Canned wines you should have tried this summer!
By Jennifer Primrose
The past two years our "Summer Wine Series" has revolved around rosé wine with our "Swine & Rosé" and "Rosé and Sorbet." We had a great time doing both but decided this year it was time for a change.
As summer begins to fade, we are wrapping up our 2018 Summer Series – Getting Canned!
If you haven’t heard, there is a new craze out there in the wine world. Canned wine! Something that is a little hard for us to get behind. When we think of wine, we think prestige and class … sophistication. Like opening up a nice bottle of Caymus cabernet sauvignon. The sound of the cork popping out of its neck. Pouring a nice red into a decanter or straight into a Riedel glass. Sipping wine with friends and socializing about the latest trends. Or while at a nice restaurant, with the sommelier popping the cork at your table while he describes the wine and proceeds with the proper routine.
Then came boxed wine. Sure, it has its advantages, especially back in our 20s and single. It's great when hosting a gathering at your house and you really don’t want to open that good bottle you’ve been saving for a special occasion. And to be fair, some box wines truly are not that bad – but others, well, we could do without quite honestly.
Related Story: The Summer of Swine & Rosés
Next we saw the evolution from the cork to the screw top. This was another one we had a tough time with. Quite frankly, I can’t pop a cork to save my life. There is only one opener that remotely allows me to get that cork out – and not too gracefully, I might add.
Going out to a restaurant, or even a dinner party at home and twisting off the top of a wine bottle just doesn’t cut it. Especially when you forked over $50 on that special bottle only for the sommelier to arrive at your table and twist it off. No pop. No smelling of the cork. Just a twist and pour. Now, it does have its benefits – it’s cheaper to produce and has actually been around since the 1960s. Technically, it’s all perception. Perception that screw tops must be cheap wine, when in fact, that too is not necessarily the case.
Now, the latest craze to hit the wine world is canned wine. Sure, it’s convenient. It’s portion control. It’s perfect for the pools, beaches, camping outings or even a nice North Carolina hiking exploration. So, why do we have a problem with this. We even asked the question to our friend in the industry who we know will be honest when it comes to wine, and his response was “why not?” OK, challenge accepted.
Related Story: Six North Carolina Rosé wine and sorbet reviews for 2017
This summer we delved into the new world of canned wines on this new summer series. We reviewed 6 cans and where to best enjoy the snap of these liquid refreshments.
Our first can of the summer comes to us via our only North Carolina canned wine in this series. Skull Camp Winery out of Elkin has a handful of canned wines available for purchase at their winery and brewpub – and we selected the Euphoria.
Euphoria is a sweet, semi-dry, white blend made with Traminette grapes giving way to aromas of honeysuckle and flowers. This wine is perfect on a hot day to drink following that tennis game. Advantage: Euphoria!
This summer we were introduced to Frico. A small can of Frizzante by Scarpetta. This Italian winery produces wines such as Barbera del Monferrato and Pinto Grigio in bottles, but this little gift comes in small 250mL cans. Frizzante is a blend of Trebbiano, Glera and Chardonnay. The can was savored with its light refreshing bubbles and tastes of green apples and sweet, juicy pears. We thought this one would be a perfect wine to enjoy after a nice hike in the NC mountains. We also want to thank our friend Jim Soffe at Raleigh's Falls Village Wine & Beer for the suggestion.
Related Story: New Wine & Beer Shop Opens in Falls Village Shopping Center
We typically enjoy doing our rosé series as mentioned earlier, so of course we had to hunt down a rosé in a can – and we found one.
With Essentially Geared Wine Co., we were able to find a canned wine being served up in a 12oz. can. The label on the can of this rosé suggest pairing this 12% AVB wine with pizza by the slice, barbecue brisket or falafels. We cracked open our wine and did some yard work outside. Mow the lawn. Pull some weeds. Sweep the front porch. Crack open a can of Essentially Geared. Other cans include a red blend, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and a sparkling.
Next we move on to Dancing Coyote's estate grown white wine, hailing from Clarksburg, California. This 250mL white wine is a blend of several European varietals: Cortese (48%), Falanghina (22%), Loureiro (22%) and Pinto Grigio (7%). This wine, which is 13% ABV, was crisp with a lot of aromatics. It has a slight bit of effervescence. The wine was fermented cold in stainless steel tanks and aged for 5 months, never seeing any oak or malolactic.
This wine would be perfect to pack up in the cooler for your next camping trip. We decided to try something a little different – a sangria. We were introduced to Pulpoloco at our neighborhood wine bar while our friend was doing his Facebook live series. There we learned about this sangria from Spain. The wine, which comes in a paper can, is similar to the paper used from those childhood popsicles, Push-Up Pops. The label states that it's "... a refreshing blend of Tempranillo wine, fruit and spices."
Pulpoloco drank pretty easy, which is to be expected with a 5.5% ABV. We were imagining a full sangria with this base, mixing it up with some apples, oranges and plums as well as a splash of Triple Sec and some vodka. This little gem would be perfect out at the lake with friends for your own Sangrias at Sunset party.
For our final canned wine of the series, we popped the top on Ramona. This refreshing pink grapefruit treat is perfect for the beach – especially on these hot Carolina days. This wine is all natural, organic and comes in at 7% ABV. This easy drinking wine could get you in trouble, especially if you love pink grapefruit. We suggest mixing this drink with your favorite vodka for a kicked-up Greyhound.
So, what were our final thoughts and results on canned wines? Canned wines are the future. They are hip, convenient and casual, light weight, unbreakable and easy to pack. What's not to like? Sure, it may remind you of the 1980s and early 90s and the age of the wine cooler but now in 2018, these wines are better and more sophisticated. But please, do NOT drink from the can! Keep it classy and pour your wine into a wine glass or unbreakable tumbler if you’re out and about.
Honestly, going into this, we were thinking “Bartles & Jaymes” wine cooler at best. We were wrong. These wines were actually pretty good. Not the best we’ve had by any means, but there are some good wineries out there heading in this new direction.
While doing a little research and talking with those in the industry, it is our opinion that canned wine is not just a fad, but that we may be seeing a rise in production of canning wine in the future. Now, I’m sure you’re thinking, but didn’t the price of aluminum just go up which would thereby increase the price? Economists, we are not. Only time will tell on the actual future production. In no way do we see it taking over the traditional bottles just like corks will remain king over the screw top.
As the sun begins to set on Summer, we encourage you to visit your local bottle shop and pick up a can or two and let us know your thoughts. During this series, we estimate that we were spending roughly $7 per can. That's not bad.