Battle of the Boxes – a boxed wine review

Well, this is one thing I thought I’d never do. A BOXED wine tasting/review (and a blind tasting at that)! Oh how my life has changed… but in a good way (the way I always finish this sentence since moving to Costa Rica, because it’s true).

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When we first moved here, well even BEFORE we moved here, we had entertained the idea of cutting out all wine, beer, liquor from our diet completely. One of the reasons we were moving to Costa Rica in the first place was to live a healthier life style, and with our new frugal budget in mind (after we had both quit our jobs), this just made sense. The day after we had moved to Costa Rica, we were in the grocery store – picking out items to start stocking our kitchen with. We found ourselves in the wine/liquor aisle (hey, the paper towel was in that aisle as well!), and Greg mentioned that we should buy some wine and celebrate making the move to Costa Rica!

I kindly reminded him of our scratching-all-alcohol-plan…

IMG_1178He pulled out a box from the shelf and said: “But Jen – look at this box of ‘Clos Wine’ – 1 liter for just $5! We deserve this, just this once!”

I sweetly mentioned to him that if we started buying wine on our first trip to the grocery store, it would be too easy to keep buying it, and not so easy to stop…

Greg, in full cuteness acting mode now:

“Jen, it’s Clos but no cigar.”

“It may not be wine, but it’s Clos.”

“Don’t look now, but I’m coming out of the Clos-et…”

How could I say no? He had me totally cracking up. Now we HAD to try this stuff called Clos.

I’ve never been one to swirl my wine in my glass, or sniff it too much before sipping. But I did know enough to recognize that I preferred a Sauvignon Blanc to a Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir to a Cabernet Sauvignon. I also have been known to really like the “girly wines” – Beringer White Zinfandel (BWZ!) and Chateau St. Michelle Riesling being my fav’s.

In actuality, I was surprised that the box of Clos White Wine (Vino Blanco) was not so bad. It smelled okay. It swirled okay. It tasted okay. (Okay, so maybe I was becoming a wine connoisseur – of boxed wine!). I could drink this. Not the best, surely; but very drinkable – a good table wine.

After Holy Week was over earlier this year (Holy Week in Costa Rica translates to = not being able to by wine/beer/liquor ANYWHERE for one whole week; even in the grocery stores, the whole aisle is roped off), we noticed that the Clos wine prices had jumped up dramatically. So we switched to a different boxed brand that was cheaper, and tasted just fine. Just last week we noticed a NEW boxed brand in the aisle, and it was even cheaper than the previous brand we had been drinking, so we decided to try it.  So – here you go, with the help of my hubby – 4 different brands of boxed white wine (they also come in red) tasted and reviewed by yours truly.

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IMG_11781. CLOS
Made in: Chile
Cost (1 L box): c2,790 ($5.58)
Alcohol: 12%
 
Jen’s taste review:
Smell: apple smell, but not too fragrant
Taste: not bad, not too sweet, bright taste
Overall: not bad at all, like it
Guess: Clos or Peñasol
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
IMG_11792. UVITA
Made in: Argentina
Cost (1 L box): c2,000 ($4.00)
Alcohol: 12.2%
 
Jen’s taste review:
Smell: smells pretty good, apple, white grapes, pineapples
Taste: good, crisp taste, like a fresh cut apple
Overall: really like it
Guess: Uvita
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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3. DON SIMON
Made in: Spain
Alcohol: 11%
Cost (1 L box): c1,500 ($3.00)
Date on top of box: Nov. 27, 2013 – hmmmmm…
 
Jen’s taste review:
Smell: not good, smells like rotten cardboard…
Taste: sour taste almost, not sweet or crisp, okay but the smell hurts it
Overall:  Don’t really like…
Guess: Don Simon
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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4. PEÑASOL
Made in: Spain
Cost (1 L box): c2,928 ($5.85)
Alcohol: 12%
 
Jen’s taste review:
Smell: not much of a scent, very lightly of apples
Taste: more dry, a bit of sharpness to it, not too sweet
Overall: pretty good, but not preferable
Guess: Definitely Peñasol

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, bottom line – I guess I really know my boxed wines, as I was able to guess them all (why does this make me really happy?).  Of course – these are just my preferences…  but anyone with any sense, I’m SURE would agree with me – Uvita is the best!  And ALMOST the best deal, at just $4 a liter!  So here’s my pic’s, in the order of my preference:

1.  Uvita
2.  Clos
3.  Peñasol
4.  Don Simon

At the end of the wine tasting, we poured all four wines together and toasted to my wine tasting.   The combo deal actually tasted pretty good.  Well, what wouldn’t after all that wine tasting?

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Cheers (another toast!)! — Jen

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Jen

I quit my job in my early 40’s, sold everything and retired early to live a simple life in Costa Rica!

Check out my book: "Costa Rica Chica" - the book.

Check out my Arm Candy: Costa Rica Chica Arm Candy.

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30 Responses to Battle of the Boxes – a boxed wine review

  1. We agree–Uvita is best!!!!! And we’re happy you’ve managed to find a way to be healthier with an alcohol inclusive diet!!!

  2. This is so funny! Could you please do us a favor? You tried all the white wines, could you please do the same for the reds and let us know what you think of these? We’d appreciate your expertise as an up and coming wine connoisseur. Looking forward to your “review”.

  3. Adorable article!!! Never tried Uvita but based on your professional recommendation … I thought it was a critical touch that you sampled the box wines using plastic cups — the photos are wonderful too. Looking forward to the red test.

    • Oh yes! A nice touch indeed (since we only have 3 “real” wine glasses, and seem to break them as fast as we buy them, we have reverted to drinking boxed wine out of plastic cups)… 🙂 You can find Uvita at the Maxi Pali. Red will be next!

  4. Loved this but I am Clos for life! We tried the Uvita once and didn’t really like it. Thinking we might have gotten a bad batch. We’ve noticed about the price of Clos too. Luckily our little store in town is still selling it for like 2500, so we stocked up!

    • Well, Clos was my 2nd choice – I really do like the Clos too, but with the Uvita being so much cheaper (and me liking it just a bit sweeter and crisper) – it is my winner right now. 🙂 Duly noted on the Clos – when y’all come to visit, I will have Clos on hand (and Imperial for Matthew?? noticed his shirt on your picture the other day. lol).

  5. Haha I showed Joyce this article, she really enjoyed it because she actually loves the Clos wine! But now we’re going to go find the Uvita one, never seen it before but we’re on the hunt 😀

    • Awesome Samantha! I do like the Clos, but the Uvita is better (and cheaper) – a win/win! Let me know if Joyce tries it and what she thinks!

  6. Where we live (Atenas), I have not seen the Uvita or Penasol. But we have the Clos.
    Wish I could find a good Pinot here, at Auto Mercado its EXPENSIVE for what would be a cheap one in Calif.

    • Agreed on the Pinot here!… 🙁 However, I had some excellent wine the other week (including a pinot noir) at some friend’s of ours – it was such a special treat! 🙂

  7. I an not a wine drinker normally, but when I come in September, I will try Clos and Uvita. Can you tell me if there is a Reisling equivalent that is decent—I like my wine very sweet if I drink it at all. Great picture of you. Put a nice one of your husband with the red—–fair is fair!!!

    • Mary – thank you! I have not had a Reisling here (I like a good Reisling!), most of the normally priced wines here are from Argentina and Chili. Will do on the red – I was already thinking of that (plus Greg is a red-only wine drinker, so he’ll be my guinea pig!). 🙂

  8. Thanx for doing that hard, dirty work for us Jen! :p lol

    I noticed you listed the date that was on the box of Don Simon, but not the others. Just curious as to what the “hmmmmmm” meant about that. I am not a wine connoisseur either, but I always THOUGHT (possibly mistakenly since I know nothing about this W.T. business…) that wine got better with age…(as do women, but I digress!)…..

    Please edjamakate me on that part of your blog Jen.

    As always….love reading your blogs…. I soooo need to go catch up. Vacay to the USA put me behind on reading you and Greg’s blogs, and I really enjoy them!

    CIAO! <3

    • Thanks Jeanie! There was ONLY a date on the Don Simon box (none of the other wines had dates on them), and that date had nothing else by it – so don’t know if it was “sell by” or “drink by” or “take off shelf by”?? No clue.. but since the date had PASSED, maybe that’s why it tasted so bad?? No clue! lol But interesting, huh?

    • Yes I do Ed, and yes I drink that – very good! Will be doing a red taste testing next (will involve Greg too, as he only drinks red – not white (wine snob)) – stay tuned! 🙂

  9. Hey, Costa Rica Chica,

    This is so funny, because I came across your blog while doing research on boxed wines in Costa Rica for Insidecostarica.com.
    I am the Community Reporter for Perez Zeledon. The wine scene in
    Costa Rica is kinda sketchy, and being a relatively new arrival,
    it’s been challenging to find a good, inexpensive wine. Thanks for your suggestions — I’ll continue to follow you online.

    Carol Vaughn

      • Thanks Jen,

        I found two more options here in Perez: Casa de Troya,
        Argentina, red or white, c2,350 per liter or
        Burgherrn Rotwein (Red) or Burgherrn Weisswein (White),
        c2,600, mixture of European wines. Try them sometime for
        kicks, and watch for my report next week in ICR. Thanks!
        Carol

  10. Hi Jen,

    My story is quite similar. First visited in 91, bought and moved the family there (Rohrmoser) in 95.

    Became very disenchanted with the new administration in 2010, and moved south in 11.

    If you haven’t visited Chiriqui, the people are just as nice and the COL is about half. Your Clos is just over 3 bucks, no VAT either.

    Great blog!!

  11. Liked your review. Amazing how a celebratory boX OF wine evolves into taste testing 4 boxes! We drink the Clos since we are on a budget as well after quitting corporate jobs and moving to Panama. Going to look for the Uvita down here and give it a SWIRL. Enjoy yourselves a little. We have cut back too, You only live once and that statement works on both sides of the drink or not to drink argument. Imbibe but in moderation so you can imbibe longer. CHEERS.

  12. Pingback: I Love You, Costa Rica - Costa Rica ChicaCosta Rica Chica

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