In my perfect dream world, I would live close to a good, not-too-fancy winery where I could stop by every week or so to fill up a few glass bottles of wine from a large communal casket. This would be my everyday house wine, the wine I would drink while making dinner, as well as serve on all but the most elaborate of occasions. A good, decent wine that doesn't cost a bundle, with the recycling of the bottles and the visit to the winery an added bonus.
This situation doesn't (currently) exist but I've come up with a substitute that will get me by in the meantime: Big House Red (or White) Box Wine.
Big House Wine Company is located in Soledad, CA just a stone's throw from a State Correctional Facility, hence the incarceration theme that runs through all of the winery's offerings. They make wines by the bottle but it's their boxed version that has caught my attention. I keep a box each of Big House Red and Big House White in the house at all times. Why? Let me count the ways.
Taste: These aren't fancy wines, or ground-breaking, innovative wines either but they are really good for everyday drinking. The white is dry and slightly floral with a nice crisp finish. The red is juicy and slightly spicy, with a touch of fruit. Both go beautifully with almost everything I cook and eat.
Price and Availability: At $19.95 per 3L box (equivalent of four 750ml bottles) it's a bargain. Here in the Bay Area, it's possible to find them in several grocery stores, including Safeway and both Berkeley Bowl locations. BevMo caries them as well.
Packaging/Eco considerations: No glass bottles mean less shipping weight. I'm not crazy about the plastic bladder but weighed against the impact of four glass bottles, it comes out ahead. Plus the plastic bladder shrinks after each pour, thus keeping the exposure to air at a minimun. I've never had the occasion to test this, but apparently the wine will keep for six weeks once opened. The cardboard container is easily recycled.
The spigot takes some getting used to, but once you've figured it out, it's easy. And for those occasions where plopping a box of wine in the middle of the table won't do, I've acquired a few lovely wine decanters.
I like the frugality and practicality of my Big House Box Wine. It may not be the most romantic/aesthetic solution but in some ways, for my life at least, it's the most down to earth and honest response to the times I'm living in. And when an occasion does warrant an actual bottle of wine, it's that much more special and merrier by contrast.
For More Information: Visit the Big House Wine Company's website.
Do you drink boxed wine? What's your preferred brand?
(Image: Big House Wine Company)