Black Box Wines: More to Like? Yes and No

black box pinot-noir-hamIf you’re like me and you want great wine at a great price, sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince. (Though, as a positive-type person, I don’t tend to write about most of the frogs because I like to concentrate on recommendations, not warnings.)
Anyway, when the Black Box Wines people asked me if I’d like to sample their wines, I remembered trying some good ones years ago. Between their samples and visiting friends, I’ve tried two whites and two reds in the past few weeks. What I like about all the boxed wines is that they really do last for weeks, since there’s no aeration to start degrading the wine quality immediately (which is what happens with wines in bottles). Also, each box contains the same amount as four bottles of wine, so there is some saving in $$ as well as in manufacturing and shipping.
But how are the wines themselves, you ask? I liked the 2013 Pinot Noir (around $20/box) because it’s what you would expect from a reasonably good California Pinot. Made with grapes from several California regions (78% pinot noir, 21% syrah, 1% “dry red” whatever that means), it has strawberry and cherry flavors augmented by some green leafiness, along with acidity and mild tannins — meaning that the wine pairs well with many different types of foods. A medium-long finish, too.
What about the Chardonnay, Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon? At various gatherings, people seemed to like them but I was unimpressed. They all lacked balance and complexity, and I, personally, would not go back for more. Stick with the Pinot Noir this season…