alcohol, it’s also a good choice for daytime enjoyment.
Two Top Tetra Packs: Smaller than bottles or boxes, Tetra packs make it easy to tote just enough wine just for the two of you.
- Alice White Shiraz (South Eastern Australia; $5/500ml). This compact pack holds about three glasses affable, quaffable Aussie Shiraz.
- Glen Ellen Chardonnay ($6 for four 250ml Tetra Packs): These functional packs pour surprisingly classy sips for the price, with delicate vanilla and coconut notes amidst the bright tropical fruits.
By Wini Moranville, Relish wine columnist. This article originally appeared in the July 2009 issue of Relish.