When I’m in full-on entertaining mode, things can become a little stressful right before a party. Between all of the cooking and decorating—and don’t get me started on cleaning—I like to give myself a bit of a break when it comes to beverages. For big families and big events, a bottle or two of red wine just won’t cut it. I’d be uncorking all night! That’s when I like to rely on boxed wine. It’s easy to serve (hello, built-in spout!) and a big box is pretty gosh-darn cheap.
Did you know? Boxed wine can last up to a month in the fridge. Compare that to bottled wine that goes bad a few days after opening.
Recently, though, it seems like the boxed wine section of my liquor shop has expanded. With so many options to choose from, I rounded up a few of my favorite tasting pals to compare five different red blends in a blind taste test. Here are the wines we tried:
- Big House Wine Co. Prohibition Red Blend
- Black Box Red Blend
- Bota Box RedVolution
- Franzia Dark Red Blend
- The Naked Grape Harvest Red Blend.
While we did sip these in a blind test, we did peek at the end at pricing. Here are our favorites:
Best Crowd-Pleaser: Bota Box RedVolution Red Blend
When it comes to red blend wines, you can never be exactly sure what you’ll get. Red wines, after all, run from quite sweet (think of some Zinfandels) to very dry Cabernets. This blend from Bota Box fell on the sweeter side, which in my opinion gave it a broader appeal. It struck the right balance of being a touch sweet (perfect for us Pinot Grigio-lovers) but also having that red-wine richness.
Diving in deep with this wine, we found it had a strong fruity aroma that made us eager to take a sip (or two or three). Taste-wise, we found that this blend had a bold flavor. We immediately picked up on tart cherry and cranberry notes—perfect flavors for the holidays. While bold, this wine was still very smooth and utterly drinkable. We definitely would go back for a second glass, and we suspected most of our guests would, too.
Cost for 3L box (20 glasses): $21.49
Cost per glass: $1.07
Best for Red Wine Fanatics: Black Box Red Blend
Crowd-pleasing picks aside, the red wine-lovers in our tasting group preferred this blend from Black Box. Pouring ourselves a small sample, we picked up on an assertive aroma. A wine with a bold bouquet certainly had to have an impactful taste, right?
Absolutely right! Taking a sip of Black Box’s red blend, we found it to be pleasantly powerful. Considering the spectrum of sweet to dry, this wine was right in the middle, making it a joy to sip on its own. While sampling, we all commented on how this wine was a bit more complex than the others we tried. It took us some time (and a few sips) to parse out the individual flavors, but in the end, we picked up notes of plum, berries, vanilla and a little spice (sounds like an amazing dessert!). The finish of this wine was long allowing us to savor those subtle flavors.
Cost for 3L box (20 glasses): $24.99
Cost per glass: $1.25
Best Value: Franzia Dark Red Blend
When you think of boxed wine, who doesn’t think of Franzia? This classic brand got high marks for its value. A five-liter box (most boxed wines are only three liters) costs less than $20 – that comes out to $0.59 per glass! But outside of the amazing price, Franzia’s Dark Red Blend also impressed us with its rich bouquet.
Slightly dry, this red blend also gave us some earthier flavors accompanied by subtle notes of currants. During our blind sampling, a few tasters commented on how this wine stood out as being more festive than the others. Something about those dark fruit flavors and a touch of spice had us thinking fruitcake (in a good way!). Sipping this wine, we definitely envisioned ourselves enjoying a glass with friends during a holiday party.
Cost for 5L box (34 glasses): $19.99
Cost per glass: $0.59
Here’s The Secret Trick to Making Any Wine Taste Better
Taste testing can be tricky business. It’s rare that our panel ever comes to any unanimous decisions, however tasting these wines, we all were in agreement about our top three picks. Overall, we’d happily sip any of these delish boxed wines – Bota Box, Black Box or Franzia – at the next holiday hoopla.