I’m a booze expert & tested best value boxed wines… two top supermarket choices give you THREE times as much as a bottle | The Sun09/28/2023
NO longer considered a byword for sub-par plonk, wine in a box has come on leaps and bounds in recent years.
Improvements to bag-in-container technology, which keeps oxygen out to ensure freshness and longevity, mean many vino producers will now package better grapes in this way.
And improved quality and sustainability – combined with good-value price tags – mean today’s quaffers are keener, too.
Add in portability, convenience and the fact that most square tipples keep fresh in the fridge for up to a month if stored upright, and these bargain boxes can offer unbeatable booze bang for your buck.
This month Aldi launched a brand new boxed Merlot containing the equivalent of three bottles’ worth of red wine for just £12.49.
Here drinks expert Helena Nicklin gives us her verdict on a range of supermarket bargain Chateau Cardboard red, white and pink top picks.
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Chardonnay, Morrisons 2022, £14.95 (£4.98/75cl) 13% 2.25L
This cheeky box of Chardonnay is described as fresh and citrusy on the outside of the box but when you swig the white wine inside it’s actually quite rich and flavoursome.
Made in Moldova, it’s not oaky as such, but think vanilla and melon with lots of ripe fruitiness.
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For me it could do with a little zippier acidity, so it’s a bit of a one glass wonder if you are sipping alone, but it really comes to life with food and will be cracking with a chicken salad or roast.
Perfect for: Sunday lunch.
Sainsbury’s House Soave, £13.50 (£4.50/75cl) 11% 2.25L
This sultry supermarket Italian Soave from the north east of the country won’t win any pretty packaging prices for its rather basic boxed exterior, but don’t let that put you off.
The wine inside is a winner. Dry and yeasty with a salted almond tang and a pinch of pear, it is a great all-rounder white that’s made well.
It fits easily in the fridge for a glass on tap anytime, stays fresh for ages and shows off excellent value for money.
Perfect for: Aperitifs with salty snacks.
La Vieille Ferme Rosé, Asda £19 (£6.33/75cL) 12.5% 1.5L
Almost water white, this pale, rose petal pink boxed French plonk from Asda looks and feels elegant in the glass and proves that boxed doesn’t have to mean unappealing packaging. Thankfully the drink delivers too, with an attractive, floral aroma and subtle, strawberry and raspberry flavours.
Well balanced, dry, crisp and clean, this is a very simple but delicious well-made glugger. Ideal for al fresco sipping in an Indian summer!
Perfect for: Carrying to a picnic.
Italian Blush, Tesco £15 (£5/75cL) 11.5%, 2.25L
Less blush and more flush, this boxed Italian rose tipple has a deeper, more orangey pink colour than anticipated in the glass, which potentially hints at a lack of freshness.
On the palate it’s drinkable, with a fairly generic ‘wine’ taste and sweetness that’s a bit disjointed.
Fine as a boxed stand-by to keep in the fridge and a good price, but there is better vino around.
Perfect for: A spritzer with ice and lemonade or as a Kir with blackcurrant cordial.
Asda Extra Special Pinot Grigio Rosé 2022 £17.95 (£5.98/75cL) 12% 2.25L
This box of great-value pink really surprised me – in a good way.
With its enticing ballet-shoe hue, this is an Italian wine that manages to strike the balance between crisp and dry with just the right amount of red fruit splashed in.
It has personality and substance but is light on its feet.
An excellent price for the three bottles’ worth you get too, and definitely a good mid-week, or anytime, plonk pleasure.
Perfect for: Cold cuts, with canapés or just enjoy alone in the glass!
Baron Amarillo Merlot, Aldi £12.49 (£4.14/75cL) 12.5% 2.25L
This new, pocket-friendly Merlot from Aldi is pretty decent plonk for the super low price tag.
A rustic red packed with baked fig and strawberry flavours, with a sprinkle of baking spice, it has a fair bit going on and is not cloying or too acidic like many cheap wines can be.
Cheap, but for the three bottles’ worth of red you get for the money it is nicely cheerful.
Ideal to have in as we get ready to cosy up and the evenings start to shorten.
Don’t forget, even boxed red wine will stay fresher longer if refrigerated, too.
Perfect for: Midweek sausage and mash or burgers.
Jam Shed Shiraz, Tesco £14.50 (£7.25/75cL) 13.5% 1.5L
Big, bold, very ripe and juicy, jam is the word with this wine!
If you like sweeter styles of vino with a peppery, spicy kick, this big ol’ boy from South Australia will bowl you over.
It may get cloying after a few glasses but it does what it says on the tin – or rather, box.
Tone down the sweetness with a chunk of chocolate or some salty cheese and you’ll have the ultimate guilty pleasure pairing.
Fun stylish packaging to keep in the fridge, too.
Perfect for: Telly nights on the sofa with some chocolate.
Banrock Station, Shiraz Cabernet 2021, Sainsburys £19.50 (£6.50/75cL) 13.5% 2.25L
Here’s an awesome Aussie red with a serious purpose: Carbon neutral-certified Banrock Station plant 100,000 native trees and shrubs in Australia every year.
In the glass this Shiraz is dry and really delicious, with yummy coffee bean and dark chocolate flavours balanced by pretty, plummy fruit notes.
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Yes, there’s lots going on, but this box is good value for what you get and unpretentious with it.
Perfect for: BBQs and grilled meat and veg.
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