Is there anything more South Australian than chateau cardboard? Since its invention in Renmark in the ’60s, boxed wine has been the subject of both affection and scorn. But what about an offering that inspires just the affection part? Can it be done? Greg Grigoriou, the winemaker at Delinquente and co-owner of Oddio, thinks so. And he’s released the goon sack to prove it.
High Crimes is a Nero d’Avola, grown on the Bassham family vineyard in Barmera in the Riverland. “It’s a certified organic and biodynamic vineyard,” Grigoriou says. “The Nero d’Avola has been made in the same sort of Delinquente style: bright, fruit-forward and fun.”
The Sicilian grape variety thrives in the South Australian climate – and particularly so in the Riverland. “It’s got the most beautiful fruit character. It’s very reminiscent of sour cherry… it has a [raspberry-lolly], cherry-cola type vibe,” says Grigoriou. “It’s got a beautiful colour, a very luminous purple. You get that little bit of tannin, that crunchiness, that acidity … it’s perfect for pizza and pasta.”
A 1.5-litre box will set you back $45, making it a slightly lower pricepoint than Delinquente’s bottles (and you get more wine). The intricate artwork on the packaging – featuring a banjo-playing frog, a howling dog and a giant bottle of wine – was created by Jason Koen, Delinquente’s go-to artist for almost a decade.
You’ll need to get in quick though. There were only 100 boxes available online, and they have all sold out since this story was published. But they'll be available in bottle shops from June 8. “This is the crash test dummy, for sure,” says Grigoriou. “We want to see how it goes, how our packaging works, and what people think of it. If people get behind it, we’ve got a few other wines that are slated for bag-and-box.” He hints at wine made from fruit that’s native to Portugal, as well as a Bianco d’Alessano (a white wine) for summer.
This article was updated on June 3, 2020.