I’m a huge proponent of boxed wine. I regularly have a box of white wine in my refrigerator for easy access. It’s a great space saver, and they allow me to buy a lot of wine at one time. I love having it and not having to store it elsewhere, or worrying about it becoming oxidized if we don’t enjoyed within a few days. Boxed wines are touted as having a six week shelf life, once tapped and put into action.

I was sent an Email and asked if I’d write about this new DUCA DEL FRASSINO brand from Italy. It’s the first ever Italian boxed wine. I suggested that a box be sent to me, and I’d conduct a six week experiment, similar to what Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher did. The one caveat was going to be that they had six boxes and went back and forth from box one, to box two, to box three, etc., until they had experienced the entire six weeks.  I don’t have that kind of refrigerator space, and the experiment has already been done by a couple of complete pros.

  1. I’m going to talk about what the Garganega/Pinot Grigio is tasting like.
  2. I want to also see if flavors shift from one week to the next.
  3. I also want to taste it six weeks later, and see if the wine’s tired at all, or oxidized.

You can come along for the ride.

Some of their differentiating notes about the wine:

Produced by Cantina di Soave, one of the most prestigious wineries in the Veneto region, Duca del Frassino is the first of its kind to emerge from one of the most important wine producing regions in the world. Two premium wines—Garganega/Pinot Grigio and Cabernet Sauvignon/Corvina—offer high quality, fresh and easy-to-drink blends of noble indigenous varietals. The stylish 3-liter packaging in vibrant green and red respectively is contemporary, eco-friendly and convenient. The built-in spout and handle allows for easy pouring and carrying. Consumers will embrace Duca del Frassino with each box containing approximately 20 glasses of delicious Italian wine, lasting up to five weeks upon opening, and priced attractively at $19.99 –an unbeatable value.

Cantina di Soave, which has been producing premium wines since 1898, incorporates 110 years of winemaking experience with cutting-edge viticultural techniques.  “As the wine market continues to evolve, we recognized that the fastest growing category was missing its crown jewel—the world’s first Italian box wine,” said Enore Ceola, Managing Director of MW Imports, importer of Duca del Frassino (a Division of Mionetto USA, Inc.).  “These wines represent our mission— to showcase premium Italian wine from the Venezie that over-delivers on quality, taste and appeals to today’s discerning wine consumer.”  Duca del Frassino is poised to become the leader in the box wine category with the support of distributors, aggressive PR and Marketing in the U.S. to garner trade and consumer attention.

So, the history and the value is there. Let’s see what we find out about the flavors and the ability for this wine to be fun and approachable throughout the six week time frame.

WEEK 1: January 31, 2010 ~ Opened the box, and found that it’s cleverly packaged for ease of pouring from its tap. I did the nose and found a freshly sliced Pippen apple aroma, lemon/lime, a touch of petrol, and lilies of the valley. The hue has a slight pink tinge to it, given that Pinot Gris/Grigio is a pink grape. This is always a dead giveaway in a tasting when someone pours a PG for you, and asks you to identify the variety. You’re able to say Pinot Gris like a pro, and be pretty sure that that’s exactly what it is. (If you’ve had red wine in your glass, you’re on your own.) On the palate, this wine is very bright, fresh, and a bit tart. It’s the apple and citrus that has overall flavors, and the finish is a long, lingering experience. Very lovely, crisp and clean wine.

I’m going to really enjoy this experiment, I’ve decided. Back next Thursday!

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