The BIB Wine Co Straka Blaufränkisch 2017

The BIB Wine Co Straka Blaufränkisch 2017, Burgenland, Austria

£33.50 per 2.25-litre box (bottle equivalent = £10.05 per 75 cl) The BIB Wine Co

What’s that famous saying about middle age? It’s when your broad mind and narrow waist begin to change places.

Wine lovers (and producers) aren’t always the most broad-minded of people. In the sense that change and innovation doesn’t always come naturally to them. They tend to value the appeal of the traditional, the classic, the tried and tested.

But lately we’ve seen a lot of disruption and innovation in the wine sphere. Alternative wine styles (think: natural or orange wine) have disrupted the hegemony of the classics, from Old World traditional styles to New World blockbusters.

It’s also happened in the world of wine packaging, an area that’s been ripe for disrupting for a while now. The classic 75cl bottle and cork are far from perfect – for the environment, for two people with different tastes having dinner, for those who don’t like their wine tainted…it goes on.

One area that’s exciting at the moment is wine boxes. You know, the things that used to be filled with utter plonk from which glasses were filled furtively and hurriedly. Now, however, advances in technology and demand for effective alternatives has seen a rise in quality in bag-in-box (or BIB) among both retailers and everyday drinkers.

Waitrose have a couple of decent ones. And then there’s this initiative – the BIB Wine Co, set up by four siblings together with Master of Wine Justin Howard-Sneyd – aiming to put decent (often organic) wine into the boxes and help change the way we drink in the process.

This juicy, lively, deliciously bittersweet and uplifting red from Austria is a highlight in the range. Ideal for everyday drinking or with Italian dishes like spaghetti bolognese, or bangers and mash.

The Pecorino and Côtes du Rhône are also worth trying. All are proof that this format can work for quality wine – something worth celebrating.

(6/10, Peter, April 2018)