Not Your Grandfather's Box Wine

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Box wines have come a long way in the past few years. Some of them actually taste pretty good. And you can’t beat the price. For this month’s Sacramento magazine (now on newsstands), wine columnist Elaine Smith tasted her way through six examples of the genre. Here are her tasting notes:

Pinot Evil Cellars Pinot Grigio/Pinot Blanc blend ($12.99) 
Juicy honeydew aroma, appealing on the palate. Clean, long finish. In general, the white wines I tried from a box were significantly behind the reds in quality. This white blend was the best of the lot.

Hardys Shiraz ($14.99) 
Huge aromas, pure Australian, ripe, jammy berries with plenty of oaky vanilla, cedar, caramel.

Bota Box Shiraz ($16.99) 
Smells like Lodi Syrah; jammy blackberry, toasty, even-raisined. Soft, comfy mouthfeel, juicy on the palate. Finishes with a swig of prune juice and molasses.

Black Box Wines Shiraz ($18.99) 
Cooler-climate California Syrah. Less velvety and ripe than the Bota Box, this Shiraz shows cranberry, cherry and herbal aromas. Nice balance and fine structure.

Bota Box Old Vine Zinfandel ($16.99) 
Smells like Zin! Nice, brambly red raspberry and tobacco, a tad sweet on the palate, short finish and soft tannins. Will play nice with barbecue sauce.

Target Wine Cube Cabernet Sauvignon ($17.99)  
Real Cab! Cassis, chocolate, a rich aroma with herbal complexity. Mouth-filling flavor and texture, clean and fruit-forward. Short finish with tannins so tame, they’ve got newspaper and slippers in their mouth.