Premium wine in a box? Yes, it can be done. Boxed wine has come a long way from the ‘goon bag’ days of yore, and there are several reasons why they are worth another look this festive season. Helena Nicklin picks out the best, boxed wines available in the UK right now.
Of all the drinks trends that emerged from lockdown, wine in a box has been- and will be – one that endures, I’m certain of it. It’s not that boxed wine is new. It’s not! It’s just that the world has moved on to a place where all the reasons to buy it are more valid than before, from housing genuinely excellent wines to impressive sustainability credentials. Here are five reasons why you should take another look at boxed wine and some stunning sips to seek out:
Better boxed wine technology means better wine inside
Pretty packaging aside, the biggest change we’ve seen in the past few years with bag in box wine is technology. As you may know from your glass of vinegary pub wine that has been open too long, the killer of wine is oxygen. Today’s tech in boxes means that the bag deflates properly as wine is poured, and the taps don’t let any air in. This keeps the oxygen out and the wine fresh for up to a month when stored correctly. The super exciting thing about this is that because of these technological leaps, premium producers are happy to have their better wines in boxes.
Better value per bottle
When you consider that most boxes hold at least 2.25L, which is the equivalent of three bottles (and some hold a fair bit more), there are considerable price savings to be made in packaging and transport. This means that you pay less per bottle equivalent.
Greener than glass
Research has shown that many of these boxes, such as those from When in Rome, use up to ten times less CO2 than one singular glass bottle alone. Some producers also have green initiatives, where they will plant a tree for every box sold or work with lower carbon transport systems and companies to reduce their footprint further. This is important when you consider that nearly 40% of the world’s emissions by the wine trade come from making glass bottles.
Boxed wine tastes better for longer
Thanks to the technology that keeps air out of the wine, you can keep topping up your glass for up to a month. Some say six weeks but really? Who keeps wine that long anyway! Stored standing up and preferably in a fridge (even the reds), boxed wine keeps fresher for longer.
Simply picking up a box in each hand is so much easier than six bottles of heavy, clinking glass. And it’s less embarrassing on recycling day. Win-win.
The Best Luxury Boxed Wines to Try
Here’s my pick of the top, premium, bag in box wines available on the market.
White Boxed Wines
The BIB Wine Company: Clos du Roi Sancerre
The BIB Wine Company, in my opinion, is leading the way for boxed wine in the UK as it’s the triple threat: a wide range of genuinely good, interesting and authentic wines, super slick packaging and impressive green credentials. For your splash out wine, I love this Sancerre. It’s crisp and classy with a dab of green apple and citrus. Great for goats cheese, white fish or just on its own.
£49.90 for 2.25L (£16.33 per bottle equivalent)
Maree d’Ione Organic Fiano
Fiano is a brilliant choice of wine grape for gatherings as it’s such an easy-going style that will suit both die-hard Sauvignon Blanc lovers as well as Chardonnay fans. Think ripe orange and pineapple with a zesty, lime freshness. The Maree d’Ione looks as good as it tastes too, with its beautiful cardboard tube and rope handle. You won’t even need to wrap it up to put it under the tree!
£25.99 for 2.25L (£8.66 per 75cl bottle equivalent) from Waitrose.
50 Degrees Dry Riesling
Riesling is one of the world’s most misunderstood grapes, thanks to certain large brands in the eighties. In reality though, Riesling is the ‘supermodel’ wine grape that can be all levels of dry and sweet. This one by the respected producer Schloss Johannisberg is dry and aromatic with notes of crunchy green apple and a touch of peach. Uber refreshing and with a lovely mineral core, you’ll want this with any kind of seafood.
£19.45 for 2L (down from £23.95) from Slurp.co.uk.
Pink Boxed Wines
The BIB Wine Company: Domaine of the Bee, Bee Pink
A blend of 60% Grenache Noir, 20% Grenache Gris and 20% Syrah, this is a wine that was already highly acclaimed in bottles before being put into boxes and is made by ‘wine jedi’ Justin Howard-Sneyd, who is a Master of Wine. Super dry and crisp with crunchy red fruit notes, it’s unpretentious, quietly confident and exceptionally easy to drink.
£34.80 (£11.60 per 75cl bottle equivalent)
Laylo: Lot #4: Rosé Méditerranée
In a box that would not look out of place on a catwalk, this southern French Grenache epitomises what we love about the South of France and the stunning region of Luberon particularly. Think wild strawberry, white peach and a cranberry kick.
£33.99 (£11.33 per 75cl bottle equivalent)
Red Boxed Wines
Laylo: Lot #7: Toscana
Laylo has made a name for themselves with their ‘design’ boxes, and this one is just incredible, based on a painting in Brunelleschi’s Dome inside the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. The wine itself is a classic ‘Super Tuscan’, taking the classic Tuscan Sangiovese grape and adding a splash of international Merlot. Tangy and flavoursome, think sour cherry, dried herbs and a dollop of cocoa. Perfect for tomato-based dishes and cold cuts.
The BIB Wine Company: Fitou, Domaine Jean-Marc Astruc
If you love your wines packed full of dark, bramble fruit and herbaceous, garrigue flavours, you’ll love this deeply coloured red. Organic to boot, this Carignan and Syrah blend will be the perfect accompaniment to gamey meat or earthy lamb with lots of rosemary and thyme. Another excellent drop from the BIB Wine Company.
When in Rome: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Craft Italian wine specialists When in Rome have a very strong sustainability focus and like to use lesser-known wine grapes in their wines a lot of the time. Not hard in Italy where there are so many! Slightly better known is the Montepulciano, which here is soft and plummy with a moreish, balsamic note and a hint of baking spice.
£25.99 (£8.66 per 75cl bottle equivalent)
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