This year shaping up to be the summer of canned wine, and not a moment too soon. With both winemakers and wine drinkers looking for ways to make drinking wine easier and less intimidating, canned wines are booming, in part because unlike boxed wine they don’t require any glassware to drink. While you might expect a sommelier like me to turn my nose up at the very idea, I’m all about finding new and inventive ways to enjoy my favorite beverage wherever the summer sun takes me. That said, not every canned wine is good, and not every wine is good for canning, so here are a few tips.
Fizz Is Fun
No, you won’t get a fully-sparkling wine to stay that way in a can, but a bit of bubbles can really liven up the whole thing. Take Fricco Frizzante from Scarpetta; it’s definitely fizzy but won’t explode if you leave it in the cooler too long.
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There’s bright notes of fresh lemon and green apple, and at 10% ABV it’ll get things going without leaving you passed out in a hammock.
Cold And Bold
One of the important things to remember with canned wine is that it’ll likely be cold, and the colder a wine is, the less expressive it will be. This is actually great when you’re using grapes that can be a bit intense, like Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay Noir, and others. Instead of just a mouthful of ripe fruit, you’ll get a more balanced wine.
Drink It Now
You’d think it would go without saying, but: canned wine is not designed to be aged! It’s probably at its best the moment it goes into the can, and the longer it stays there the more it will decline.
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Fortunately can technology has come a long way, so you’re not necessarily going to get metallic wine (just say that’s the minerality if so), but if you leave it for next summer your wine will probably taste dull and uninteresting.
The canned market is burgeoning right now, and I’d have to believe we’ll only see more examples soon. That’s great, because canned wine is fun, but I’d encourage you to avoid the most aggressively marketed wines out there, as there seems to be an inverse correlation between the amount of marketing and the quality of the wine. The relatively humble Underwood wines from Union Wine Co. remain among the best canned wines out there, and that’s not a coincidence.
So fill your coolers and ice buckets with more than just beer this year; canned wine is here for all your barbecue and block party needs!