Boxed wine continues to tiptoe toward improvement, with the folks at Octavin offering some decent wines in considerably more handsome packaging. These three-liter boxes fit more easily into your fridge but still promise to store your vino without it breaking down for up to six weeks.
2008 Monthaven Chardonnay is not a big success. Thin and lightly oaky, it’s chardonnay-lite, with a tepid body, some random tropical fruit character, and a sort of meat-like finish. The Central Coast wine will do in a pinch, but it’s not something to cozy up with alongside your sweetie as you gaze at the sunset. Think party wine. Frat party wine. C-
2008 Big House Red is surprisingly a far bigger hit, actually. A blend of just about everything (see the review of the 2007 Big House Red for a sampling) from all over California, this one comes across far more successfully than its pedigree would imply. Balanced, with mild spiciness, light acid, and a solid core of fruit, it’s even got complexity through smoky wood notes in the mix. Pushing an A-, but still on the upper edge of B+
$22 per 3 liter box