Monday, November 06, 2006

Has Robert Parker Ever Boxed?

A reader recently left a comment on a post which was put up prematurely, and then deleted. It was a great question, so I'll try to answer to the best of my knowledge at this point.

A Thing of Beauty asks: Is there a boxed wine that Robert Parker has liked? What about Steve Tanzer?

I do have some info on ratings of some boxed wines in the serious wine press. Here are several boxed wines that have ratings from Wine Advocate (Robert Parker), Wine Enthusiast, Wine Report, and Wine Spectator (Steve Tanzer) (oops, correction - Tanzer not represented in this list - Thanks A Thing of Beauty).

The Chateau de Pena Cuvee de Pena 2003 has gotten a lot of attention

Chateau de Pena Cuvee de Pena 2003

The Wine Spectator
Ripe, dark fruit flavors dominate this medium- to full-bodied red, with lovely chocolate pudding notes and smoky elements on the finish. Drink now through 2007. 20,000 cases made. Score: 87. —Kim Marcus, August 31, 2005.

The Wine Advocate
Available in a 3-liter bag-in-a-box, the 2003 Cuvee de Pena reveals plum and blackberry aromas. Light to medium-bodied and silky-textured, this excellent value (3 liters for $20 comes out to $5 a bottle!) displays spicy dark fruits intermingled with hints of cedar in its expressive character. Drink it over the next year. Score: 86. —Pierre Rovani, June 2005.

Chateau de Pena Cuvee de Pena 2003 - Market Fine Wine and Spirits - Wine and Spirit Retailer

Avec Restaurant in Chicago actually has the Cuvee 3 liter box on the wine list ($89)!! Dr. Vino says they are completely unabashed about it:

Eduard Seitan, Avec's co-owner and wine buyer, likes the wine so much he keeps three boxes on display at the bar. "I'm very proud of it," he said.

Dr. Vino's wine blog: Drinking inside the box

Does anyone out there know of any others that I've missed?

Black Box Pinot Grigio 3 Liter Box

Another addition to the Boxed Wine Spot's no-frills list of bag-in-box wines:

Black Box Pinot Grigio
Black Box Wines (Pacific Wine Partners, Constellation Brands)
3 liter box, vintage dated
About $17 - $20

Pinot Grigio, or Pinot Gris as it's called in France, is a light and refreshing wine perfect for that warm summer day or as an aperitif/cocktail wine. Clean and crisp, it primes the palate for food, pairing well with all seafood, whether raw, lightly sautéed, or served with a light cream sauce. Our 2005 California Pinot Grigio "displays aromas of lemon peel, pear and a dollop of fresh peach. Juicy flavors of citrus and apples lead to a finish that is bright and delicious."

Pinot Grigio Wine

Reviews in the press

Craig LaBan, December 6, 2006, Philadelphia Inquirer (vintage unknown, box)

Party Worthy . . . Black Box pinot grigio ($23.99)

Philadelphia Inquirer | 12/06/2006 | Wine in a box: A taste test

Reviews in stores and newsletters

IAS, August 23, 2006, Unfiltered (The Wine Source, Baltimore, MD) (2005 vintage, box)
Black Box was one of the first successful producers of vintage dated box wine from California designed for retail shelves. They have struck pay dirt once again with their newly released remarkably vibrant 2005 Pinot Grigio. The rather translucent color belies a subtle creamy richness and varietally characteristic mineral note. Try this delicious wine next to a host of insipid mass-produced Italian Pinot Grigio and you’ll be shocked by the cleanliness and verve of this spectacular value.

winemail issue 17, August 23.p65

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AC Nielsen on the Box Wine Boom

There's been lots of talk since last summer about the ACNielsen report on trends in the wine market. The focus of all the buzz has been the phenomenal growth of the boxed wine segment. Since we all keep talking about it, I thought I'd go ahead and post some of the article, Three-Liter Boxes the Fastest Growing Wine Packaging Segment, from Wine Business Insider.

According to scan data from ACNielsen, premium three-liter boxed wine sales are the fastest-growing premium wine packaging segment, with 204 percent growth since September 2003. In terms of volume, premium three-liter boxed wines have grown 107 percent over the same timeframe.

While the growth has been phenomenal, it is still a very small category in terms of market share - three-liter boxed wine sales account for less than 1 percent of overall dollar sales and just 1.5 percent of total volume. Then again, in September 2003, three-liter wine market share was about half what it is now.

There are myriad factors for the rapidly increasing sales of the three-liter category, but one of the main reasons has been the increased acceptance by the trade.

While the greatest volume of three-liter boxed wines is seen in the under-$12 category, those priced above $12 are showing the greatest growth rates. Wines in the under-$12 have grown 72 percent since September 2003, while those priced between $12 and $15.99 have grown 126 percent in the same time period. In terms of market share, the lowest-priced three-liter boxes account for fully half of all three-liter box sales, while the mid-tier, priced between $12 and $15.99, claims under 10 percent of the three-liter market.

Three-Liter Boxes the Fastest Growing Wine Packaging Segment

Even with the growth, note that 3L box still accounts for only 1% of dollars, and 1.5% of wine volume. That's a far cry from the percentages in Australia and the Scandinavian countries.

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Clark County Premium Pinot Noir 3 Liter Box

Another addition to the Boxed Wine Spot's no-frills list of bag-in-box wines:

Clark County Premium Pinot Noir
English Estate Winery
Washington, Clark County
3 liter box, vintage dated
Also available in bottle
About $65

2002 Clark County Premium Pinot Noir. Our second Clark County Pinot Noir blend is a well-balanced, easy to drink wine. The grapes came from 3 vineyards in Clark County: about 45% from our own Gravel Mine Vineyards, about 45% from La Center Vineyards and about 10% from the relatively young Yacolt Valley Vineyards.

3L BIBB 2002 Clark County Premium Pinot Noir