Have you ever wondered if boxed wines can really match the quality of their bottled counterparts?
In my opinion, and most wine drinkers are coming to a similar view, the modern boxed wines on offer today are just as good and sometimes better than the traditional bottled wines.
Whether you're looking for a wine to store in your fridge for weeks or a low price per bottle when organizing a party, boxed wine is the way to go. It's also easy to serve crowds and transport when traveling, no corkscrew needed.
Bota Box is a brand from Napa, California, that serves a full variety of grapes, from whites to reds and rosé.
With its environmentally conscious packaging and low carbon footprint, Bota's boxed wines are a great option if you want to savor a quality glass of vino and still be kind to the environment.
But does that mean that Bota Box wine is actually any good? In this review, I'll give my verdict on the various flavors available from Bota Box - so let's get to it.
Bota Box At A Glance
- Best Match For: Adventurous wine lovers who believe that boxes are perfect eco-friendly packaging that can still hold delicious wine.
- Commitment Level: No commitments - Order at any time
- Availability: Available in many stores; Shipping available via Instacart or Drizly for some locations
- Value: $26.99/3L box (around 4 standard bottles)
- Type: Boxed wines for every occasion
Who Are Bota Box?
Bota Box was founded in 2003; the name derives from the traditional Spanish "bota bag," which was used back in the day to transport wines and other liquids. The original bota made from leather obviously isn't a material that makes for good sustainability, but Bota Box has taken the idea and adapted it for modern times - their wines come in environmentally friendly, lightweight boxes made from 100% recyclable materials.
Bota Box has created an impressive selection of quality wines that are affordable and well, I won't reveal my tasting notes as yet, but let's just say I was pleasantly surprised. Their wines range from whites to reds and even rosé - with a variety of flavors from zesty Sauvignon Blanc to bold Cabernet Sauvignon.
As well as the traditional wine offerings, they also offer Bota’Rita - Margarita wine cocktail boxes in two flavors classic lime and strawberry. I do love a good margarita and tried out the classic lime box. I invited a few friends over on a hot weekend afternoon, and we made short work of the 1.5-liter box, attesting to the fact that their margarita cocktails are a tasty and super-refreshing alternative (or addition) to their wines for a party or celebration.
For the more adventurous wine drinker, their Nighthawk Black and Nighthawk Gold boxed wines are bolder takes on the traditional Bota Box wines. This line of wines is aimed squarely at Gen Z and younger millennials, though I found them to be just as enjoyable for those of us who are a bit older. Spoiler alert - I sampled one of the Nighthawk wines, and you can read my review and tasting notes in a while.
Last but not least, we have Bota Box Breeze - low cal, low-carb wines with lower alcohol content for those times you fancy a glass of wine but are watching your weight or alcohol intake. I found the Bota Box Breeze Sauvignon Blanc with just 8.5% alcohol, a refreshing complement to a light weekend brunch.
How Does Bota Box Work?
Ordering from Bota Box couldn't be easier, just head to the company's website, enter your postcode, and you'll be given a list of the available boxed wines.
Click here to read about our favorite wine clubs and subscriptions.
What Is the Best Bota Box Red Wine?
The best red wine from California brand Bota Box, in my opinion, is the OId Vine Zinfandel. It’s fruity, but not too sweet, and lightly toasted. The Cabernet comes as a close second, thanks to its smoothness and lightness. Here's a round-up of the good-value boxed wine on offer:
Old Vine Zinfandel
Taking my first sip of this Old Vine Zinfandel, I was immediately struck by the intense aromas of ripe cherry and savory herbs. It's a bold and robust wine that's perfect for those who enjoy a full-bodied red.
I noticed a slight toastiness that adds depth to the flavors. The tannins are present but not overpowering and provide a pleasant structure to the wine.
Overall, I found the Old Vine Zinfandel to be a complex and interesting wine with a fruit-forward finish that lingers on the palate. It's definitely one of my top picks and a great wine for the price.
Bota Box's Pinot Noir is a delicious, fruity red with a strong cherry flavor.
It's a medium-bodied wine and has touches of herbs and cocoa in the finish.
I think this wine would make for an excellent pairing with strong flavors, such as gamey meats like venison or duck, as well as vegetable-forward dishes like roasted root vegetables or mushroom risotto.
Overall, I think Bota Box's Pinot Noir is a delicious and versatile wine that's perfect for any occasion. It can be enjoyed by both wine enthusiasts and casual drinkers alike, and it's definitely one of the Bota Box red wines that I'll be indulging in again.
Redvolution is Bota's popular red blend. It's spicy and leathery, with notes of black cherry and cocoa in the finish.
I find that Redvolution pairs particularly well with strong-tasting meats like burgers, barbecue, or even a hearty beef stew. However, it's also a surprising pairing with fatty fish, like salmon, where it complements the fish's natural flavors and textures.
I think Redvolution makes an excellent choice for everyday table wine. Its fruity flavors and aromas make it a crowd-pleaser, and its versatility makes it a go-to wine for a wide range of dishes.
The Cabernet Sauvignon has a juicy black currant flavor that's just a touch spicy, but for me, this added some depth and complexity, yet it was still light and easy to drink.
In my view, this Cabernet Sauvignon would pair particularly well with hearty dishes like pasta, soups, or a wintertime beef stew. The juicy black currant flavor and the touch of spiciness complement the rich flavors of these dishes, while the wine's lightness will prevent it from overpowering the meal.
Bota's Pinot Grigio is another crowd-pleasing white wine, and I tasted notes of peach, green apple, and citrus, and a clean finish with floral notes — in my mind, it's the perfect white wine for summer days when you need something refreshing.So, this is another delicious wine from Bota that goes well together with many home-cooked meals, from pasta to a vegetable stir fry.
For white wine the majority of your guests will enjoy at a party, I highly recommend this light, oaky chardonnay the brand offers.
The taste is balanced with fruit tones, from honeydew melon and apple to lemon, and the overall sensation is fresh and inviting.
It pairs exceptionally well with fish and seafood, making it a great option for a seafood feast. But it's also an excellent choice for a casual cookout or backyard BBQ.
If you're planning a larger event or gathering, consider stocking up on more than one box of this chardonnay. Trust me, your guests will thank you. It's an easy-drinking wine that's sure to please even the pickiest of palates.
Next up, I tried the Sauvignon Blanc; as soon as I took a smell, the aromas of ripe tropical fruits, such as pineapple and papaya, filled my senses. On the palate, I was welcomed by the same fruitiness with undertones of apple, peach, and lychee.
This wine pleasantly surprised me; despite having a sweetness to it, it doesn't feel overly sweet or cloying like some other whites can sometimes do. The balance between acidity, fruitiness, and minerality makes this a great option for any occasion – from casual gatherings with friends to more formal dinners. I think it would make a great pairing with a soft goat cheese salad or any seafood dish.
This full-bodied red wine opened its arms to me with aromas of dark fruit - blackberries, blueberry compote, plum sauce, and spice. On the palate, I found Shiraz to have a juicy texture with flavors of black pepper and cedar wood that linger long after sipping it. And I noticed intense notes of fig jam with subtle hints of licorice in its finish.
My go-to pairing with a Shiraz is a high-quality, high cocoa-content dark chocolate. But this boxed Shiraz would also complement strong cheeses or meat dishes like pulled pork, steaks, and hamburgers.
To be honest, I am not a big fan of German wines like Riesling, and it would be tough to give an unbiased tasting. But I didn't have to press gang my Riesling-loving friend to try it, as she was already excited.
She described tasting the Riesling from Bota Box as like taking a sip of sunshine - light, vibrant, and refreshingly sweet. Reading from her tasting notes, the aroma was a mix of stone fruit and citrus. On the palate, it had a good balance of acidity and sweetness, with flavors of mango and honeydew melon. The finish was surprisingly dry, clean, and smooth.
I asked her what she'd pair it with, and she went for a savory dish, grilled shrimp, or a sweet dessert like a crème brûlée.
As the old adage goes, 'life is too short to drink bad wine,' and that's exactly why I decided to try Bota Box Dry Rosé. Most wine drinkers will agree that dry rosé can be a tricky one to master; it's not as sweet as you may expect but still has enough of a fruity character to make it enjoyable. After giving this particular bottle a whirl, here are my thoughts on its taste profile.
The aroma was quite pleasant, with hints of cherry blossom, raspberry, and golden delicious apples. On the palate, there were light floral notes accompanied by tart cranberry flavors, which made for an overall refreshing sip. The finish was well-balanced and ended with citrusy undertones - just what you'd want from a good-quality dry rose.
I can see why this is one of the most popular Bota Box wines. I'd say it makes a lovely accompaniment to a light pasta dish like pasta primavera or as an aperitif on its own.
Bourbon Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon
I was curious to try out the Bourbon Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon from their Nighthawk Black range of wines, and let me tell you; it did not disappoint.
This wine is aged in fine bourbon barrels, and for me, the flavor was much bolder and more complex than what I usually find in cabernets. Black fruits with a sweet, jammy taste, combined with a hint of smokiness from the barrels, is what I got on the palate.
This boldness is balanced out by its smoother finish that left my mouth tingling with hints of white pepper and cinnamon.
I didn't have to second think about what I'd pair with this Sauvignon; it would have to be a steak! The intense flavor of the Bourbon Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon would only enhance the succulent flavors of an expertly cooked steak.
Bota Box Wine Costs
You can buy 500 ml, 1.5 L, or 3L boxes of Bota Wine. The most popular option is a 3 L box, which is equal to 4 standard bottles and costs $26.99.
Pros & Cons
- Generally easy wines to drink
- Decent variety of blend and grape options for all tastes
- Wide availability of products
- Handles storage well
- Solid online reviews
- The flavor profiles may be too simple for some
- Some whites can taste too metallic but the majority are clean
Pairing Bota Box Wine With Food
Ah, the age-old question: what wine pairs best with food? With Bota Box Wine, you don't have to worry. All of their wines are perfectly suited for pairing with a variety of dishes. Whether it’s a classic Italian dish or an exotic Thai delicacy, there's a match.
When choosing your perfect pairing, consider the richness of the dish; if it's heavy on proteins and fats like steak or pork chops, then go for a robust red wine such as Bota Box Cabernet Sauvignon. For lighter fare like salmon or shrimp, reach for a zesty white varietal like their Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay. Rosé is also great for in-between courses when going from one flavor profile to another. And don't forget about dessert – the Riesling won't overpower any sweet treats you may be having afterward.
Tasting and Pairing Chart
Below is a quick and easy table that shows my tasting notes for each wine and what I would pair it with.
Old Vine Zinfandel
Intense aromas of ripe cherry and savory herbs, bold and robust, with a fruit-forward finish
Hearty meat dishes like beef stew or grilled meats
Strong cherry flavor, medium-bodied with touches of herbs and cocoa in the finish
Gamey meats like venison or duck, roasted root vegetables
Spicy and leathery, with notes of black cherry and cocoa in the finish
Burgers, barbecue, hearty beef stew, fatty fish like salmon
Juicy black currant flavor, slightly spicy, light and easy to drink
Pasta, soups, beef stew
Notes of peach, green apple, and citrus, clean finish with floral notes
Pasta, vegetable stir fry, summertime dishes
Balanced with fruit tones like honeydew melon and apple, fresh and inviting
Fish and seafood, casual cookouts or backyard BBQs
Aromas of ripe tropical fruits like pineapple, juicy texture with undertones of apple and peach
Soft goat cheese salad, seafood dishes
Aromas of dark fruit like blackberries and blueberry compote, juicy texture with notes of black pepper
High cocoa-content dark chocolate, strong cheeses, meat dishes
Light, vibrant, and refreshingly sweet, with a mix of stone fruit and citrus flavors
Spicy foods like Thai or Indian cuisine, Asian-inspired dishes
Light and refreshing with a mix of floral and fruit flavors
Salads, light pasta dishes, seafood, grilled vegetables
Bourbon Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon
Rich and full-bodied, with notes of vanilla and oak
Pair with red meat dishes like steak or lamb, strong cheeses, dark chocolate.
Of course, these are just recommendations, you might have your own personal preferences or even experiment with different pairings.
This is a tight race, but the majority of Bota Box wine varieties tend to be more palatable out of the two, especially for an occasional drinker. Black Box is often considered slightly higher quality, but many of Bota’s varieties, like the Pinot Grigio, easily beat their competition.
California brand Bota Box wines come in three-liter boxes, which is the size of four standard bottles or about 25 glasses of wine. You can also buy a Bota Brick that’s the size of two wine bottles or a Bota Mini that carries about three glasses of wine.
Boxed wine is not in contact with air like wine in an opened bottle, so it won’t go bad if you can’t finish it in a couple of days. Bota wine stays fresh for up to 30 days after opening.
Yes, Bota Box offers a strong collection of quality, boxed wines in three sizes.
As with an open bottle of wine, it’s best to store Bota Box wines in the fridge (once opened) if you’re keeping them for a long time, as they will oxidise in a few months.
Yes, you can refrigerate Bota Box wine. Bag-in-box wines last longer in cool temperatures no matter if they’re white or red. If not refrigerated, the box should remain fresh for up to one month.
If you keep your Bota Box away from light and air, your wine should stay fresh for up to a month.
Food for Thought
If you're looking for quality boxed wines to start out with, but you're not sure which brand to pick, Bota Box is a safe option. The brand produces quality wine in a box at a certified sustainable vineyard in Napa, California. And I think for the affordable price, they are some of the best-boxed wines on the market.
If you’re a serious wine enthusiast and looking for more character in your wine, Bota Box’s flavors can be too simple. Still, in their category, Bota Box wines are of good quality and reasonably priced.
They’re the best match for people looking for a crowd-pleaser for a party or trip at a low price per bottle, or for an everyday wine to sip on after work.
Bota Box Wine