Janelle's favorite affordable wines

March 19, 2009 4:16:39 PM PDT
Spencer puts Janelle's boxed wines to the test!

WINE #1

French Rabbit wines
Website: www.frenchrabbit.com

Background on French Rabbit
From France, the most traditional wine-producing country, comes a forward-thinking innovation for an environmentally-conscious world: French Rabbit, vintage-dated, appellation-specific French wine in unique 1 Liter octagonal-shaped packaging with screw-top closures and label-free packaging. French Rabbit offers premium quality, consistent, South of France wines from sloping hillside vineyards, inviting consumers to "savor the wine / save the planet." Indeed, it is one smart rabbit. Our mission is to be the market leader of quality wine in innovative and environmentally-friendly packaging. Our family has been growing wine for two generations, so preserving the planet has always been important to us. While sustainable vineyard practices were already in use, we are delighted to add environmentally-friendly packaging to our repertoire! French vineyards are abundant with our furry four-legged friends. These rabbits represent French rabbit's drive to produce premium quality wines in environmentally friendly ways.

French Rabbit Pinot Noir
Winemaking Notes: 2004 was an excellent vintage for this grape in the western part of the Languedoc region, near Limoux, France. The fruit is sourced exclusively from sloping hillside vineyards where cooler temperatures provide excellent growing conditions for Pinot Noir. After a cold pre-fermentation that lasts several days, the wine undergoes alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel vats for 2 weeks. The daily extraction is soft in order to keep the freshness of the fruits and to find the best balance between structure and aromas. The grapes undergo a cold temperature pre-fermentation maceration before starting a two-week-long fermentation. Gentle punchdowns help extract soft tannins, flavor and aroma compounds, resulting in a balanced wine with a long, silky finish. After malolactic fermentation, the wine is aged for 6 months.

The nose of the Pinor Noir reveals an elegant yet earthy bouquet of fresh red raspberries and strawberries. It pairs great with grilled salmon or pork.

About French Rabbit
French Rabbit is owned by Boisset Family Estates, which has released wine in innovative packaging. Some wines are packaged in PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic with an oxygen-barrier that removes oxygen and protects against light, ensuring exceptional quality. PET is the most recycyled and recyclable plastic out there. Less waste, less energy, same quality. The bottle is lightweight, shatterproof and convenient!

For more information: www.boissetfamilyestates.com

WINE #2

Black Box wines
Website: www.blackboxwines.com

Background on Black Box Wines
Ryan Sproule founded Black Box Wines, in 2002, based on the belief that true wine lovers are more concerned with the quality of the wine than the cosmetics of the bottle. A former high technology sales consultant and engineer, Sproule was inspired to produce a premium boxed wine after discovering the concept in Europe. European and Australian winemakers have been selling fine wine in boxes for years and are able to offer consumers a great value in countries where wine is a part of everyday life. Upon his return to the United States, Sproule was surprised nobody was selling fine wine in box and Black Box Wines was created to meet this need. In January 2003 Black Box released its first wine - a 2001 Napa Valley Chardonnay - to much fanfare and acclaim.

Black Box is proud to say it released America'sfirst premium 3L Box Wine. It outsells all other premium boxed wines in the U.S. as measured by dollar volume. Black Box wines consistently receive critical acclaim and are lauded for the fact the wines are such great quality, at such a great price and stay fresh for four weeks after opening. To date, Black Box has received 10 Gold Medals and been the recipient of 9 Wine Enthusiast Best Buys.

California Merlot, $24.99 (or the equivalent of $6.25 per bottle)
The California appellation allows the Black Box winemaking team flexibility in sourcing high-quality fruit from multiple regions throughout the state. Thus, the winemakers can target wines with specific flavor and ensure the highest quality wine year over year at the best price. The Black Box California Merlot features intense flavors of plums and black cherries. This wine is a great accompaniment to lamb, pork tenderloin and beef and chicken fajitas.

WINE #3

Bandit wines
Website: www.threethieves.com
Phone: 1.866.JugBoys

Background on Bandit Wines
For years, wine lovers in other parts of the world have fearlessly enjoyed wine in practical Tetra Pak aseptic cartons. Leave it to a bunch of thieves to steal the idea and bring it to North America. Tetra Pak technology offers many benefits over traditional glass wine bottles. The Bandit wines are produced by the Three Thieves. The original Three Thieves-Joel Gott, Charles Bieler, & Roger Scommegna have been "liberating fine wine all over the world" and bringing it to wine lovers everywhere since 2002. Known as much for their innovative packaging as for what is in it, the Thieves have attracted a loyal following by delivering quality & value while making wine more approachable for everyday enjoyment. Bandit has also just released its 500 ml version. At half the size of the 1 liter Bandits, they are adorable, great for spring outdoor activities and dinner for 2 at home when you don't want to open a whole bottle.

Bandit Pinot Grigio
Clear, brilliant and light straw in color. The aromas are of citrus, apple, and pear with citrus and apple in the mouth. The body is light and crisp, with perfect balance of sweet and tart.

About the Wine Cube
Bandit is owned by Trinchero Family Estates, which has partnered with Target to develop the Wine Cube. It's available at over 700 Target stores across the country and is a fun alternative to bottled wine. Easy to stack, pack and carry, Wine Cubes are perfect for entertaining and on-the-go gatherings-picnics, family reunions, tailgates, barbecues, holiday parties and more. The eco-friendly packs are constructed of durable, renewable resource materials, ideal anywhere that glass containers are not suitable. Wine Cubes are currently available in two sizes: 3-liter and 1.5-liter. The 3-liter Wine Cube holds the equivalent of four bottles of wine while the 1.5-liter Wine Cube holds the equivalent of two bottles of wine. An innovative ramp evacuation system within the cube ensures that the wine is never exposed to oxygen and makes it possible for the wine to last four weeks after opening, guaranteeing that every drop is as good as the first.

For more information: www.target.com

The benefits of box wine, according to Black Box Wines:

Freshness
The 3L box offers a "single serve" choice without the added expense of single serve bottles. Wine drinkers can enjoy a glass of wine at any time without committing to an entire bottle. Unlike bottled wine, box wine does not go bad a few days after opening. The bag-in-box package keeps the wine fresh for at least four weeks after opening.

Value
Consumers today are looking for quality and affordably priced products. Black Box offers premium wines that are available at far less than the cost of its traditional bottled counterparts. These wines are the perfect choice to have on hand at home, when you want a great quality glass of wine and don't want to worry about opening and consuming an entire bottle or, for a party, when you need to entertain many.

Portability
The box is light and small and there is no glass to break. Each box contains the equivalent of four bottles of wine and is very compact. And for those who enjoy active outdoor lifestyles, it's now easier for consumers to enjoy wine when picnicking, camping, boating and attending concerts in the park, to name a few.

Eco-friendly
For shipping, alleviating glass bottles significantly reduces the weight and the shape allows the wine to be packed more efficiently. This results in a reduced amount of fuel needed to ship the wines. Also, when the wine is gone, consumers can easily recycle the box and the interior bag.


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