Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What kind of cheese are you going to serve? Velveeta?

In today's Philadelphia Inquirer, restaurant critic Craig LaBan suffers the wisecracks of co-workers who are asked to join him in a holiday tasting of box wines.

I myself am the kind of wine drinker who has never mastered the painting of an olifactory picture with words like "verbena," "baked apple," "ripe figs," and "cigar box" (love to read that stuff, just can't conjure it up). Therefore I am particularly taken with the simplicity of LaBan's rating system. I believe I would add one higher level, "Anniversary Dinner Wine." (Yes, I truly believe there must be boxed wine that good).

Here are LaBan's ranking of the 21 boxed wines tasted:

Worthy House Wine
  • Cuvee de Peña grenache-syrah blend (France; $15.99, available at Canal's Discount Liquor, Pennsauken, 856-665-4202)
  • Black Box chardonnay ($19.99)
  • Black Box cabernet sauvignon ($23.99)
  • Black Box merlot ($19.99)

Party Worthy
  • Three Thieves trebbiano rubicone (Italy; not yet available)
  • Black Box pinot grigio ($23.99)
  • Fish Eye shiraz (California; $19.99)
  • Killer Juice chardonnay ($18.99)
  • Three Thieves cabernet sauvignon (1 liter, $9.99)

Party Worthy (but only if brought anonymously)
  • Killer Juice shiraz (n/a)
  • Killer Juice cabernet sauvignon ($18.99)
  • Banrock Station cabernet sauvignon (Australia; $14.99)
  • Banrock Station chardonnay (Australia; $14.99)
  • Three Thieves pinot grigio (California; 2 liter, $9.99)
  • Hardy's riesling(Australia; $15.99)
  • Hardy's shiraz (Australia; 1.5 liter bottles only in Pa., $9.99)

  • Sheila's Shiraz (France; five liter, $20.99)
  • Fish Eye pinot grigio (California; $19.99)
  • Vendange pinot grigio (California; 500 ml n/a)
  • Vendange merlot (California; 500 mL n/a)
  • Vendange zinfandel (California; 500 mL n/a)

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

Be sure to check out the article for specific tasting notes on some of these selections.

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