Boxxle: Elegant Box Wine Dispenser

Boxxle boxed wine dispenser

Boxxle for boxed wine

We box wine enthusiasts love the good parts of boxed wines: freshness for weeks after opening, minimal storage space, low environmental impact, and better-than-bottle pricing. But we have to admit there are a few annoyances (beyond lacking the satisfaction of extracting a cork). For one, getting the last glass or so out of the box requires extracting the inner bag and squeezing it into a glass. Second, since the wine is dispensed by gravity, the spigot is at the bottom of the box – you either have to set the box on the edge of your counter or table or place it on some kind of platform to pour into a glass. Boxxle may be the answer!

The idea behind Boxxle is simple enough – here’s a video from Kickstarter, where Boxxle founder Tripp Middleton is seeking enough orders to fund their production: Continue reading

A History of Zinfandel

Zinfandels

Zinfandels are perhaps my favorite reds – particularly the big, bold, not overly sweet Zins that combine rich complexity with plenty of fruit. I enjoy Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Chianti, Bordeaux, and many other red wines, but somehow Zins are special. I was delighted to run across a wonderful chronicle of Zinfandel history at the Times & Transcript. I was surprised to learn that its American origins trace to New England before being transported to California in the 1850s. Although its origins seem to trace to Italy’s Primotivo grapes, it is considered an American varietal. Continue reading

ChocoVine

ChocovinePrice: $10
Origin: Holland
Importer: Clever Imports, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Packaging: 750 ml bottle, screw cap
Alcohol: 14%

ChocoVine‘s label promises, “the taste of dutch chocolate and fine red wine.” It looks like a frappucino, or perhaps an Irish cream liqueur in a darker shade. The combination doesn’t sound very promising – I was expecting an evil mixture of Yahoo and Two Buck Chuck. In fact, ChocoVine is more like a liqueur, both in taste and texture. It’s sweet and creamy, with a mild chocolate flavor and a noticeable alcohol bite. The “finish” is a rather cloying coating on the tongue from the cream. Continue reading

Fall Creek Meritus 2006

Fall Creek MeritusPrice: $39
Maker: Fall Creek Vineyards, Tow, Texas
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot blend
Packaging: 750 ml bottle, natural cork
Alcohol: 15.9%
Our Rating: 9.3 out of 10

I pulled a bottle of Fall Creek Meritus 2006 off my shelf without knowing anything about it, other than the fact that it was prominently labeled as a Texas wine. That’s not necessarily the most promising introduction. When I uncorked it and tasted this blend, though, I was surprised in a big way. The wine was very dark garnet in color, and its aroma was mostly spicy with some tobacco and clove notes. The taste is what blew me away. This blend is BIG, with lots of black cherry and blackberry leading into an oaky finish with robust tannins. This wine really expands in the tasting, with a long finish.

Fall Creek describes their Meritus in this way: Continue reading

Asparagus Wine?

asparagusWine makers have experimented with different wines for millennia, but to our knowledge this is the first example of making wine from asparagus. A small Michigan winery, Fox Barn Market & Winery in Shelby, is producing small quantities of wine from the smelly vegetable. Kelly Fox, one of the owners, said the idea came to her when her handed her a tub of mashed asparagus. She added water, sugar, and yeast, and it started fermenting. Fox noted, “It did not smell great.”

After 24 weeks of fermentation and periodic clarification, the asparagus wine is ready to drink. According to Fox, it is very clear and has a “mild asparagus aroma and flavor with a little hint of sweetness.” The story in the Chicago Tribune gives no indication as to whether the mercaptans, the compounds responsible for asparagus’s stinky reputation, are removed during the fermentation process or whether they stay with the wine. Continue reading

Red Wine & Allergies

We’re used to hearing about red wine as the ultimate health food (see Wine and Dementia and Drink Red Wine, Live Longer, for example), but it turns out that there’s one area where its effects may be less than beneficial. Recent news articles suggest avoiding wine, and in particular red wine, if you suffer from allergies. Why? It turns out that red wine stimulates histamines and amplifies allergic reactions. Dr. Charles Owen, medical director of the Heart Hospital of Austin Emergency Department, is quoted in an article on KXAN.com by Kate Weidaw titled Wine could make allergies worse. Owen notes, Continue reading

Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Bogle Cabernet SauvignonPrice: $11
Maker: Bogle Vineyards, Graton, California
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Packaging: 750 ml bottle, natural cork
Alcohol: 13.5%
Our Rating: 8.8 out of 10

I’ve had good luck with Bogle’s inexpensive wines, and Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 is no exception. It leads with ripe cherries, mixed with tobacco, chocolate, and spice. The finish has rich tannins, and the overall structure is very pleasing. For a wine in the $10 range, this Cab is actually amazing. Continue reading

Peregrine Hill Merlot 2006

Price: $11
Maker: Peregrine Hill, Fort Stockton, Texas
Varietal: Merlot
Packaging: 750 ml bottle, natural cork
Alcohol: 12%
Our Rating: 8.9 out of 10

A Texas Merlot? Peregrine Hill Merlot 2006 is just that, and does the Lone Star state proud. Despite having an unusually low alcohol content for a Merlot, this wine is long on flavor. It has a big raspberry and blackberry start, and segues into an oaky, peppery finish with tannins that are just enough to add to the complexity.

This is apparently a product of Ste. Genevieve Wines of Fort Stockton, Texas’s largest winery. From that page,

Their wines universally receive a great reception. The winery’s most decorated wine is the Sauvignon Blanc, a light, dry, white wine. The Ste. Genevieve Chardonnay continues to be one of their most popular.

Tompkins finds their wines fit all occasions. He explains, “The Ste. Genevieve label provides wines which range from casual table wines to those that can accompany fine meals, all at a good value.”

I can agree with the value part. This may not be a wine as big as Texas (few Merlots are), but it’s a good ambassador for the state.