Drinking wine from boxes isn’t like knocking back wine from paper bags. Oh no – it’s gone very upmarket. Or at least that was my experience in the wine shop BiBoViNo recently.
We stumbled across a branch of the chain in Lille. It’s one of more than 20 stores across France.
What they offer is nothing like boxed wine from the supermarket. Drinking that stuff is – almost literally – like scraping the barrel. Mind you, given what you’re paying, what more do you expect?
Wines en vrac – or bag in box, as the French sometimes call them – from the vineyards are a huge step up. I’ve been a convert for some years now.
Vineyards generally produce more than they can sell as their entry-level wine under the appellation controlée system. So the extra gets sold off en vrac.
Bruno Quenioux, the internationally renowned wine expert behind the selection at BiBoViNo, has found winemakers who haven’t sold their wines in boxes before. He’s then convinced them to take part.
As a result, BiBoViNo is able to sell their wines to a wider audience. The focus has been on quality – and the result is that the wines aren’t cheap.
“It’s nothing like boxed wine from the supermarket. Drinking that stuff is – almost literally – like scraping the barrel”
We sat and enjoyed a glass of a Pécharmant, arguably the best of the wines available from the Bergerac region of south-west France. Our wine was from Château du Biran, one of the oldest vineyards in the area. We enjoyed it so much that we came away with a 3-litre box.
It cost us €33 – which works out at the equivalent of €8.25 a bottle. That is a lot more expensive than supermarket or even vineyard wine boxes.
In Lille, however, you don’t have easy access to any vineyards, so this perhaps represents a great way of getting hold of some excellent wine at a decent price. And if, like me, you live in England where Pécharmant wines are very hard to come by, it was certainly a good buy.