Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Provence, France Embraces the Box

In France boxed or cask wine is referred to as "outre a vin" (which actually means "wineskin") or just "BiB" (which stands for bag-in-box). Availability, variety, and acceptance all exceed what we find in the US. I recently read yet another article about boxed wine that expressed the mistaken assumption that the box concept is heretical to the French. In August of 2005 the Wine Terroirs blog showed us the comfortable place boxed wine actually holds in daily life in Provence.

8 pm, somewhere in Provence, the aperitif begins... Summer is BiB time . Warm and sunny days . Long evenings with friends and family . Preferably outside . Right time for aperitif, summer's N° 1 rosé wine festivity in Provence, is, say, 7.30 pm . I mean, the start of it : From then on, 2 hours at least of talk, jokes, to enjoy and relax in a cooler atmosphere as the sun slowly goes down . These lines are dedicated to the BiBs, our summer best friends . Here, straight from the refrigerator to the table outside, a 5 liter BiB of Rosé B_escfrom the Chateau de L'Escarelle, a 120 hectare Coteaux Varois estate located in La Celle, near Brignoles . Good value at about 13 Euro at the Domaine .

Wine Tasting, Vineyards, in France: BiB means Summer

Three liter boxed wines can be bought directly from the neighborhood winery, or from the local supermarkets. This supermarket photo could be in my own southeast US neighborhood, except the boxed selection is far better, and the boxes are unabashadly displayed together instead of shyly tucked among the bottles.

This picture shows the BiB side of the wine section of a medium size supermarket near a provencal village . Most are 3 liter BiBs, with price per liter often higher than the ones from the family wineries I selected .

Wine Tasting, Vineyards, in France: BiB means Summer

We Americans have a long way to go to buck the box stigma. Follow the link and check it out - pouring rose directly from the fridge, and pouring a Syrah-Grenache from the box into a bottle at the kitchen counter. The wine-insecurities of so many Americans cause them to look down on such a casual relationship with wine. People who can openly enjoy "everyday wine" are the people who will enjoy wine every day.

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La Petite Frog, Denver Post's Wine of the Week

Ooooh! I just saw this one last night on the Kysela Père et Fils website, and now here it is this morning, Denver Post's wine of the week!

Wine of the week, 11/8
La Petite Frog Picpoul de Pinet, $34 for 3 liters
This is the wine to stock in your fridge for the entire holiday season. Light and tangy as limeade, it's a no-brainer for that first glass of wine when you get home from work, as well as a brilliant refresher after a long day of shopping. It's as good with takeout Chinese (essential when holiday burnout hits) as it is with celebratory oysters (it's practically designed for oysters, having grown in vineyards around the Etang de Thau, a lagoon in the south of France with prime oyster beds). And the box, which holds four bottles of wine, will stay fresh for weeks after it's tapped.
Imported by Kysela Père et Fils, Winchester, Va. - Wine of the week, 11/8

Thanks to of importers like Kysela Pere et Fils, and sourcing companies like JuiceBox Wine, French wines just making their way into the US market. What a joy to be able to enjoy these wines as "a glass a day wine" (after that long day of shopping) or as "party wine" or "outdoor wine" (that oyster party at the beach). I was intrigued when I found this on the Kysela site. Now I must find some, as oyster season is just coming into full swing here! The words "brilliant refresher" have grabbed me!