Think inside the box | SierraSun.com

Think inside the box

Janice Jones

With summer activities, music in the park, Shakespeare at Sand Harbor, picnics and outdoor barbecues, it’s time to explore new wine varietals and new wine packaging.

I always like to recommend you try a new varietal, one you would not ordinarily drink, or one you may not have even heard of. The warm days of summer seem to lend themselves to enjoying less of the “norm,” more of the new and easy living.

There is a multitude of new single varietal wines well worth exploring this summer, as well as interesting blends that are on the shelves of local wine merchants.

Recently, I wrote about dry roses, Rhone white varietals like rousanne or marsanne, and red wines, like tannat, and grenache for wine options.

Even if you are only a chardonnay drinker or a cabernet aficionado, you owe it to yourself to seek out some food-friendly new varietals to take to the next barbecue or outdoor music event.

Remember, most outdoor events will not allow any glass. Therefore you must decant any wine you choose into a non-breakable container.

A stainless steel thermos-type container works well. The stainless is pure and will not react to the chemical make-up of your favorite wine. Good quality containers will also do nicely.

A hard plastic wine glass is also a must have for outdoor summer sipping, and you can find some exceptional ones at an outdoor merchant, which sells them as backpacking accessories.

You may also find nice ones included in those nifty, canvass wine bottle carriers.

Most of these carriers include napkins, openers, the required plastic wine glasses and any number of picnic accessories.

There are many on-line sources for these items. Check out WineEnthusiast.com or winestuff.com.

Many of our local wine shops offer the ultimate in outdoor imbibing; the wine glass holder that holds your glass of wine safely anywhere the holder can be stationed in the ground.

Wines are on the market that come in sealed plastic bags and are sold in boxes with spigots.

Surprisingly, many of these wines are quite quaffable ” not stellar ” but will do at many outdoor functions.

These wines are achieving more acceptance in the marketplace, and the quality of boxed wines has been on the rise, shedding the concept these are cheap, horrible wines.

In other countries this form of packaging has been widely accepted, but in the United States, it has been an uphill battle for the producers ” we hold the idea a wine in the box must be inferior.

One plus for boxed wines is they have the ability to stay fresh and tasty for months. This occurs because inside the box is a plastic or Mylar bladder that deflates as each glass of wine is poured off, without allowing any air to come in contact with the wine.

This is a big plus for those wine drinkers who enjoy an occasional glass with their meals.

Boxed wines come in a variety of sizes. Some in the super-sized five liter, or almost seven-bottle sized boxes, down to the 1.5 liter size box.

There are many good wines being sold in the three liter size, which is the box wine size I would recommend to look for and try, if you are so inclined to sample a boxed wine.

Otherwise, I have noticed many of our local wine shops have been featuring wines in the $10 to $15 range, that may just fit into that niche of a fun light-hearted food friendly wine for your summer outings.

” Janice Jones is a Truckee resident and a wine consultant. You may reach her at sierrafinewines@yahoo.com.