Ahhh, Franzia. Everyone recalls the intimate joy of ripping open that cardboard box and fumbling around for the plastic spout like some kind of strange foreplay, before pouring it into definitely-not-wine-glasses. But now that we're not broke college students, and maybe even have classy standards -- how does "The World's Most Popular Wine" stack up?
To find out, we called on two sommeliers, Jamie Smith of Veritas Wine Bar, and Cesar Varela of Tel'Veh Wine Bar, to see if this boxed-wine brand could produce anything worth sipping. They delivered tasting notes, the food to pair it with, and ranked seven varieties from 1 (let's do this) to 7 (let's definitely not do this). To wit:
7. Rhine ($18.99 5L)
Talk about a rocky start -- we learned Franzia has "fresh by the last glass" expiration dates. This "California Rhine Wine", a geographic impossibility, expired September 2011. So maybe that's why its deep golden hue looks like... um, yeah. Anyway, to the tasting notes!
Jamie: My eyes are burning. It tastes like oxidized, awful, dried raisins. Awful. (Rank 7)
Cesar: Tapped out. (Rank 7)
6. Sunset Blush ($14.99 5L)
Jamie: On the nose are those awful love-heart candies, but the palate is nothing but NESQUIK strawberry powder. This alcoholic Powerade is what gives box wine a bad name. Pair with BBQ chicken. (Rank 6)
Cesar: NESQUIK is dead on, and some watermelon. It's nasty, but give Grandmother another glass because it's only 9 percent alcohol. Don't ruin food by pairing it. (Rank 6)
5. Chablis ($17.99 5L)
Jamie: Fruit-forward wine, hints of lemon, pear, and apple with a good mouthfeel and medium acidity. Pair with deviled eggs. (Rank 5)
Cesar: Creamy with notes of candied lemon, peach yogurt, Key lime, and artificial minerality. Pair with Stouffer's mac & cheese. (Rank 3)
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