So what wine did I bring to go along with bugs and hot dogs?
You might be surprised to discover I brought Pepperwood Grove Old Vine Zinfandel–a wine in a box.
Now before you turn up your nose, hear me out.
We do a LOT of camping. We go to Burning Man. We gather with friends for BBQs at the beach. We go off road for hours and hours on end to get to a remote campsite or hot spring. We are SERIOUS campers.
And I am serious about wine as well–even when I’m camping! After all, that’s when we really eat well and we have time to relax and enjoy ourselves, the view, the evening air…For proof, see my page Wine Staycation where we saved tons of money by camping out so we could eat well, and drink fabulous wine, most of it from Australian importer Grateful Palate. Or read about the wine tastings I held at Burning Man in 2009!
So when I was offered a chance to participate in a twitter tasting of some boxed wines, I thought, sure, hey, twitter tastings are fun to follow and see what people say and interact, plus it’s free wine, and wine in a box (which I admit I wouldn’t try otherwise), plus it’s more ecological, and if it’s actually good, we wouldn’t be dealing with bottles when we go camping. Count me in!
Unfortunately, the wine didn’t get to me in time for the twitter tasting (my sister signed for it at my mom’s house and didn’t tell me it had come!) So I’ve been looking for a good opportunity to try it myself and to get the opinions of others too.
So I opened it up The Big Green Box of Old Vine Zinfandel on Friday. Super simple so far! And it tasted just fine too! Except my friends couldn’t believe that I’d brought a box wine. They wanted to know what I was drinking, what was I really drinking, what was really in my glass.
Friends, I really was drinking the wine from the box. And I really did like it. It tasted good. It may not be close to the best zin I’ve ever had but it’s certainly not the worst.
I liked how easy it was to deal with. Bottles are ALWAYS getting knocked over on camping rips.
I liked that it’s a more sustainable way to deliver wine; I even convinced my eco-conscious friends– and several of them work professionally as eco-do-gooders! You see, according to the box, the box itself is 100% recyclable, it takes less energy to produce the box than to make 4 glass wine bottles, and because it’s lighter weight, it uses less fossil fuels to transport.
We enjoyed it with hot dogs and rack of lamb on Friday night and hot dogs and pork loin on Saturday night. The box kept the bugs out! And the wine will keep much longer too–the box claims it will keep up to four weeks after opening.
So how exactly did it taste?
Not to dis another wine, but, one friend who passed on the box wine for the open bottle of syrah? She tasted my glass of box zin and wanted to trade. I told her to just dump the syrah and drink what she wanted. It wasn’t that the syrah was bad, mind you, it’s just that this zin is surprisingly good.
So good that several bottles of wine were opened and people didn’t finish them–they went back to the The Big Green Box Old Vine Zin!
What do I like about it? To me, it has character. It’s earthy, meaty, husky. Sometimes a zin can remind me of an older, graceful woman who smells of cecil bruner roses and violets. This Old Vine zin is a half back–a half back smoking a pipe, tossing back a caramel or two. He’s a gnarly dude. He’s graceful, like a half back needs to be, but he’s not delicate.
This is a red wine to bring to a tailgate party, a BBQ, a camp out, the cabin. It goes great with woodsmoke and rustic food. I’d take it to the next spaghetti dinner or pizza fundraiser.
And even though it’s in a box, know you’ve got the toughest wine in the room with you. For $20, or $5 a bottle, I don’t think you can beat it.