I’ve been exploring wine quite a bit recently (that’s not code for just getting drunk, though it could be), and trying out more of my mom’s fave Cameron Hughes (click here for $25 off your first order), perhaps encouraged by last year’s press trip to Loudoun County, VA with a total wine guru. When I heard about CalNaturale, a California certified organic wine packaged in eco-friendly Tetra Paks, I was more than happy to give it a shot.
Wine in a box is getting a better rep, but like screw-on tops it’ll be quite some time—if ever—for box wine to compete in the classiness category with bottles. That said, you really can’t complain about the portability, ease, and taste of many boxes, and once it’s in a wine glass you wouldn’t know the difference anyway.
At least, my co-testers didn’t. “Wait, this is the box wine? Tastes better than the other one,” said one of the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, which has won six gold medals in wine competitions, including a gold at the 2011 World Value Wine Challenge. The Cab is from French Camp Vineyard in the Paso Robles Appellation. The tasting notes say berries, spicy black currants, and a hint of French oak. My opinion is that it’s full-bodied without being too much.
Chardonnay isn’t really my cup-o-wine, as it were, but the 2009 CalNaturale Chardonnay is a silver medal winner. Tasting notes say it has a hint of vanilla from lightly toasted oak; shows fruit to the end with ripe apples, pear, and a hint of citrus. I taste a refreshing, apple-y white—definitely drinkable. It’s cultivated in Mendocino County.
Both wines are available in 500ML ($6.99) and 1L ($12.99) at HEB, Whole Foods, and other wine and grocery stores. The medals don’t lie … I’d highly recommend the Cab for a value wine (and/or for camping, boating, sporting events, and the like)!