Name/Label: Black Box
Type/Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Price Paid: USD$20
Purchase Location: Louisville, CO
I usually consider a bottle of wine a "single serving," because wine is so easily spoiled, and it never lasts more than a couple days even if you have a vacuum sealer, argon, and any of the other wine keepers you can get. But that usually results in getting Real Drunk™, which is not usually something you want to do often. Many companies are taking a hint from the French and starting to package good wines in boxes (actually in plastic bladders inside boxes) not only to save on packaging but also because it keeps wine better. Black Box is one of those. Usually, boxed wine is in the domain of the cheapest-of-the-cheap, but this is different. It is actually good wine.
Cabernet Sauvignon is sort of the acid test, literally, of cheap wine. Bad Cabernet is sour, acidic, tannic, and just plain vinegary tasting. Fortunately, this isn't gross and acidic at all, and in fact has a lot of GOOD qualities of Cabernet; a slight mineral edge, strong preserved fruit, mild acid, and mild tannins.
On the nose, you pick up more alcohol than you taste, but more of a sort of port wine, earthy, leathery alcohol than a "rubbing alcohol" or overly powerful alcohol smell, like you get with cheaper ones. It doesn't burn or tingle, but is just pleasant. Drinking out of a large, wide rimmed glass with my nose entirely inside, it's not bothersome at all. Very strong cranberry and blackberry.
The taste is blackberry jam, balsamic, and a little stewed strawberry, tempered by nice tawny port "aged" flavor, but the largest single note is ripe black plum. The tannic acid is surprisingly minimal, leading to a less drying or burning afternote and more lasting fruits. It's less of a good food wine unless you've got very strong food to go with it, and no sour or acidic flavors because that would clash. I'd say the way I've enjoyed it the most is an after-dinner socializing drink, or with strong aged cow cheeses, or young goat or sheep cheeses. Instead of having port or brandy or sherry after dinner, just switch from whatever dinner wine you've been having to the Black Box and I don't think you'll regret it. And, in 3 liter boxes, you're probably not going to run out. And if you do you should probably lay out some blankets on the floor and let all your guests stay the night. I don't see any reason to not just have this around all the time, especially because I don't ever feel the pressure of drinking more to try to enjoy it the most; I can have half a glass and leave it alone for days.