WBW 31: Casa La Joya, Cabernet-Carmenere NV

by Tim Elliott on March 14, 2007

I have to confess that this was the most challenging Wine Blogging Wednesday theme for me. When Roger from Box Wines announced his choice of Box Wines & Non-Traditional Packaging I thought this might be pretty easy. My plan was to go up to Solo Vino in St. Paul and ask for their best box wine. I know they have a few well chosen box wines not available at other area retailers. In the past six weeks, however, I have not had a need to go into St. Paul and it seemed a bit obsessive to make the 50 mile round trip just for a box of wine. So I ended up at one of those soulless wine warehouse stores out here in the ‘burbs over lunchtime today and selected the wine I will now present.

My selection criteria here is pretty much the same as normal for more traditionally packaged wines. I look for recommendations and then pick something I find the most interesting from the store’s selection. Roger has quite a few suggestions at his blog and I found some other recommendations at the San Francisco Chronicle. A scan of the box wine aisle at the store I went to turned up dozens of choices, but the most popular were the generics from Franzia and Almaden (mango sangria, anyone?). Of the more “high end” choices I debated between a Hardy’s Riesling or Shiraz-Grenache but held off since they were a full 3 liters and I didn’t need that much cooking wine should it be not my style. That is the root of the challenge here for me and I suspect for a lot of people; we don’t want to take a chance on buying this much wine we might not like. Perhaps that’s the genius of Roger’s theme here… we’ll certainly get a lot of interesting wines to try or avoid this month ;-)

Next in my wine browsing I looked at the Bandit Tetra Paks. I’ve had some of these at tastings and they were not too bad but the thought of a light and fruity Cab or Merlot didn’t seem too interesting to me. Then I looked down at the bottom of the shelf and found the last box of La Joya, Cabernet-Carmenere from the Colchagua Valley of Chile. For $18.99/3L I thought this was a decent value in everyday red wine and it seemed to be selling through well; another potentially good sign.

WBW 31: Casa La Joya, Cabernet-Carmenere NVCasa La Joya, Cabernet-Carmenere, Colchagua Valley, Chile NV ($19/3L) – A non-vintage blend of 50% Cabernet and 50% Carmenere. Purple-black in color with aromas of dark fruit, black pepper and mint. Full bodied on the palate with flavors of blackberry, bell pepper and gunmetal finishing with moderate tannins. A nice everyday red wine and reasonable value for less than $5 a standard bottle.

13.5% ABV
Bag in box with plastic spigot
Score: 82

Thanks to Roger for an interesting and informative theme this month and I will be interested to read what other wine bloggers came up with this time out. See you next month where I hope the theme will be somewhat less challenging ;-)

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