Monday, August 10, 2015

Boxing Match: Bandit vs Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon

We have already talked at great length about how amazing boxed wines are, but when I realized you could get regular bottle sizes (and even half-bottle sizes) of boxed wines, well, I became even more in love.

I first heard about Bandit from some branding publication or other... it had been featured in Amy Schumer's movie Trainwreck (which I have not seen). And really, it's perfect for her. It's basically a big juice box, except the juice has fermented and people are all shitty about it if you hand them to kids.

And I'm a branding geek, so seeing a company embrace boxed wine as part of their central brand offering was pretty fucking funny.

"Here's a wine for people who don't give a shit that they're being judged for drinking boxed wine."


Rachel and I already are fans of Black Box. They were pretty much THE STANDARD in high quality (ok, not shit-quality) boxed wines. I think they were some of the first boxed wines that I tried that I actually liked... given my standards, ok, that isn't saying a whole lot. But they make a decent box of wine.

Their brand promise is delivering bottle-quality wines for 40% less than stuff in a bottle.

And I get it. When they started doing this whole boxed wine thing, they had to break out of the "Wait, like Franzia?" boxed wine stigma.

But those days are behind us!

I think those days are behind us not so much because people think boxed wines can actually be good, but because people (like Amy Schumer) have just stopped giving a shit what people think about boxed wine. And boxed wines can actually be good.

So fuck you, I drink what I want.


Really, no matter what you're looking for, you can find it in boxed wine (unless you're looking for dangerous, dangerous glass).

At first, you could only get wino-sized economy drums of wine. But now, boxed wine has embraced their role as "wine for people on the run" (though I've never brought it running... yet.). They're not constrained by standard bottle and label sizes, so they can get truly whacky.

Need an ocean of wine for the party? Have a huge bladder of wine!

Need a bottle and a third? Hey! Here's that size!

Need a sippy cup of wine? Yes, Black Box can do it.

And yeah, that's a REAL photo from the grocery store, because WE KEEP IT REAL.

The Tasting Itself Was A Trainwreck
It had been a long day full of ups and downs, so I didn't want to wait around to have a glass of wine until I could put on my Groucho Marx wine nose and snob around. Immediately, I did the thing 100% of wine reviewers know not to do: I had two glasses of wine while watching the news.

Why is this a bad idea? Well, first, you get a taste for that wine, whichever it was. It happened to be the Bandit, so I was all "oh, this Bandit is pretty good..." and then I was sad when I had to go for the Black Box.

Instead of finishing off the bottle --ahem-- box, I set it aside and waited around for "golden hour" so I could take my fancy pantalones wine photos:

YES, I am aware that the horizon isn't straight, but that's because I want the lip of the glass to be straight, and it's hard to shoot wine glasses on a car hood.

So, about the tasting, yeah, I pretty much botched it. But I think I can honestly say they were pretty much about the same.


Since I didn't finish the wines (or even get very far along in drinking them at all on Friday), I decided to bring them to Arlette to see if I could get her opinion on them.

And you know what?


The fucking Black Box wine juicebox ripped open in my purse, dumping several perfectly fine glasses of wine right into my purse, staining dang near everything, and making me smell like a fucking winery.

You have got to be fucking kidding me.

I spent all day trying not to accidentally get my purse against my body enough to stain my favorite shirt.

To me, that is a tie breaker.

It's not just a tie breaker, it's a fucking heartbreaker. I had such high hopes for the opportunities on the horizon for boxed wine, and it turned on me.

I felt betrayed.

I felt sad.

Except, well, I still had my Bandit.

So, the verdict is:

Black Box: