The sustainable wine from family-owned Cuboid Wines failed to kick off our taste test with a bang. Where was the downfall? The smell was off: "Where’s the smell?" "It’s missing the aroma." "Has a fume rather than a scent." "Syrupy." "Vinegary." And that was just a preview of the comments — eek.
Known for creating the first ever Tetra Pak back in 2004, CalNaturale has remained popular for obvious reasons. When it came to taste, however, the wine didn't rate very well with our staffers. "Really acidic." "Tastes like it has gone bad." "Plastic-y." "Watery."
Hailing from California and Chile, this lime-hued brand is all about being sustainable, and may have sacrificed taste in its efforts, but the smell might be something to consider. "Buttery." "Smells like butterscotch." "Very candy-like." "Taste is fine, not amazing."
This brand gets its name from a neighboring correctional facility, and is tough on the outside. But with notes like these — "Really florally to taste," "strong honeydew flavor," "a bit juice-like," "light and clean" — it doesn’t scream rebellious to us!
The boxed-only Bota does it better. Another super sustainable brand, their boxes aren’t even glued together; they’re bonded with cornstarch — talk about going green. This runner-up made a splash with its fruity flavors and sweet-smelling aroma. "Fruity profile, but a dry finish." "Tastes like apricot and apple on a good day."
Considered a premium, high-end boxed wine, Black Box got it right when it decided to take the high road. "Sharp on the tongue," "pronounced mineral finish," and "good character," were some of the observations that led Black Box to the top spot.
Cuboid landed in the last place in both categories, which doesn’t say much for its offerings. Their cabernet sauvignon wasn’t up to par with the rest of the pack and again, it seems the smell is to blame. "Has a perfume smell and not in a good way." "Smells like Play-Doh and chemicals." Those should be enough to paint a picture.
The only bagged wine in the bunch, Clif didn’t make the cut in terms of taste. It fell flat, literally, amongst the comments. Comments like "definite flat taste," "ouch, this one hurt going down," and "smells like Welch’s grape juice," assisted Clif in landing the second to last slot.
Right in the middle of the bunch, Black Box didn’t triumph, but it also didn’t fail. "Slightly spicy," "stays on the palate," "a bit watery," and "bitter," were some of the mixed reviews for this oaky sip.
Rounding out our top three, Bota's cabernet got good reviews from our editors — "smells earthy," "nice and juicy," "balanced fruit," and "not overpowering."
CalNaturale’s bold red was liked by our tasters, while its white counterpart was not. The comments for this wine earned it our number two slot: "balanced flavor," "warm vanilla overtones," "tastes expensive," and "surprisingly complex."
"Best out of the bunch," "heavy mouthful," "lean and tannic — nice flavor," are some of the thoughts that gave The Big Green Box the number one spot. Capping our list, it was balanced, nicely bodied, and could’ve fooled our group into thinking it came from a bottle. Maybe green is the new black?