Boxed Wine Savings

Consumer Watch Several factors add to your enjoyment of a glass of wine, besides the wine itself, of course. There's the ritual of uncorking the bottle ... and how about the pour?

So, dare someone suggest you get your next glass of wine ... from a box?

Maxine Siegel said, "Some people might have to get past the image of wines coming from a box, because in our blind taste test we found some very tasty wines that came packaged that way."

Consumer Reports' Maxine Siegel says one big reason not to turn up your nose at boxed wines is the price. The wines in their tests worked out to be as little as four dollars a bottle. But are they good?

Consumer Reports had wine experts taste-test boxed wines, not knowing they came from a box. They evaluated some chardonnays and some merlots ... five in all. The merlots were not quite as good as the chardonnays.

"The two merlots weren't very complex and they had a bit of overripe fruit, but for a casual party, they would fit the bill," said Siegel.

The chardonnays offer more reason to celebrate. For 25 dollars, try the Black Box Monterey County 2007. Experts found it to be quite good.

But the Banrock Station 2007 was even better ... for only 19 dollars a box. And the best, by a nose, turned out to be the Fish Eye 2007 ... and the least expensive at only 16 dollars a box.

So the next time you're choosing wine, it may be time to start thinking inside the box.

Another advantage of wine in a box is that once opened, it doesn't turn as quickly as an open bottle of wine.

But keep in mind the packaging does allow some air exchange, so storing the chardonnays in your fridge may help extend the wine's life.

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