By which I mean Bota Boxes, by which I mean I’m reviewing the two wines I’m throwing into the Bolognese I’m making this afternoon. Because I
have a lot of time while this sauce cooks can. Because these wines seriously look like they’re juice boxes. Also, because box wine has come a helluva long way from Franzia.
To start off with, the 2010 Bota Box California Pinot Grigio, as presented to you in Glowing Sunlight Bright-o-Vision:
Region: California (not any particular region in California, but people, this is a $4 carton of wine. It’s pretty impressive that it’s got even a California appellation)
Grapes involved: Pinot Grigio
Cost: $4.00 or so
Food pairings: I typically do Pinot Grigios with lighter pasta dishes, especially in the summer. That being said, this is a wee tiny box of wine, and I’m throwing 90% of this into my cooking. *That* being said, this wine is good enough that it doesn’t need to be consigned to the kitchen.
Rating: (DUDE IT IS A BOX WITH A RATING(!)) 84 from Wine Enthusiast. This wine has been on a ton of Best Buy lists. It’d also be a good, cheap Thanksgiving wine for the Chardonnay and Riesling haters out there.
The scent here is vibrant and strong, slightly citrus-y without being the grapefruit bomb of most Sauv Blancs. There’s some minerality here, as well, and a definitely sense of acidic dryness.
Flavor-wise, there are some pears and citrusy flavors (mostly lemon), topped with bright acidity. There are a few hints of peaches and something sort of tropical (pineapple-ish, honestly), and then something that’s definitely rocky. It’s highly acidic in that way that activates your saliva glands, meaning it’s a good bet for pairing with food. The aftertaste has a sort of oaky moment that I’m not sure what to do with, but that fades out and turns into apples as it goes away.
Next, the 2009 Bota Box California Cabernet Sauvignon, in slightly-adjusted-for-but-still-glowy Bright-o-Vision:
Grapes involved: Cabernet Sauvignon
Cost: $4.00 or so
Food pairings: Well, you know, it’s a Cab Sauv. It likes steak. Or cheddar. Like, it kind of rocks with a good sharp cheddar mac and cheese. And, you know, it’s good for cooking.
Rating: 85, Wine Enthusiast
This, like all drinkable reds, needs a few minutes to open up. Once it does, it’s predominantly bright red cherries and some spice of the allspice/nutmeg variety, with a hint of earthy woodsiness in the background. There’s even a touch of a sort of caramel note to the woodsiness.
Tasting, it’s a lot of cherry and nondescript berry with a bit of green olive, a touch of wood and some warming alcohol (that blends nicely into the cherry). It’s a fairly soft Cab – there’s decent structure in the tannins, so it’s not going super velvety, but it’s not scrapy or harsh or tooth-and-mouth-drying either. The aftertaste is some kind of awesome combination of cherries and bright red Macintosh apples which lingers for two-three minutes or so before fading off. This is, following current trends the way one would expect a box wine to do, a very fruit-forward Cab – the fruit hits first and lingers longest.
So there you have it. Box wine can be totally good, and that’s before I’ve bothered getting into the 88-point, Lodi-appellated Malbec and Zinfandel that Bota makes (which I drink for realz, y’all).
I’ll be slapping the Bolognese recipe up here later complete with more bad pictures, but I figured I’d give you the wine review now. Because with a 6-hour sauce, I’ve got plenty of time to write.