30 Second Wine Advisor: Now, the paper wine bottle

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Now, the paper wine bottle

Wine in bottles, wine in jugs, wine in boxes, even wine in cans. Just when we start thinking we've seen every possible way to package the fruit of the vine, along comes an outfit with something completely different: Paper Boy, an outfit based in Sonoma, Calif., has launched a new line of wines packaged in a standard-size wine "bottle" made of recyclable cardboard.

Currently offering a 2012 Paso Robles Red Blend and a 2012 Mendocino County Chardonnay, Paper Boy promotes its package with plenty of exclamation points and capital letters: "It's super-light. It's ultra-green. It stays cooler longer. Recycles better. It tastes great. & it's here...THE WORLD'S FIRST PAPER WINE BOTTLE!"

The world's first paper wine bottle, the firm says, is "80 percent lighter than glass, produced from pre- and post-consumer waste and recycled/organic materials, it is an ultra-green package."

According to Paper Boy's Facebook page, the wines are made by Virginia Marie Lambrix (VML Winery), and are "of exceptional quality ... perfect for any outdoor activity." The bottles, it says, are produced by Truett-Hurst Inc. (NASDAQ: THST), "an innovative and growing super-premium and ultra-premium wine sales, marketing, and production company " based in Sonoma's Dry Creek and Russian River valleys. Package design is by Stranger & Stranger, a packaging design and branding company specializing in alcoholic drinks.

For more information, check Paper Boy's Facebook page or its Web site, where you can fill out a form to be informed to find where (or whether) the paper-packaged wines are available in your area. (It is reportedly in 44 states, but Wine-Searcher.com currently returns only one source, Safeway/Von's supermarkets in Arizona, where each wine sells for $14.99.)

I haven't seen it here yet, but when it shows up, I'm willing to give it a try. Meanwhile, today's featured wine comes in good old glass: It's a fairly priced Chianti Classico from Colli Fiorentini, the hills of Florence, and brings solid, benchmark Tuscan Sangiovese flavors to the table. You'll find my tasting notes below.

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Today's Tasting Report

Lucignano 2010 "Conte Lodovico Guicciardini" Chianti Colli Fiorentini ($11.99)


Dark reddish-violet with glints of bright ruby. Attractive, characteristic scent of Tuscan Sangiovese blends, black cherries and dried cherries and subtle hints of spice. Tart cherry flavors show on the palate in a bright, acidic flavor with a whiff of soft tannins. Good food wine at a standard 13.5% alcohol; a benchmark example of good, quality Chianti. U.S. importer: deGrazia Imports LLC, Winston-Salem, N.C., a Marc de Grazia Selection. (April 23, 2014)

FOOD MATCH: Chianti, of course, is stereotypical with Italian-American pasta with tomato sauce, which makes a like-meets-like match with the sweet-tart fruit of fresh tomatoes and the caramelization that attends long, slow simmering. It's fine, too, with all manner of beef, and with meatless choices like cheese or bean dishes. It was very good indeed with a spicy stew of red lentils and lima beans kicked up with bits of five-spice organic tofu from a local source, Heart & Soy.

WHEN TO DRINK: Although generic Chianti isn't meant for long-term cellaring, this one is going great three-plus years after the vintage, and I wouldn't expect it to fade if kept cool and quiet for a few more years.

VALUE: Wine-Searcher.com shows a $13 U.S. median retail price. It's a fine value up to the mid-teens, and I'm very happy with my $12 local price tag.

WEB LINK: You'll find a good fact sheet on Lucignano, with links to details on several vintages of the Chianti, on the Website of distributor Michael Skurnik.

Find vendors and check prices for Lucignano Chianti Colli Fiorentini on Wine-Searcher.com.

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