Hardys first released their Nottage Hill wines in 1967 and have recently started retailing these in a 2.25 litre FreshCase. The FreshCase is equal to three bottles and having seen it in store, we decided to try one to check it out. The case is rather slimmer and taller than other wine boxes that I have seen and the space it takes up is about the size of a magnum bottle. Its oblong shape lends itself very well to easy storage. Most of the container is recyclable after usage, other than the bag in which the wine is contained perhaps. The top and the base are made of sturdy black plastic and the body of the box is card. Unlike some wine boxes, the tap is held rigidly in place by the plastic housing on the base and makes for easy pouring. The box is light, not a great deal heavier than a bottle of wine and easy to carry by the handle at the top.

Having poured a glass, the Nottage Hill Cabernet Shiraz has good red berries and black cherry on the nose, a bouquet that is very inviting. As you drink it, the black cherry comes through on the palate as does some spicy plum and red fruit flavours. There is an acidity to it which adds to the array of fruity flavours and a slight dry tannic finish. This is a medium to full bodied wine, which is soft and smooth in the mouth and has a good length on the tongue. It is a wine that great to drink on its own but would play a good supporting role to most red meat dishes and it is sufficiently robust to stand up to barbecued food, spicy dishes and cheeses.

The box boasts that the wine in the case will remain fresh for up to 6 weeks after opening, if you can keep it that long. This makes it very suitable for those red drinkers among us who might just want to enjoy a glass every now and then. I have to admit that my box didn’t last anything like 6 weeks, my partner and I had got through it in two days! The obvious benefit to the FreshCase is that the wine is kept fresh in this sealed environment, i.e. not stoppering and unstoppering a bottle thereby allowing more and more oxygen to be in contact with the wine, which would make it deteriorate over time. The FreshCase would also be great to use in the garden when barbecuing, avoiding the possibility of broken glass, from that source anyway and it is easy to carry, making it ideal to take with you to a picnic or other gathering.

Apart from the Hardys Nottage Hill FreshCase Cabernet Shiraz, you can get their Chardonnay in FreshCase boxes too, so white drinkers have not been left out. These FreshCase wines can be found in branches of Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, retailing at around £18, which is good value for the quality of the wine we had.

To find out more about Hardys wines go to: www.hardys.com and about FreshCase wines in particular www.freshcasewine.com