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Best Boxed Wines

boxed wineDon’t let your preconceived notions about wine packaging box you in, because many of today’s boxed wines are a far cry from the over-produced and under-nuanced plonk of a decade ago. With more producers paying attention to the wine they pack inside these boxes, the quality quotient has been upped, and to boot, the packaging is often environmentally friendly and crafted from recycled and recyclable cardboard, with a carbon footprint at about half that of their bottled brethren. Boxed wines won’t replace those bottles you’re stowing away for a special occasion, but they aren’t intended to be overly complex—they’re easy-going, affordable wines perfect for camping on the beach or lounging in the backyard. Here are five worth giving a shot.

Bota Box Pinot Grigio 2009
Fun and approachable, this youthful California Pinot Grigio shows big minerality on the palate with lively acidity and tropical fruit notes on the finish. The perfect box of wine to have on-hand for impromptu dinner guests, this summery white wine also brightening up dishes like lemon risotto or grilled halibut. What’s more, the boxes are 100-percent recyclable and made with unbleached Kraft paper that’s bonded with cornstarch instead of glue. $19/3 liters

Cuvee de Peña Vin de Pays 2006
This wine is produced in the Southern France near the border of Spain. It’s a juicy blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan and Syrah with a fruity, spicy character. Perfect for a grilled lamb burger. $34/3 liters

Duca del Frassino Cabernet/Corvina 2009
From the century-old Italian wine estate Cantina di Soave comes this red blend of 20 percent Corvina, the grape tasked with producing the famed Amarone wines, and 80 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. Introduced to the American market just a few months back, this punchy blend balances notes of tart red cherries and dark fruits with just a hint of almond on the finish. Pair with red meats right off the grill. $20/3 liters

Duca del Frassino Gargenega/Pinot Grigio 2009
The second boxed wine from lauded Veneto producer, Cantina di Soave, this blend of 80 percent Garganega and 20 percent Pinot Grigio is ripe for easy, summertime drinking. The soft, floral aromas and white peach flavors match deliciously with an afternoon of Italian antipasti. $20/3 liters

Estezargues “From the Tank” Côtes du Rhône 2007
This collaborative French blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan is the brainchild of natural wine importer, Jenny & Francois Selections and Rhone river valley co-op Estezargues. Handcrafted with indigenous yeasts and bottled without filtration and trace amounts of sulfur, this ripe and earthy red is ready for everything from wood-fired pizzas to grilled short ribs. $30/3 liters

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