I’m a big Wind in the Willows fan. Several years back, maybe 1999 or 2000, my boss at the time was my sole guide to the world of wine. He had pretty good taste, especially when it comes to tasty but affordable wines. One of the wines he directed me to was the line of Toad Hollow wines, beginning with their unoaked chardonnay. I immediately took to the name and the critters on the label. Straight out of those wonderful Kenneth Grahame books I read as a kid. From Kevin’s perspective, Toad and Badger were two of the great British characters in Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, that crazy and endearing 1996 movie starring many of the Monty Python gang. Before we knew a damned thing about wine, we turned to Toad Hollow to stock the bar and as a wine to give to friends. We didn’t think we could go wrong with Dr. Toad and Mr. Badger. Little did we know that Dr. Toad was Todd Williams and Mr. Badger, well, that was Rodney Strong.
Fast forward to today. It seems that WBW #31 (Alternative Packaging/Boxed Wines) had a real effect on the wine-girl.net household. We were so taken by the South African Rain Dance Shiraz that we decided we were going to continue our boxed wine experiment. We really enjoy the convenience of not having to open a bottle and feeling the pressure to finish it within a day or two. We don’t expect all of our wines to be at the top of the excellence list, and suspected that boxed wines might be a good solution to those nights when you don’t necessarily need a fancy bordeaux. We’re still opening bottles on a regular basis, but the box is just a nice change of pace.
So we were excited on many levels when we came across Le Faux Frog 2004 Pinot Noir, bag in a box, from Toad Hollow Vineyards ($24.99/3 litres).
(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)
The art on the box is simply wonderful, and the wine itself is made
from French grapes of the Limoux district. The marketing copy reads:
French cousin Jean-Pierre, was hanging out in Monet’s garden with his
brother Jacques. They had a couple flagons of a beautifully crafted
Pinot Noir from the Limoux District and as they progressed, or
digressed, as the case may be, they became excited to share this with
their friends in the U.S. They decided that a good way to do this
sharing (in typical Le Faux Frog manner) would be to get the wine to
market in the most cost efficient way for them and their American
cousins. Voila! Bag-In-Box! Let’s call it Jacques in the Box! No… There
is a U.S. chain here that would take offense so let’s just put the best
Pinot Noir available in a Bag-In-Box format at the most reasonable
price and introduce it in a package that reflects their efforts and I
think Jean-Pierre and Jacques did an exemplary job!
thing is, the marketing copy is more entertaining than the wine. Maybe
our hopes were just set too high. In this case, the wine doesn’t really
even taste like a Pinot Noir. It tastes more like a standard red table
wine, a blend perhaps. The flavor is sort of dull, for lack of a better
word. There are berries, and even a bit of earth, but it all tastes a
bit smothered. Like it could be more, but just couldn’t jump high
enough. I read another review where they recommend decanting, but for
us, that defeats the purpose of effortless boxed wine.
I suspect this wine might be enhanced by a pizza or something
similar, but not enough to justify the price. Perhaps we were lucky
with our first boxed wine, the $14.99/3 L shiraz. But it set the
standard for the others. Oh well! Try and try again. We’ve already
purchased the next box – this time it will be Jean-Marc Brocard
Bourgogne Rouge 2002 Pinot Noir. In the meantime, we’ll stick with our
Toad Hollow in a bottle.
Our Faux Frog Ratings:
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