Ahhh, Franzia. Everyone recalls the intimate joy of ripping open that cardboard box and fumbling around for the plastic spout like some kind of strange foreplay, before pouring it into definitely-not-wine-glasses. But now that we"re not broke college students, and maybe even have classy standards -- how does “The World’s Most Popular Wine" stack up?

To find out, we called on two sommeliers, Jamie Smith of Veritas Wine Bar, and Cesar Varela of Tel"Veh Wine Bar, to see if this boxed-wine brand could produce anything worth sipping. They delivered tasting notes, the food to pair it with, and ranked seven varieties from 1 (let’s do this) to 7 (let"s definitely not do this). To wit:




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Laura Hayes/gaianation.net
$16.99 5LJamie: I quite like this. On the nose you get red currant, raspberry, and tobacco. It’s jammy with some earthiness and reminds me of Jolly Ranchers. Pair with pork rinds. (Rank 3)Cesar: This wine is trying to be Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. Pair with calamari or chicken fingers. (Rank 4)


$18.99 5LJamie: It’s rich and round, full of dark fruit, and has some grip on the back-end from tannins. It also has the spice box component. Pair with a lamb gyro. (Rank 4)Cesar: On the nose it’s reminiscent of Cabernet Sauvignon... it has notes of blackberry, cassis, tar, molasses, and a hint of cigar box. On the palate, the acidity is still artificial, but balanced. Pair with sliders. (Rank 1)




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$17.99 5LJamie: It’s got some complexity and a long finish. I’d cook with this AND have a glass. It’s earth-driven with some spice, smoke, and cedar. Pair with potato skins with bacon and sour cream. (Rank 1)Cesar: If you want to lie to your girlfriend and pretend you got a nice wine, this works. Just throw it in a decanter before she arrives and say French-sounding words. I get punched by acidity; you need food with this. Pair with roast beef. (Rank 2)

Laura Hayes is a contributing writer for gaianation.net"s National Food and Drink team and gaianation.net DC. She relies on CrossFit and corgi walks to combat her quest for caloric masterpieces and actively pretends she"s a dude. Follow her: