As far as I am concerned box wine, or as it is sometimes called “bag in the box” wine, has been getting a bad rap.
Words by Greg Landman
One of the soubriquets by which it is called in SA we definitely cannot use in Country Life, but other catchy names are Chateau Neuf Du Papsak and Chateau Cardbordeaux, much loved by the box brigade.
But the sales of these wines are rising rapidly–one that is making winemakers pay attention. Some SA winemakers are reporting an annual 34% rise in the volume sold compared to last year.
The Drinks Business (UK) reports 212% growth on Amazon there with the trend being compared to the cork versus screwcap shift. One of the reasons of course is that we are living through tough financial times and those of us who love drinking wine are having to cut the cloth to fit as my grandmother used to say.
The other is that many of these wines are really good and not to be sneezed at. The 3 litre boxes offer good, very quaffable wines at prices that range from R21 to R27 a bottle which one cannot match when buying bottles singly. The Robertson Chardonnay is even partly wooded and is a delicious wine to knock back when you are looking for citrus tang with subtle vanilla notes from the oak—delicious. Their Chenin is equally gorgeous with plenty of unwooded charm to make it a favourite companion poolside.
The Drostdy Hof Claret Select is perfect for those who like their wine with a soft edge with some complex berry flavours. All the boxes fit perfectly in the fridge and if you like taking wine with you to restaurants but would not be seen dead walking in with a box, do what friends of mine do—keep a screwcap empty and decant some to take with you. We just pour ours into the water dispenser in the fridge and tap it off as we need. Drought? What drought?