Best Boxed Red Wine: Top 5 Blends, According To Wine Experts

If you’re looking for a red wine that’s wallet friendly, easy to store, and lasts longer once opened than bottled wine, then boxed red wine is what you want to shop for. There’s a misconception that boxed wine is of lower quality than bottled, but we’re about to shatter that prospect. We searched the web to find the consensus best boxed red wine, according to wine experts, and we’ve listed them here for you.

Being a red wine drinker, you’re probably looking for the best red wine to sip, but you may also be looking for reasons to affirm that your beverage of choice benefits your health. Well, we’ll do you one better, research points to red wine aiding in your health. Research shows that red wine drinkers benefit from increased gut microbiota diversity. The study out of London set out to investigate the effects of red wine, white wine, cider, beer, and liquor on the gut microbiome and overall health of 916 U.K.-born female twins. Results show that red wine drinkers’ gut microbiomes were more diverse than participants who preferred other forms of alcohol. That’s right, red wine drinkers’ gut microbiota contained a larger number of different bacterial species compared to other participants. Researchers believe it is the polyphenols in red wine that is the cause of this beneficial diversity. And that’s just one of the five areas of research backing your choice to indulge in a nice glass of red. View the four others here.

Don’t you wish that rather than sweating in the gym and fighting the mental battles that come with dieting, you could just sip some red wine and enjoy the same benefits? Well, hold that thought, because research reveals that a compound in red wine gives similar benefits as both! Scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have found that a compound in red wine has similar health benefits to following a low-calorie diet and exercising regularly. But, there is a caveat: The researchers found that the compound resveratrol is effective at preserving muscle fibers as we age, though they warn that red wine only offers a minimal amount to drinkers. Red wine, of course, cannot completely replace those healthy lifestyle habits.

Now you may be even more excited to fill your glass. Below is our list of the five best boxed red wines, according to experts. Of course, we want to hear from you. Comment below to tell us which boxed red wine lands in the number one spot on your list!

Bota Box wine on store shelves
Bota Box wine on store shelves (Photo by The Image Party on Shutterstock)

The List: Best Boxed Red Wines, According to Experts

 

1. Bota Box Cabernet Sauvignon

Bota Box is doing something right, taking two spots on our top five list, though they do have some competition from another big-name brand in the boxed wine business as you’ll soon see. And as you would probably guess, Bota Box wine is made in California, where the Delicato Family Vineyards were founded back in 1924.

Esquire writes, “This one is plenty fine. In general, Bota Box tends to have a stronger collection of wines, but narrowly, Bota’s Cab Sav is one of the fullest of the boxed Cab Savs, coming in right below Black Box… which is saying something, because this varietal tends to lean sweet in boxed form for some reason. To quote what I announced to no one after two glasses, ‘I’m here for a long time, not a good time.’ What I meant is that I don’t expect this wine to knock me on my ass, as it’s a bit thinner and unassuming. This is a great wine for, say, a party where you’d like to share your box.”

“Another big guy, this cabernet is redolent of blackberry; cherry; firm, assertive tannins; and an undercurrent of oakiness,” writes Consumer Reports. “We’d take this camping: It has a similar warming appeal as the organic malbec but feels a bit more down-to-earth. One of our tasters said it has a lovely lingering finish. This might not be the most highbrow cab you’ve ever had, but it’s perfectly serviceable. Our ideal food pairing with this unassuming wine? An all-beef hot dog, with or without the works.”

Tasting Table writes: “Bota Box is another boxed wine you can find in most major grocery stores, and it’s for good reason — the wines are good! In fact, the brand is regularly included in Wine Enthusiast’s annual list of best buys, and they’ve accumulated more than 50 gold medals for taste. So when you’re looking for a solid, crowd-pleasing cabernet sauvignon, you can’t go wrong with Bota’s version…The flavor profile is fruity with a hint of spice, including notes of blackberry and black currant, with an aroma that includes peppercorn, making it a bold and robust wine with a touch of sweetness.”

2. Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon

Black Box is surely one of the most recognizable and well-known boxed wine makers. What you may not know is that Black Box is owned by Constellation Brands, Inc. And it’s not the only wine product in their portfolio, they also own Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois, Blackstone, Estancia, Ravenswood, Jackson Triggs and Arbor Mist.

Total Wine writes, “Black Box Wines Cabernet Sauvignon is full-bodied, displaying enticing aromas of black currant, toasty oak, and a hint of vanilla. Ripe blackberries and chocolate fill the palate with balanced tannins that lead to a soft, lingering finish.”

Esquire mentions: “This is, arguably, the box I would choose to consistently have around if I wanted a glass of wine at the end of the day. Where some wines may be subtle, Black Box has an established flavor, good depth, and a solid shelf life. (About three weeks, baby!) The box feels a bit plasticky to me, but that’s just because I’m more of a matte guy. Sue me.”

Reverse Wine Snob explains the brand’s history: “When the Black Box Cabernet was first introduced it was sourced from Paso Robles, California. As demand grew that sourcing was changed to all of California. Then just a few years ago that sourcing was changed again, but this time to the Central Valley of Chile. None of this is necessarily bad (Chile makes some really excellent Cabernet Sauvignon) but it demonstrates an issue that all box wines must face — how do you maintain quality and supply in a growing market while still maintaining your price point? Vintages vary every year, sometimes drastically, but demand does not…One solution to this is to do exactly what Black Box did and try to maintain a high level of quality by changing the sourcing of their grapes. Another solution would be to raise prices. As it turns out, Black Box has, in a way, now done both.”

3. Bota Box Nighthawk Black Rich Red Wine Blend

And here’s Bota’s boxed red blend to take another spot on our list. The Nighthawk Black branding, according to their website, means that the wines are “bolder, richer expressions of top varietals, backed by the renowned quality and eco-friendly packaging of Bota.”

Bota Box Nighthawk Black Rich Red Wine Blend
Bota Box Nighthawk Black Rich Red Wine Blend (Photo by botabox.com)

Wine Deals writes, “Bota Box Nighthawk Black Rich Red Wine Blend. This California red blend will enchant you with its dark fruit-forward flavors of blackberry and its notes of bittersweet chocolate. The medium bodied vintage pairs beautifully with dishes that offer up some heat, like a spicy beef curry or a spicy jalapeño and bacon flatbread.”

According to Esquire, “This box is deeply, deeply important to me. Whereas the House Wine is just a damn good glass of red, the flavor profile in Nighthawk is more complex. And while some boxed wines come in a bit thin in taste, Nighthawk is rich and full-bodied in a way that its competitors just can’t stack up to. And that’s a tough task, because boxed wine is notoriously easy to stack. Let’s just say I wouldn’t have guessed this came out of a plastic tap.”

Wine O Mark writes: “Bota Box is one of the largest brands for boxed wine. And their Nighthawk Red Blend is perfect for red wine lovers who love a smooth texture and dark fruits. You will get aromas of ripe dark fruits, with hints of blackberry and black blueberry. On the palate, there are flavors of juicy plum, blackberry jam, chocolate, and a hint of baking spices. The finish is smooth with subtle notes of oak and spice.”

4. Franzia Dark Red Blend & Chillable Red Blend

Bota and Black Box couldn’t secure all five spots on our list. They’re popular, but Franzia, believe it or not, is the biggest name when it comes to boxed wine. Going by wine volume sold, Franzia has been the world’s most popular wine for 24 consecutive years. Not too shabby.

Franzia Dark Red Blend
Franzia Dark Red Blend (Photo by franzia.com)

 

Taste of Home writes: “When you think of boxed wine, who doesn’t think of Franzia? This classic brand got high marks for its value. A five-liter box (most boxed wines are only three liters) costs less than $20 – that comes out to $0.46 per glass! But outside of the amazing price, Franzia’s Dark Red Blend also impressed us with its rich bouquet…Slightly dry, this red blend also gave us some earthier flavors accompanied by subtle notes of currants. During our blind sampling, a few tasters commented on how this wine stood out as being more festive than the others. Something about those dark fruit flavors and a touch of spice had us thinking fruitcake (in a good way!). Sipping this wine, we definitely envisioned ourselves enjoying a glass with friends during a party.”

Franzia Chillable Red Blend
Franzia Chillable Red Blend (Photo by franzia.com)

Esquire asks, “Who says you can’t go home? No, this isn’t my first child, Chillable Red. It’s a dark red blend, and it’s good as hell. But man does it also manage to hit me in that nostalgic college way. It’s fresh, but accessible. I also woke up with a massive hangover, because the danger of boxed wine is that you’re not finishing off a bottle. With a box, you’re wading into I Love Lucy’s falling-out-of-the-grape-bucket territory…This is where I get on my pedestal, which is made out of cardboard, to say that Franzia is a legitimate wine contender. This bolder variation has a fullness without going too far into sweet territory. It also has a buttery tang, adding an interesting layer of flavor that elevates it beyond a run-of-the-mill boxed red. I can’t count the times my friends and I shared an expensive bottle of garbage wine, pretending to care about it, when Franzia would have done the job better.”

“If you haven’t traditionally been a red wine drinker, Franzia’s Chillable Red might be the box that helps make you a believer,” writes Tasting Table. “Having won more than 150 awards since its inception, this light, somewhat sweeter wine is designed to be served cold (hence, its name) and offers a pleasant flavor for sipping on warm days when you want something a little bolder than a white wine or rosé, but you don’t want the heavier notes of merlot or malbec.” And if you’re wondering which occasions this wine will be perfect for: “Believe it or not, the Chillable Red is actually a great fit for summer barbecues — the sweeter flavors balance with chicken served fresh off the grill and a side of potato salad. Or if you’re whipping up a Margherita pizza at home, the tomatoes, garlic, and basil paired with the sweet notes of this wine will feel like a real treat (even if you’re just chowing down while binge-watching Netflix).”

5. Black Box Red Blend

Black Box yet again. This time they round out our list with their tasty, but hard to rank (as you’ll soon read), red blend. Though this may have given experts trouble regarding ranking, keep in mind that no matter which spot it landed in, it still landed on most experts’ lists as a boxed red wine worth purchasing.

Black Box Red Blend
Black Box Red Blend (Photo by blackboxwines.com)

Eat This, Not That! writes: “The Black Box Red Blend moved around a lot while we were making our list. After the first tasting, it was a middle-of-the-pack wine, but after a few more sips it slipped to spot six. The wine had distinct dark berry and spice notes that we thought would have gone well with rich foods like steak or a dark chocolate cake, but just to drink on its own was a little aggressive for our palette.”

“Black Box strikes again with this impressive and delicious blend of their pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon varieties sourced from California, Argentina, and Chile,” writes Liquor.com. “Mildly sweet with notes of cherry, raspberry, earth and blueberry.” And if you’re looking for a red “that can stand on its own. This velvety smooth blend fits the bill.”

Taste of Home writes, “Crowd-pleasing picks aside, the red wine-lovers in our tasting group preferred this blend from Black Box. Pouring ourselves a small sample, we picked up on an assertive aroma. A wine with a bold bouquet certainly had to have an impactful taste, right?Absolutely right! Taking a sip of Black Box’s red blend, we found it to be pleasantly powerful. Considering the spectrum of sweet to dry, this wine was right in the middle, making it a joy to sip on its own. While sampling, we all commented on how this wine was a bit more complex than the others we tried. It took us some time (and a few sips) to parse out the individual flavors, but in the end, we picked up notes of plum, berries, vanilla and a little spice (sounds like an amazing dessert!). The finish of this wine was long allowing us to savor those subtle flavors.”

Editor’s Pick: Bota Box Pinot Noir

“I am no self-proclaimed wine expert in any right, but I do dabble in boxed varieties and feel I can speak on my fav,” says StudyFinds Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton. “The Bota Box Pinot Noir has a mellow flavor that doesn’t punch you in the face like some other Pinots. It also doesn’t seem like it’s super strong, making it easy to have a few glasses without feeling topsy-turvy.”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.

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