Sure, there are plenty of screwcaps and synthetic corks out there slowly taking over the world of wine bottle closures, but have you seen anything really innovative lately in wine packaging? Perhaps it's time to think "outside the bottle" and re-think the box. No, not the downmarket cardboard box that houses those insipid grocery-store wines from the Central Valley. I'm talking about a beautifully designed wooden box in the style of oak Bordeaux crates--and a wine inside that an enophile can appreciate!
I met last week with a charming young Frenchman, Eric Dubourg, who founded Wineberry America LLC in 2001. His website had caught my eye in featuring the Wineberry Box, his "eco-friendly wood box made from sustainable forests in Bordeaux." I was immediately curious; we had to meet. When I first saw Eric entering the door to my shop carrying two Woodberry Boxes, I was convinced they must be miniature replicas of the real thing, since I knew from the site that each box contains the equivalent of 4 bottles of wine--3 liters! Even after Eric had opened a box to reveal the air-sealed plastic bag inside, I remained incredulous. It is just unbelievably light and compact! We've simply never fully realized the volume and weight of glass bottles.
But what about the wine inside the box? That's the crucial factor here, after all. Is there a winemaker of any decent wine taking part in this revolution? We tasted two of Eric's 5 wines currently offered in box (more soon to follow) and they each passed my test. First the 2008 Chateau du Chatelard Bourgogne Blanc, a crisp Chardonnay for those who prefer the varietal without the butterscotch. Then we poured a red Bordeax, the 2007 Chateau Moulin de la Roquille, Bordeaux Cotes de Francs. A nice blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc aged 12-18 months in French oak, it too was highly drinkable, indeed enjoyable. Eric had a new believer!
Both wines in 3L Wineberry Boxes are available for purchase at my shop in Bronxville, NY, Wine Gems @ Perriello's, or online at http://www.winegems.net/. Perfect for your next party or for summer picnics with friends, but there's no need to wait. These wines are perfect for everyday drinking and they'll keep once opened for up to 6 weeks! As it says on the adorable wooden box, "Saving the world, one box at a time!"