Wine in a Can? Hell Yes!
Thanks to hard work and a little luck, I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world, taste some of the best (and worst) wines and visit pretty much every corner of every wine region on the planet. I even launched and ran a successful winery that won multiple Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals. Now I have a hobby vineyard in my backyard; I make wine at home and it’s solid. I’ve taken dozens of classes, been to hundreds of industry tastings—shit, I live an hour and fifteen minutes from Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties, an area that produces some of the best wines in the world.
And you know what the net of all that is? I have absolutely no fucking stemware in my house. I drink fine wines from goddamn mason jars, or any other object that holds liquid. How ‘bout that vase? Or my kid’s Thomas-the-Train sippy cup. Hand me your friggin’ boot; I really don’t give a fuck what I’m drinking out of, and neither should you.
Here’s the thing: I know so much about wine that I hate opening my mouth for fear that I’ll come off like the thing I hate most in this world: an arrogant prick talking about how great cabernet sauvignon is or being a “big cab guy.” Eesh! OK, big guy! Whenever this happens, I just sit, eyes rolling back in my head as my blood pressure rises with pure contempt, listening to them yammer on about the “best wine on the planet,” which of course is based on price tag, geography (NAPA), and of course its “girth.” Charles, check out the weight on this bottle, “so heavy”; it must be good! Just fucking gag me, please.
Whenever someone asks me what types of wine I like, my answer is and always will be, “Whatever is in my fucking glass!” Wine comes in all shapes and sizes, and I love them all—the more esoteric, the better. So the other day, while in Arizona looking at colleges with my daughter, we sat down for lunch, and my girlfriend ordered a Rosé . I love rose`; it’s probably the most flexible wine, along with Champagne/sparkling wines, when pairing with food. Rosé all day is what they say, and it’s because rose` is lower in alcohol and won’t fatigue your pallet like red wines do. Some Rosé ‘s can get really sweet, which is not a favorite of mine, but dry ones are truly a treat.
So, when the waiter arrived at our table, to my surprise he put down a 250 ml can of rose`, from a company called “The Infinite Money Theorem.” My head tilted … whaaaa? Immediately the wine and packaging grabbed my attention; wine in a can? She poured it into a glass, and as I tasted it, I said to myself, shit ain’t bad. Hell, I would drink this stuff on a spring or summer day without issue. And as I sat back, my mind started wandering, thinking about the possibilities of this new product. I floated back to high school during the ‘80s reliving the days of showing up at parties with a 4-pack of Bartels & Jaymes wine coolers. When I brought two 4-packs you knew I was ready to party!
As I sat, deep in thought, what occurred to me is that these cans are easy to transport, they’re virtually unbreakable, and the wine doesn’t go bad. If you want just one glass, you don’t have to open an entire bottle. The best part? You don’t even need a friggin’ glass. You can drink it straight from the can or even drop a straw in and you’re good to go.
With all that being said, based on my wine acumen and overall open attitude about wines in general, I decided that I’m the perfect candidate to taste and review a few canned wines from around the world. Or whatever I could find at my local Bev Mo, Safeway, and Total Wine & More.
First, I’m only reviewing Rosé ‘s with and without bubbles. I’m not reviewing white varietals, flavored wines, or red wines. All the wines are in cans—no boxed wines and no glass containers.
What I found interesting during my research is that none of these rose`s noted what varietal the Rosé is from—Grenache, Pinot Noir, etc.—which tells me it’s probably made up of many different varietals, so we’ll just call them “Rosé blends.” I also found that the section at the store for these types of wines was incredibly small, which tells me that we’re in the early stages of this product’s evolution and acceptance. Recent statistics reveal that canned wine sales were $2 million in 2012, reaching $15 million in 2016, so sales are clearly on the rise.
Time to get down to business. FYI, I made fried chicken with red beans and rice to accompany our tasting. I invited my sister Kim, brother in-law Mike, and girlfriend Lauren to assist with the tasting as well. We tasted 12 wines and came up with a four-category rating system: the “Four P’s.” The wines were rated best for:
Pool – light, refreshing, bubbles, easy drinker
Picnic – works well with food, more complexity
Party – More weight, heavier style
Potty/Poop – Don’t drink it, wine had flaws or was simply undrinkable
So here we go:
- The Infinite Monkey Theorem – Rosé – Denver – (12% Alcohol – $15 for a 4 Pack of 250ml Cans)
I just love the packaging and name of this wine, who doesn’t like Monkeys even when you are dealing with wine? This winery is located in downtown Denver and currently pumping out 200,000 canned wines annually and it’s on the rise. This was one of the favorites, hints of strawberries, watermelon, light 7-up sweetness, tiny bubbles and overall fun to drink.
- Babe – Rosé w bubbles – California – (12% Alcohol – $14 for a 4 Pack of 250ml Cans)
This wine was created by an Instagram blogger “The Fat Jewish” – @thefatjewish, he purchased a huge billboard to promote this wine on Highway 10 heading into Coachella this eyar. We found the wine to taste like a Watermelon Jolly Rancher, sweet, angular with bubbles.
- Lila – Rosé – France – (12% Alcohol – $9.99 for 4 Pack of 250ml Cans)
This was another favorite from the tasting, hints of melon, citrus, round mouthfeel with a bit of effervescence. Lila makes wines from Italy and France. It also has two other wines in the market, a Sparkling and a Pinot Grigio.
- Tangent – Rosé – Enda Valley – (12.5% Alcohol – $7.99 for One 375ml Can)
The most expensive canned wine per ML of the group – due to it being a certified sustainable wine from Edna Valley in San Luis Abispo. The wine was the darkest in color of all the Rosé s we tasted, very round with hints of strawberry, raspberry and grape juice. Worth $7.99 for a can? Nope!
- Underwood – Rosé w bubbles – Oregon – (11% Alcohol – $4.99 for One 375ml Can)
Underwood is the big name in the group as one of the pioneers in the canned wine market. Hints of melon, citrus and cotton candy over bubbles. Another favorite of the group.
- Underwood – Rosé – Oregon (12% Alcohol – $4.99 for one 375ml Can)
This is Underwood’s Rosé without bubbles and had a lot more weight than its counterpart. Hints of lemon, citrus and berries but a bit flat on the pallet.
- Original House Wine – Rosé – Walla Walla, Washington – (11.5% Alcohol – $5.99 for One 375 ml Can)
The winemaker missed the mark on this wine, I tried two different cans after the first one’s nose was off. The second can showed the same issue with a slight hint of rotten eggs. The winemaker could have simply added copper sulfate to the wine to eliminate the smell but didn’t. Therefore, this wine was undrinkable and nobody in our group could stomach it.
- Back Pack Wine – Rosé – Washington – (11.5% Alcohol – $13.99 for 4 Pack of 250ml Cans)
This wine had intense citrus notes, tart and unripe fruit, a little dead on the pallet and tasted flat. The wines are from Washington and they also sell a Merlot and a Riesling.
- Seven Daughters – Rosé – Italy – (11.5% Alcohol – $12.99 for 4 Pack of 250ml Cans)
This was another favorite from our tasting, very structured with layers of citrus, melon and berry’s. The winery sells wines in bottle and cans, with a total of seven wines available in can.
- Ahoy Wines – Rosé – Healdsburg – (13% Alcohol – $13.99 for 4 Pack of 250ml Cans)
This wine was sweet, with a round mouthfeel, a higher level of viscosity with hints of strawberries. This wine was developed by the founders of Sonoma Cider and they currently have 3 wines in can, a red, white and sparking Rosé .
- Presto – Sparking Rosé – Italy (11% Alcohol – $13.99 for 4 Pack of 250ml Cans)
This was another favorite with berry, citrus notes, good structure layered over bubbles. The wine is sold at Whole Foods and Presto also has a sparking Cuvee.
- Mirabeau – Rosé – Provence France (13% Alcohol – $19.99 for 4 Pack pf 250ml Cans)
This was my guess to be the best in the tasting based on its origin, Provence, France which is known for making the best Rosé ‘s on the planet. This wine did not fail to deliver. The most complex and elegant of the group, showed complex berry tones over earth. Better to be served in bottle versus a can? Absolutely!
The net of my review, we were all drunk……….. very…. no joke, yes alcohol was present in these wines. Sorry, I digress, moving on. The net, I felt the pool rated wines seemed to embody the canned wine movement the best. Bright, light with effervescence, an overall crowd pleaser. The heavier, more complex wines with and without structure seemed out of place in a can. Yet, depending on your pallet, could work for you. Final thought – I don’t see wine in a can being a short term trend, it just makes sense in so many ways. So follow my lead, get to your local market and try some of these wines. I know they will end up taking up a permanent spot in your refrigerator.
If you enjoyed this review, check out the review I did on “Imperfect Produce, “Imperfectly Good.”