Perhaps the most popular question readers have put to me since I’ve started the blog is: what is the best boxed wine? This is a tricky question for me to answer, considering I’ve actively avoided boxed wine since college. But, in the name of ‘science’, I figured it was time to throw any wine snobbery out the window, and host a blind tasting party with several popular boxed wines. And, just to make it more fun, I threw in a $12 and $20 bottle of wine I like, just to see how they would show in comparison. So, pouring seven boxes and two bottles into decanters, to conceal their identity, I invited a number of my (non-wine snob) friends over for the tasting. Going with the boxed wine theme, I made chili, and served popcorn and Cheetos.

The contestants were: Big House Cabernet, Black Box Cabernet, Franzia Merlot, Hardy’s Merlot, Naked Grape Merlot, La Vielle Ferme Red, Vin Vault Cabernet, and the two unnamed bottles – a $12 Merlot and a $20 Cabernet.

A great time was had by all, though I don’t think I’ve ever used the spit bucket quite so much. One friend mocked some of the wines pretty relentlessly – one of them was: “if Chipotle sold wine . . .” while another was “not bad for a tailgating wine.” That said, I cannot mock the boxes too much – as neither of the two bottles came out in first place on any party-goers list (including either mine or my husband’s).

And the winner is…  well…

The results, overall, were surprisingly varied. In a lot of the tastings we host, there are clear winners and losers that span the group, but here it was hard to pick a consensus winner or loser. Even my husband and I ranked the wines very differently, which is unusual for us. So, I figured I’d just give the results, so you can draw whatever conclusions you like:

Heather (me):Box wine 3

  1. Vin Vault Cabernet
  2. $12 Bottle – Merlot
  3. $20 Bottle – Cabernet
  4. Black Box Cabernet
  5. Naked Grape Merlot
  6. La Vielle Ferme Red
  7. Franzia Merlot
  8. Hardy’s Merlot
  9. Big House Cabernet

Jordan (the husband):box wine 7

  1. Hardy’s Merlot
  2. $20 Bottle – Cabernet
  3. Franzia Merlot
  4. $12 Bottle – Merlot
  5. Big House Cabernet
  6. Vin Vault Cabernet
  7. La Vielle Ferme Red
  8. Black Box Cabernet
  9. Naked Grape Merlot

Party Average:box wine 4

  1. Black Box Cabernet
  2. La Vielle Ferme Red
  3. $20 Bottle – Cabernet
  4. Vin Vault Cabernet
  5. $12 Bottle – Merlot
  6. Franzia Merlot
  7. Hardy’s Merlot
  8. Naked Grape Merlot
  9. Big House Cabernet

If you’ve done blind box wine tastings, let me know your results. And if you haven’t, plan one – it was an amazingly fun party. So, pull out the cork. Sorry, I mean, pop off the seal, tag #10KBottles in your wine party fun and let me know which box is the winner at your party.

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