Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trove Chardonnay 3 Liter Box

Another white wine addition to the list of bag-in-box wines:

Trove Chardonnay
Trove Wines (Centerra Wine Company, Constellation Brands)
3 liter box, vintage dated
About $19 - $23

2005 California Chardonnay. This stylish, delectable, medium-bodied Chardonnay, produced from choice North and Central Coast grapes, boasts creamy tropical fruit aromas and round, smooth flavors enriched by soft oak tones. Food Pairing Trove Chardonnay pairs beautifully with chicken satay, fried oysters, grilled garlic shrimp, fish tacos, tuna tartar and fettucine alfredo.

Reviews in the Press

Cindy Kibbe, Aug 18, 2006, New Hampshire Business Review
2005 Trove Chardonnay (Madera, Calif., 3L, $19.99): I’ve had premium bottled varietals that were not as good as this box brand. Made from 100 percent Chardonnay grapes, this Trove truly was a treasure. The crisp grapefruit, lime and pineapple flavors were balanced with just the right amount of oak and buttery creaminess.

New Hampshire Business Review

Reviews on the Web

Jerry Hall, August 31, 2006, Winewaves blog
Trove Chardonnay Box 2005 - Tasting Notes: Color: Light golden straw. Roundly textured, rich, somewhat tropical aromas (think pineapple-upside- down-cake), somewhat oak-spiced, this Chardonnay is medium-bodied and has nice concentration. Alcohol content: 13.5%. Excellent value ($18/3.0 Liter = $4.50/750ml equivalent).

winewaves: Premium 3 Liter Bag-in-Box California Chardonnay: Trove 2005 & Delicato 2005

Kirk, August 14, 2007, All Four Seasons blog
Cool box, $18 for 3 liters (or four bottles worth), and a cute name (get it treasure trove???). They even claim to be "premium wine in a box" on their website. I have one word for that--NOT. Maybe I have more words. Never (and I mean never) have I had a worse wine that this. I'm not sure what monkey poop tastes like, but it likely tastes better than the Trove Chardonnay. The color was golden, the nose was putrid, and the taste was unfathomable--as in how the heck do they ever get anybody to try this stuff twice??? My only hope (for the vineyard, that is), is that this wine was cooked, causing me so much derision and (dare I say) pain...

All Four Seasons

technorati tags: , , , , , ,

Boxed Wine and Snob Appeal

From Chicago Sun-Times, February 6, 2006:

Once a joke, boxed wine acquires snob appeal: Tru sommelier

Chicago Sun-Times, Feb 6, 2006 by Janet Rausa Fuller

Avec, the chic restaurant on West Randolph, offers on its wine list what has long been considered extremely unhip: Wine in a box.

But this wine isn't a throwback to the cheesy, blush-colored stuff you may remember when big hair and stonewashed jeans were in.


Though it accounts for only 6 percent of total wine sales at supermarkets, boxed wine is selling faster than any other wine segment, ACNielsen reports. Last July, sales by volume of 3-liter boxed wines were up 77 percent over 2004.

But on the trendy restaurant scene, boxed wine has been almost unheard of -- until now.

"This can open up a new world to people to reconsider the possibilities of wine in a box. Why not?" asked Tyree, who has seen boxed wine at one other restaurant, chef Daniel Boulud's Restaurant Daniel in New York, where a three-course meal runs $96.
Take it from Scott Tyree, sommelier at upscale Tru restaurant, who saw the 2003 Cuvee de Pena on the menu while dining at Avec last month.

His first thought: "I gotta try it."

His next thought, after a few sips: "I was impressed with its richness and complexity. It had a high degree of the yum factor. It was just delicious."

Wine in a box never went the way of big hair and bad jeans. It's only gotten better, experts say.

Experts say there are many things to like about the new crop of boxed wines, which are made from single varietals such as cabernet and syrah, unlike their cheaper cousins made from a blend of grapes. The packaging technology involves a bag within the box that collapses as wine is drawn out, so there's no possibility of cork taint. Because no oxygen gets in, wine in a box keeps longer than in a conventional bottle -- some say at least a month after it's opened.

And consumers get a lot for their money. A 3-liter box is the equivalent of four bottles. The typical cost of a box breaks down to between $4 and $6 per bottle.


A survey in September of high-end wine consumers who drink wine at least several times a week found that 44 percent had recently bought boxed wine.

"It would be a mistake to think boxed wines are for the pedestrian market," said John Gillespie, founder of Wine Opinions, a consumer research firm that conducted the survey.

At Avec, where diners nibble on chorizo-stuffed dates and taleggio cheese foccacia, the 3-liter box is available by carafe -- $10 for about a third of a bottle -- or by the box for $89.

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.

But even Seitan admits boxed wine still faces an uphill battle, especially in restaurants. It's not exactly flying off the shelves at Avec -- they sell about one box a week -- but, he says, "I refuse to take it off the list."

'How do you serve it?'

Alpana Singh, director of wine and spirits for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, says boxed wine just doesn't seem as "service- friendly" or aesthetically pleasing for diners as wine in a bottle.

"The only problem I have with it is, how do you serve it?" she said. "Do you let it hang from the table?" (You do at Avec, if you order the entire box.)

Still, Singh and others say Avec is onto something.

Tyree says even at Tru, boxed wine wouldn't be out of place now.

"For me, it's about quality wine, and if the wine is of high quality and works with the menu, I certainly wouldn't rule it out," he said.

Once a joke, boxed wine acquires snob appeal: Tru sommelier Chicago Sun-Times - Find Articles

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sutherlands Try Boxed Reds

From the Battle Creek Enquirer, Battle Creek, MI, September 6, 2007:

Wine in Nashville
Boxed reds have improved in quality

Last week we reviewed boxed white wines to augment tailgating, but for many fans, red wine might be more appealing - especially in a box.

There are plenty of reasons to go red on game day - to pair with burgers and hot dogs, to avoid chilled drinks once the weather turns cold, or simply because a lot of people just prefer red wine.

Boxed reds are available in a wide range of varietals, and although they did not fare as well in our tasting as the white wines overall, boxed reds have improved in quality in the past few years. And just like the whites, the reds come in unbreakable, vacuum-sealed containers holding the equivalent to four to six standard bottles, making them easy to transport and dispense to the masses (who are supporting your team, of course).

We tasted four boxed red wines. Here are the results:

2005 Delicato shiraz. $18.99/ 3 liters

The aroma reminded us of raspberries, blackberries, cedar, clove, pepper and bacon fat. On the palate, we found flavors of black cherries, tea leaves, lots of tannins and alcohol and a deep, dark coffee finish. This wine was far more complex and better balanced than the others and an obvious choice as our favorite. We thought the high alcohol might appeal to certain tailgaters, too.

Non-vintage Almaden red sangria. $17.49/5 liters

We discovered scents of cherries and lemon/lime soda - like a Shirley Temple. In the mouth, we tasted orange gumdrops and a hint of cinnamon. A sweet blend of red wine and fruit, this wine would be best over ice.

Non-vintage Pinot Evil pinot noir. $19.99/3 liters

The nose suggested lots of cherry, plum, fudge and cotton candy. It was very light-bodied with watery flavors and a vinegary finish. The nose was promising, but the palate was meek.

2005 Free Range red Bordeaux. $29.99/3 liters

In the bouquet, we found scents of ashes, coffee, black cherries, stems and weeds. The wine showed stemmy flavors on the attack and green bell peppers on the finish. This wine did not compare favorably at all with the others.

. . .

Contact Frank Sutherland at Frank and his daughter Kate Sutherland's wine-tasting group consists of representatives from the five wine distributors in Nashville, Tenn., a wine collector, a sommelier and food columnist Thayer Wine.

Battle Creek Enquirer - - Battle Creek, Mich.

Hardys Boxed Wines Reviewed

From the News-Leader of Springfield, MO, August 26, 2007.

Boxed wine cheap, but doesn't taste it

Hardys of southeastern Australia is a major producer of wines in the land down under.

One of the company's claims to fame is the production of really good wine packaged in three-liter boxes, the equivalent of four regular bottles of wine. These boxes are made of heavy cardboard with a plastic bag inside that is filled with wine and sealed. At the bottom of the bag is a pouring spigot.

The wine can be kept in the refrigerator or on a shelf without any deterioration problems from oxidation for an incredibly long six weeks. The boxes also are a great way to carry your wine to a party, barbecue or out to the lake.

The wines from southeastern Australia are similar in style to the wines of California's Central Coast: full-flavored, fruity and very easy to drink. To us, the Australian wines have a bit of a mineral flavor in the background which enhances the drinker's enjoyment. Putting it simply: Hardys wines are good, sound table wines. They are the type of wines that you can serve every night with dinner without fracturing the budget. While they are affordable, they are not cheap in quality. Hardys offers an excellent value for your wine-buying dollar.

- Hardys 2006 South Eastern Australia Shiraz (three-liter box/$18.99): Shiraz is about as Australian as zinfandel is American. It is the signature wine of the land down under. The grape variety used in shiraz is known as the syrah to the rest of the world. The name and style "shiraz" has become so popular that many other wine-producing countries are now making shiraz wines, including our own. Hardys 2006 shiraz is typical of an Australian shiraz, displaying all of the charm and warmth for which the variety is famous. The deep ruby color heralds an aroma of full and inviting plum, red berry, spices and oak. The flavor is clean and soft with no rough edges or harsh tannins. There are hints of red summer berries mingling with plum, and a soft and interesting oak background. This wine will go exceptionally well with lamb dishes as well as lighter meats and pasta.

- Hardys 2006 South Eastern Australia Merlot (three-liter box/$18.99): The idea of the term "fruit-forward" will make perfect sense to you with the first sip of this excellent merlot. The aromas of plums, blackberries and cedar rise from the glass when the wine is poured. The flavor is a romp of blackberries, boysenberries and plum wrapped in a soft oak robe. The finish is expansive and fruity. To sum it up, this wine at this price is an outstanding bargain.

- Hardys 2006 South Eastern Australia Chardonnay (three-liter box/$18.99). Here is a perfect example of a modern Australian chardonnay, and an example of what can be accomplished with grapes from a fine growing area. The aroma stresses green apples, pears, melons and spice, with oak and vanilla in the background. The green apple and the melon are the most prominent flavors, with an entire collection of tropical fruits lying just offshore. This chardonnay deserves your attention, especially at the price.

- Hardys 2006 South Eastern Australia Cabernet Sauvignon (three-liter box/$18.99). This wine is a full-flavored delight that is further enhanced by a deep, dark, ruby color. The aromas of cherry and blackberry are presented up front and seem to fill the room when the cork is pulled. The flavor is as big and expansive as the aroma and is loaded with cassis, spice and a dusty mushroom flavor in the background. This is a well-made, full-flavored wine that takes second place to none in or around its price range.

Sheila and Bennet Bodenstein of Nixa write about wines each week for the News-Leader. E-mail your wine questions to | Homes