Putting boxed wines to the taste test

HOUSTON Some think it may be time to give boxed wine a chance.

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?

"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," Maxine Siegel, Sensory Group Manager for Consumer Reports Magazine, said.

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 $4 per bottle. But, were they good?

Consumer Reports Magazine 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," Siegel said, "and they had a bit of overripe fruit, but for a casual party, they would fit the bill."

The Chardonnays offered more reason to celebrate. For $25, try the black box Monterey County 2007. Experts found it to be quite good.

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

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

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