Thursday, October 14, 2010

(PRACTICALLY FREE) The Big Green Box Wines from Pepperwood Grove - Wine Tasting & Review (BEST VALUE)

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Original Tasting and Review, opening thoughts:  The Big Green Box wine series from Pepperwood Grove is an interesting new launch from Don Sebastiani & Sons.  It plays to definite themes of sustainability and value.  Sustainability through its low-energy packaging, comprising a plastic bag for the wine installed within a recyclable box made of paper from sustainable forests.  The value theme is associated, quite simply, with the price.  Each box retails at $20 U.S., for three litres - now keep in mind that three litres is the equivalent of FOUR BOTTLES of wine at 750 ml each.  That brings retail price to the equivalent of $5 U.S. per bottle!

In a recent statement, Don Sebastiani, Jr., president and CEO, said "This is a significant move for us.  It is the first box wine we've released, and it's with one of our strongest brands."

All of the wines except for the cabernet sauvignon bear a "California" appellation, indicating that they were sourced from vineyards around the state.  The cabernet sauvignon was sourced from Valle Central in Chile.  Interestingly, none of the wines carry a vintage date.  But so much for the  set-up, let's see what these wines TASTE like!...

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By way of background: This is The Big Green Box Old Vine Zinfandel from California.  No vintage is indicated, and the wine is finished at 13.5% alcohol.

In the glass: This shows as quite deep magenta, even opaque in the middle. 

On the nose: Poured cool and swirled, this California zin brings on a full, classic oak, dark fruit and pepper nose.  Suggests big and bold.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are a smooth mid-palate with solid yields of warm fruit and oaked figs.  Acids curl the thick fruit lightly into your cheeks.  Tannins exist, but don't add significant interest or challenge, leaving the wine ready-to-drink right now.  I guess that is what you would want from a box.

In summary: Overall, excellent, full, rich showing.  Rates three full stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, making this an awesome value at its "practically free" price.

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By way of background: This is The Big Green Box Chardonnay from California.  No vintage is indicated, and the wine is finished at 13.5% alcohol.

In the glass: This shows as light, honey yellow.

On the nose: Poured cool and swirled, this California chard shows light fresh lemon in the nose. 

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are a sweet and toasty smooth middle, mineral and sweet together.  There is a hint of campfire marshmallow, but just a pleasant hint.  Tropical fruit play in the background, behind a sleek, lush veneer. 

In summary: Overall, a full, tasty, rich chardonnay, though not significantly oaked. Rates a strong three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for its balanced gentility, crazy high score for a "practically free" wine.  Obviously a top-of-the-charts best value. 

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By way of background: This is The Big Green Box Pinot Grigio from California.  No vintage is indicated, and the wine is finished at 13.5% alcohol.

In the glass: The pinot grigio is medium yellow with strawberry highlights.

On the nose: Poured cool and swirled, this California - not Italian - pinot grigio sports a clean, low-toned lemon nose, with just hints of dry butterscotch.  

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are a clean, light mid-palate, showing fairly dry tropical fruit and a lightly sweet finish.

In summary: Overall, pleasant, but not particularly distinctive experience.  Rates two stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for its

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By way of background: This is The Big Green Box Cabernet Sauvignon from Valle Central, Chile.  No vintage is indicated, and the wine is finished at 13.5% alcohol.

In the glass:  This cabernet shows as deep ruby.  It is opaque in the middle.  

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled, this Green Box cab shows fresh prune and black currant aromas.  Seems bright.  

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are a mineral-driven full, mid-palate dark fruit, showing rich, smooth flavors of ripe plum with just enough acid to keep the deepness in check.  Tannins are light - this is a drink-me-now cabernet sauvignon.

In summary: Overall, a friendly showing for parties and mid-week meals. Rates two stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with an easy plus for friendliness.


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