It’s no secret that boxed wine is no longer reserved for sorority bashes and office holiday parties. Decent wines are being packaged in box form — whether it’s in Tetra-Pak, like the cleverly labeled Yellow+Blue wines, or in the bag-in-a-box systems most of us have spent the last few years trying to forget.
For most of us, the appeal of boxed wine is at least three-fold. First, there’s the minimized environmental impact because boxes weigh less than glass and, therefore, are easier and cheaper to ship. Second, is the fact that those savings are passed on to the consumer. And third, boxing tends to be safer for the wine itself. In other words, it’s hard to end up with a corked bottle when there is no cork.
Jenny & Francois, an importer of natural wines, sells a boxed wine called From the Tank. It comes in red or white, both versions containing wine from Côtes du Rhône’s Estézargues Co-op. (In a few months, the white, a Grenache Blanc, will be swapped out for a Chardonnay from a different producer.)
“I lived in France for a long time,” says Jenny Lefcourt of Jenny & Francois. “Boxed wine is common in France.”
She says she and her partner came up with the idea to box their own wine as a response to the economic crisis. With four bottles’ worth in each three-liter box, the wines come out to around $10 each. In bottles, the same wines are priced at about $15. (They opted for the bag-in-a-box system, which is said to be the eco-friendliest because Tetra-Pak cannot be recycled in many places.)
“Things move quickly in this country. People are not stuck in their ways,” says Lefcourt of Americans’ quick acceptance of boxed wines. “They see that it’s what’s inside that matters.”
And, what is inside, exactly? The white is aromatic yet clean, with stony minerality. The red is also mineral, with plenty of bright fruit and hints of violet. Both are made from hand-harvested grapes and vinified using natural yeasts.
“They taste great, it’s an eco-pack, and they’re easy to carry,” summarizes Lefcourt.
And there’s your fourth reason right there.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 16, 2010