Thinking Outside the Box 

Not all box wine is bad wine


To my way of thinking, the best buy in wine for everyday consumption doesn't come in a bottle, it comes in a three-liter box. I'm not talking about the cheap, nondescript box wines that line some grocery shelves. Most of those lack the flavor or character that makes me want to come back for more, but for the still bargain-priced equivalent of about $6 a bottle, you can find some eminently quaffable gems. Here are a few favorites that are warm-weather and patio perfect.

NV La Vieille Ferme Rose, $26; 2014 Arrumaco Garnache Rose, $25

While no grape varieties are listed, the French La Vieille Ferme blend typically relies heavily on grenache (aka garnacha), which would explain the striking similarity between these two wines. The Spanish Arrumaco is a little darker in color, the La Vieille Ferme a bit more intense on the nose. Both are fruit forward and as charming as they are refreshing with cherry and berry fruit flavors. The French rose adds a little orange zest to its crisp finish, while the Spanish version finishes smooth and creamy. It's hard to pick a favorite.

2014 Shania White, $20.00

This wine from the Jumilla region in southeastern Spain is a blend of sauvignon blanc and malvasia, though you won't find that information on the label (or on the Internet, for that matter). It's a beautifully floral wine with bright citrus and melon aromas along with a touch of clover. Fresh, ripe citrus dominates the mid-palate, colored by spicy apple up front, and followed by soft melon and peach. I'll be drinking it all summer.

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