Sunday, January 07, 2007

Delicato Shiraz 3 Liter Box

This is one of the most talked about premium domestic boxed wines, famous for it's Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator ratings, and California State Fair honors in three consecutive years. Lots of reviews and tasting notes, in part because it's also available and very popular in bottles.

Delicato Shiraz
Delicato Family Vineyards
California, Lodi
3 liter box, vintage dated (also available in bottle)
about $18.00

. . . complex aromas of spice, blackberry, and red cherry. On the palate, this wine has a soft, supple mouthfeel with flavors of blueberries, spice, and oak nuances that lead into a lingering finish.

Delicato Family Vineyards

Reviews in the press

Jerry Shriver, October 24, 2006, USA Today (2005 vintage, bottle)
The plain-Jane label couldn't be more boring, but then we don't choose our wines based on pretty graphics, do we? DO we? No, it's the juice that counts, and this is perfectly good juice, loaded with soft, sweet blueberry and plum flavors that end with a peppery bite. Whatever you pair it with should be spicy, so I'm thinking pepper steak, stir fry or perhaps a jazzed-up casserole. - Cheers: Archives

Tara Q Thomas, July 5, 2006, Denver Post (2005 vintage, box)
Wine of the Week
. . .
I laughed as I pulled out Delicato's Bota Box Shiraz, the jammy, refreshingly juicy red we were enjoying. - Wine of the week, 7/5

S.H., December 31, 2006, Wine Enthusiast Magazine (2005 vintage, bottle)
Rating 84. A Best Buy. Sure, it’s sharp and rustic, but it explodes in fresh cherry, blackberry jam and chocolate flavors, with a white pepper edge, and is smooth and mostly dry. At this price, let it wash down lasagna, cheeseburgers and gravy-smothered fried chicken.

Wine Enthusiast Magazine - Wine Ratings & Reviews: Review Details

Frank Sutherland and Kate Sutherland, December 19, 2006, Gannett News Service (2004 vintage, bottle)
Wine of the week . . . Aroma: Scents of dried cherries, plums and raspberries mixed with notes of black tea, minerals and leather. Palate: A mouthful with a silky texture and a long finish. Verdict: Relatively complex wine that won first place in our tasting, the Delicato, at this price, is a great buy for a party. Delicato California shiraz

W. Blake Gray, December 8, 2006, San Francisco Chronicle (2004 vintage, box)
Another good bag-in-box value . . . a strong black pepper flavor in addition to blackberries and earth. There's even a hint in the aroma of hot dogs, that classic food of barbecues, ball games and formal dinner parties (at least the good ones).

Turn up the game, grab a burger and bust open Wines for Men

Darryl Beeson, May 2006, TravelLady Magazine (2004 vintage, bottle)
Rating 88 . . . Blackberry and charred oak are in the nose. The sip leads with blackberry, followed by toasted oak.

Syrah or Shiraz- Enjoy!

W.E, August 1, 2006, Wine Enthusiast magazine (2004 vintage, bottle)
Rating 84. A Best Buy. Like the Merlot, this is varietally correct, in this case balancing blackberry and white pepper flavors. Supple tannins make it go down smooth and easy, without a second thought.

Wine Enthusiast Magazine - Wine Ratings & Reviews: Review Details

W.E., September 1, 2005, Wine Enthusiast magazine (2004 vintage, bottle)
Rating 85. A Best Buy. Soft and medium-bodied in the mouth, this Calfornia Shiraz has tarry, earthy notes on the nose that join plum fruit on the palate. A good, simple, easy drinker.

Wine Enthusiast Magazine - Wine Ratings & Reviews: Review Details

S.H., March 1, 2005, Wine Enthusiast magazine (2003 vintage, box)
Rating 85. A Best Buy. What a great value this boxed wine is. It’s dry and balanced, with rich tannins and blackberry, cherry, cocoa and spice flavors. Perfect for a large occasion when you don’t want to spend a lot of money.

Wine Enthusiast Magazine - Wine Ratings & Reviews: Review Details

Carol Emert, January 6, 2005, San Francisco Chronicle (2003 vintage, box)
. . . a pleasant, earthy wine that tastes of pomegranate and currant, with a good tannic structure and vanilla overtones. This wine has the complexity to be a good match with meat or mushrooms.

A bevy of boxes have room inside for value, flavor

Anne Schamberg, August 7, 2005, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (2003 vintage, box)
Just what you want from Shiraz - lots of intense flavor, but little rough tannin.

JS Online:

John W. Schultz, November 24. 2004, Wine Squire (2003 vintage, bottle)
Delicious, Spicy berry character with the much desired brambly character you might get from a tart wild blackberry add in some nice spicy leathery. The finish is lush with firm rustic tannins. This gets my pick as the best California Shiraz for under $10.

Article - A Toast to the Tasty Turkey!

S.H. December 15, 2004, Wine Enthusiast magazine (2003 vintage, bottle)
Rating 84. A Best Buy. Fresh and jammy, with youthful acidity, and very dry. Full-bodied and clean. Try with pizza, burgers and BBQ chicken.

Wine Enthusiast Magazine - Wine Ratings & Reviews: Review Details

Bon Appetit magazine, November 2004 (2003 vintage, bottle)
This vibrant, bargain-priced Shiraz packs bright fruit flavors.

Delicato Vineyards

Mike Dunne, December 10, 2003, Sacramento Bee (2002 vintage, box)
The wine is dry, light, fresh and shot through with the varietal's typical blueberry fruitiness. It's smooth and so adaptable it will fit right in on the buffet table.

Dunne on wine: Winemakers think inside the box

Mike Dunne, Fine Living (2001 vintage, bottle)
The 2000 version of this wine cleaned up on the competition circuit. The 2001 looks cut from the same cloth, boasting the kind of fresh berry fruitiness and caressing finish that boosted the 2000 to so many awards.

Favorite Things : Grilling out? Here are some wine suggestions : Fine Living

Carol Emert, December 4, 2003, San Francisco Chronicle (2002 vintage, box)
full on the palate and busy, with wide-ranging aromas of toast, cherry, mushroom and black olive. Flavorwise, it's a winning combination of cherry and raspberry, cinnamon and a hint of bittersweet chocolate. It's a well-made wine with an extended finish.

Box wine is getting better all the time

Chris Sherman, July 27, 2005, St Petersburg Times (2002 vintage, box)
Rich, sweet nose of spice and cedar and a taste of raspberries and cherry glaze.

Taste: Uncorked: Think inside the box

S.H., November 15, 2003, Wine Enthusiast magazine (2002 vintage, bottle)
Rating 90. A Best Buy. The grapes for this impressive Aussie-style Shiraz, from Lodi and Clarksburg, are ripe; the palate boasts has rich flavors of cherries, black raspberries, blueberries and plums. Feels succulent, with a smooth texture and a long, sweetish finish, but it’s perfectly dry. At this price, you can’t go wrong.

Wine Enthusiast Magazine - Wine Ratings & Reviews: Review Details

Rod Phillips, September 10, 2003, Ottawa Citizen (2002 vintage, bottle)
A well-priced California Shiraz in a classic New World style: Full-bodied and juicy with gobs of dark fruit, gamy and smoky notes and hints of spice. It's lightly tannic for drinking now with all kinds of red meat dishes that have light to moderate seasoning.

Worlds of Wine: So many vintages to choose from

Robert Parker, July 2003, The Wine Advocate (2002 vintage, bottle)
85 POINTS . . . one of the biggest surprises of my tastings...

Delicato Vineyards

October 2003, Wine & Spirits magazine (2002 vintage, bottle)
Exceptional Value . . . About as jammy as an $8 wine can dare to get, this simple, irresistible shiraz has a lush core of deep blueberry fruit that doesn't draw away from its sunny disposition.

Delicato Vineyards

Bernard Ledermann, July/August 2002, Buffalo Spree (2001 vintage, bottle)
This is a light and eminently drinkable Shiraz. Shows soft tannins and abounds in blackberry flavors and peppery spice.

Buffalo Spree Magazine

W.E., December 1, 2002, Wine Enthusiast magazine (2001 vintage, bottle)
Rating 85. A Best Buy. On the nose, jammy black fruit, particularly black grapes, shines out from under oak and nut accents. Medium-full on the palate, with chewy plum and blackberry fruit, and an undercurrent of herb that continues on through the finish. A perennial good-value wine.

Wine Enthusiast Magazine - Wine Ratings & Reviews: Review Details

Rick VanSickle, March 17 2002, Calgary Sun (2000 vintage, bottle)
Blackcurrants, cherries and plums ... it’s hard to beat this shiraz for the price. A very nice, spicy wine that will even improve in the bottle.

California dreamin’

W.E., October 1, 2001, Wine Enthusiast magazine (2000 vintage, bottle)
Rating 87. A Best Buy . . . full on the palate and busy, with wide-ranging aromas of toast, cherry, mushroom and black olive. Flavorwise, it's a winning combination of cherry and raspberry, cinnamon and a hint of bittersweet chocolate. It's a well-made wine with an extended finish.

Box wine is getting better all the time

Anthony Dias Blue, Essential Wine Guide, (2000 vintage, bottle)
Ripe, sweet blackberry fruit leading to a long, clean finish.

Essential Wine Guide at

Rick VanSickle, March 17 2002, Calgary Sun (2000 vintage, bottle)
Blackcurrants, cherries and plums ... it’s hard to beat this shiraz for the price. A very nice, spicy wine that will even improve in the bottle.

California dreamin’

Josh Wesson, November 11, 2006, The Splendid Table (transcribed from audio) (unknown vintage, box)
Delicato makes an insanely good Shiraz from California . . .
The Splendid Table

Reviews in blogs:

Box Wine Guy, December 10, 2004, Box Wines blog (2004 vintage, box)
Our Rating: 8.5 out of 10 . . . A powerful scent of spicy cherries practically bursts from the wine as you pour it. The flavor is a bit more subtle, tasting of blackberry and cherry. Overall, the flavor is balanced and quite smooth. The finish lingers with a fruity spiciness. The start and finish of this wine are so wonderful that they overshadow its pleasant flavor.

Wines » Delicato Shiraz 2004

Todd S. Wilder, June 22, 2004, Wilder on Wine (2003 vintage, bottle)

The color is a deep garnet with purple overtones (or are they undertones… I can never remember).

The first sniff of the bouquet is spicy, with berry fruit that smells just a little baked (which can happen with warm-climate grapes). Simple, spicy. With time in the glass that blows off for the most part, leaving spicy black cherry and jammy blackberry.

On the palate, it’s a rich and heavy red that’s lifted and balanced by almost enough acidity and more than enough pepper. The fruit flavors taste ripe and sweet enough to work wonderfully with anything off the grill (but don’t think the wine is sweet – it’s a dry/no residual sugar red). While the finish may not break any distance records, it lasts way longer than that of most $5 wines.

2003 Delicato Family Vineyards Shiraz

Daniel Rogov, June 10, 2004, Rogov's Ramblings (2003 vintage, bottle)
Dark cherry-red, medium-bodied, with an appealing berry-cherry personality and just enough hints of spices and oak to keep you interested. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 85.

Strat's Place - Daniel Rogov - Tasting Notes

Steve, April 1, 2006, Steve's Ten Dollar Wine Challenge blog (transcribed from audio) (2003 vintage, bottle)
Delicato 2003 Shiraz In tasting this wine there's not much in the nose. It's got sort of a tart cherry smell; with a sort of black odor not unlike the burnt water logged sewer like aroma you get when walking through the charred remains of a house that had caought fire and had its flames doused with a fire hose. Hints of burned matress and the melted plastic housings of home electronics devices with dark cherry, smoked trout, and ozone. The smell of this wine says "brace yourself." The flavor is slightly sour and cherry like, with a rather nice spice finish reminiscent of black pepper. However, once the pepper taste dissipates, there is a lingering, blood-like aftertaste of rust; the taste I'd expect if the wine had come in a steel can. I've noticed the same flavor in canned green beans and stewed tomatoes before, and I have to say, I'm not very fond of it. This wine is just awful. The flavors are just really off. It's so awful, that I dumped 3/4 of the bottle down the drain; and i'm not one to dump bottles of wine down the drain.
Steve's Ten Dollar Wine Challenge: Challenge 1: Syrah, Shiraz, Shazam!

S. Duda, Wine X magazine (2002 vintage, bottle)
A great effort was made to find a new, super-cheap favorite red. The reigning champ? 2001 Yellowtail Shiraz (six bucks!!!). The contenders? Well, the 2002 Yellowtail vintage and the 2002 Delicato California shiraz. . . The Delicato ($5.99) has gotten tons of press touting its big plum and blueberry flavors. It is, indeed, a yummy wine.

Wine X Magazine

Mike McQueen, February 27, 2006, Life on the vine blog (2001 vintage, bottle)
I like the 2001 vintage, if you can get it. If not, grab the first bottle you see on the shelf. It sells for under $6 most places, and it is without a doubt the best buy for the money of any red -- or white -- wine. It downed a glass or two with a pepperoni pizza.

Life on the vine

Randy Buckner, November 24, 2001, Robin Garr's Wine Lover's Page blog (2000 vintage, bottle)
A very fruity, jammy wine striving for over achievement. Look for mint, smoked meat and vanilla notes. Very approachable now. 85/88.

Wine Lovers' Page/Bucko Rates New Releases

Added on 2/27/07:
J, February 27, 2007, Ashley's Bog Secret blog (unknown vintage, box)
. . . it was great! It reminded me of the kind of wine that people in Italy Spain and France to drink very day. It is not expensive. It is good and it goes beautifully with food.

Ashley's Big Secret Blog: Boxed In

Added on 3/22/07:
Sonadora, March 14, 2007, Wannabe Wino blog
On the nose, I get an overwhelming sweet, dark fruit scent. So blackberries, but more in their candied forms. And sugar plums, rather than fresh plums. My first impression is that this is going to be a sweet wine. As it sits in my glass I get an underlying chocolate aroma. In the mouth, there is dark fruit and a little bit of spice. It's not as sweet as I expected it to be, which is a relief. I can't seem to distinguish which dark fruits are coming through. It's smooth and easy to drink and I have to keep in mind that averaging it out, it costs less than $5 a bottle. The wine is not complex, but I wouldn't really expect that at the price point.

Wannabe Wino: Box Wine

Added on 4/16/07:
vaaccess, January 7, 2007, Wine.woot! Forum
Fifth and far down the list is the Delicato 2005 Shiraz. Holy cow is that stuff sweet. I'd rate it a 72.

Woot Wine: The Community: Woot Wine Requests?

Reviews in stores & newsletters:

P.C., The Wine Source (Baltimore MD), August 23, 2006, Unfiltered (2005 vintage, box)
. . . this is very good wine. And, let me tell you, I hate having to admit that. I truly wish this wine sucked so I could let my bias against the stuff on the outside of the box win. Instead, I’m forced to admit that if you’re looking for Syrah from California, then you could do much, much worse than this wine.

winemail issue 17, August 23.p65

Randal Caparoso, Novus Vinum online wine guide (unkown vintage, bottle)
This could very well be the best wine sold for under $8 in the world as we know it. It positively exudes the best qualities of the grape—sweet, violet perfumes, touches of ginger and cracked peppercorn, and black and blue berries in the nose. Once you’re hooked, it proceeds to slap you across the palate—full, yet amazingly soft and sensuous flavors suggesting the ripest black cherries, plums steeped in pepper, and even an exotic touch of pomegranate.

Dreams of Velvety Reds

July 8, 2002, Professional Friends of Wine online wine guide (2001 vintage, bottle)
Dark color; Dense, complex, sweet, young, grapey, tutti-frutti, black fruit, blackberry, raisin, gamey, oak, tar, dill and mint (onion?, bleach?) aromas; clean, ripe, juicy, black currant, blackberry, mincemeat, mineral and slightly musty flavors; smooth, light, thin body (diluted?); good balance, slightly sweet, slightly tart; flavorful, drying, slightly hard, slightly tannic finish. 13.5% alcohol. Although this wine has a slightly tannic finish, it has good flavors and is fairly easy to drink. It is neither exciting, nor offensive, which are much better stats than most wines in the price range. ($5) BEST BUY

Barbecue RedsTasting Notes | Professional Friends of Wine

Speakeasy Jazz, Winston-Salem (unknown vintage, unkown package)
Dense purple hue that coats the glass with its intensity and richness. The aroma unfolds with blueberries and plums and finishes with nuances of oak. This is a full-bodied wine with amazing depth and complexity revealed in layers from blueberry to blackberry and leather to earth. The tannins are soft and rounded and dissolve into a lingering plum and spice finish.

Speakeasy Jazz | Winston-Salem, NC

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