Inspired to try some of our cover story’s bike trips, hikes, and outings? Don’t forget the wine. Box wine is affordable, often quite good, and very transportable. It’s becoming more and more acceptable, and the quality has come a long way. The selection is huge, most boxes are environmentally friendly, and some wines are organic. Most important, they’re light, so you can carry a lot. Wine selection from Liquor Boy, 5620 Cedar Lake Rd., St. Louis Park, 952-512-2200, liquor-boy.com
The Birdman 2011
Grape: Pinot grigio (Big House also makes Cardinal Zin in a box)
• Bright, light, crisp, lemony, and easy to drink as a cocktail. It would be great out on the patio, on the boat, by the pool, or on your next picnic.
Grape: Zinfandel, cabernet, merlot, syrah, and petite sirah
• Blends are hot right now. This one has dark berry fruit, full-bodied flavor, and a soft finish. All in all, it’s a nice glass of wine for a BBQ or pizza night.
Duca del Frassino 2011
Grape: Cabernet sauvignon and corvina—a grape used in Italy’s Valpolicella wines
• A nice way to transition into red wine, this one goes down easily. With tart cherry, raspberry, and a bit of vanilla sweetness, this cabernet is softened with corvina, a lighter styled red. Be careful to count your refills.
• Probably the hottest grape going right now, malbec is a nice replacement for cabernet. It’s similar in style but with no need for aging to soften the tannins. This wine has cherry and strawberry fruit with a little spice. Spaghetti night has a new friend.
Bill Coy runs Vintage U, which organizes wine tastings, classes, and events for corporate groups, wine enthusiasts, and the general public. Reach him at VintageU@msn.com.