Jon Thorsen of says…

There’s a big segment of the box wine market that is trying to produce something as cheaply as possible — including the wine that goes inside. Until this changes box wine will never gain the same foothold it has in places like France or Australia. The ultimate application of the box for us is to take a high quality wine and make it more affordable and accessible to the average consumer. And while we definitely found a few boxes that do this right in our series, today we’ve got one that tops them all.

The 2013 Maison Cubi Syrah Carignan is produced at Abbaye St Eugenie by Christine and Thibaut Cazalet at Peyriac Sur Mer in the Corbieres appellation, Languedoc. The wine consists of 10% Syrah and 90% Carignan, but get this — that Carignan comes from 120 year old vines! It reminds me in a lot of ways of the Bechthold Vineyard Cinsaults we reviewed recently which came from one of, if not the, oldest Cinsault vineyard in the world. There’s just a depth of flavor and subtle complexity that can only come from old vines and the Maison Cubi has it. Underlying this fact is that the wine only has .2g/L of residual sugar but you’d swear it was higher because the fruit flavors are so rich and sweet.

The wine begins with beautiful, candied red fruit aromas along with some light floral, mint and herb notes. There’s also a touch of smoked meat from Syrah. Be sure to let it breathe because it just gets more and more expressive the more time it has in the glass. Tasting reveals rich and juicy red fruit with wonderfully integrated spice that carries over to the very dry, very long, slightly chalky finish. This is a super savory wine with the character and complexity that can only come from truly old vines and a shoo-in for our next Top 10 Reds Under $20 list!