Battle of the Boxes ~ Round 1 ~ Herding Cats Merlot-Pinotage Western Cape, South Africa

I hear it all the time; folks declaring they are NOT wine snobs. So much so they freely admit to drinking wine with screw-caps! Imagine my confusion when I hear these same people turning their wine-snob noses up at boxed wine, with out even taking a sip.

Something I want to clear up;  the wine isn’t actually in a box it’s in a bag; the box is there to hold up the bag.  I took a quick look in my refrigerator; this is what I have in plastic bags: carrots, turnips, lettuce and grapes; ok, enough said.

Herding Cats Merlot/Pinotage

I live in a boating community where box wine is a staple on board. The challenge is to find a box wine that folks will be willing to serve at home as well as on board.  In this series “Battle of the Boxes” I am going to try one ‘box’ of wine at a time, I’ll  pass judgment on the quality of the wine upon first opening, and then again after being open for one week. I’ll also comment on the packaging, how sturdy the box, the bag and the spigot are. The battle ground here is not which of these wines is better then the rest, but rather will the box win us over and allow us to embrace it as a packaging alternative to the bottle.

Herding Cats Merlot – Pinotage, Western Cape, South Africa

First Sip

This wine opens up with herbal aromas and dark fruit flavors on the palette. There is a bit of spice on the finish, but not overt. The addition of the Pinotage to the Merlot brings in a bit of earthiness to this blend.  If you enjoy Carménère, you may very well enjoy this Merlot – Pinotage blend.

Second Sip ~ 1 week later

I sensed sweet-tart aromas and smooth dark fruit mid palette. The finish still has bits of spice; all very much the same as my first sip. The packaging kept together, the bag and spigot are sturdy. The spigot isn’t a push-type, but more like a little faucet that we turn to release the wine. I stored this octagon box on a shelf in my wine cellar, it was very convenient to pour directly into a carafe and bring the carafe to the table to serve.

Winner of Round 1~ Herding Cats. Why? Because if the crowd continued to go back to the cellar to refill the carafe; I think the wine won.

80% Merlot | 20% Pinotage | Alcohol 13.5% | Retails $24 3L | Available in 750ml bottle for $8

Thank you to Octavian Home Wine Bar, Folsom and Associates and Winemakers Pieter Carstens and Adam Richardson for providing the wine.


About Wine Everyday

Eileen Gross is a 1983 Graduate of Fordham University and retired Financial Professional and Founder of Phillips Charitable Foundation, Inc. Annapolis, Maryland. She is wine lover, traveler, and collector who shares her wine experiences with private wine tastings and on her blog “Wine Everyday." She is a member of the Society of Wine Educators, The Wine Century Club and a contributor the former
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6 Responses to Battle of the Boxes ~ Round 1 ~ Herding Cats Merlot-Pinotage Western Cape, South Africa

  1. Laura says:

    I’m a huge proponent of boxed wine–there ARE good ones out there, and they’re so much greener than bottles! Have you tried Bandit or Black Box? Also, Gato Negro now offers some of their wines in larger boxed versions

    • Thanks for your input Laura,

      I’ve tried Black Box Sauvignon Blanc, but thought it was way too acidic. I’ll need to try the others you suggest.

      Stay tuned for Round 2 & 3.. more wines on their way!

  2. Renee says:

    Love this idea! Great series and I look forward to reading more. Great commentary in the opening paragraph too:)

    • Thank you Renee! I’ve got two more ‘boxes to battle’ thru..
      Have you had any boxed wine you enjoyed? I’d love to hear about it!

      • Renee says:

        Gosh, it has been a while! But Target had a red wine blend I enjoyed while camping a couple summers ago. Other than that, I have not been brave enough, even though I know they have come a long way since Franzia!

        • I generally don’t purchase box wine because it’s just toooo much wine. 4 bottles in 1 box. And I don’t like drinking the same thing everyday, but when I have a house full of people, having a box or 2 on hand can help.

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