Fear Not the Can

This past summer saw the rise of the latest trend in wine packaging – the aluminum can. Long associated with beers and sodas, a small but growing number of wine makers have decided to turn to this old standard to help reduce costs and extend the appeal of their product to a larger group.

Now old time wine lovers may be shuddering at the news. After all, one of the key reasons for using glass bottles was to avoid the problem of contaminating the wine within. Aluminum and wine don’t mix – past experiments quickly demonstrated that aluminum reacts with wine leading to tragic results for both nose and flavor. Enter Steve Barics and Greg Stokes, a pair of Australian winemakers who recognized the real potential for the aluminum can if you could just solve that whole pesky flavor disruption thing.

Barics and Stokes fiddled around for several years before finally developing the new and improved aluminum can. The secret? A ceramic lining that prevents the wine and the aluminum from touching. The Barokes can, patent-protected of course, is now available to wine-producers around the world. And wine producers have started to take advantage.

We had our own first encounter with wine in a can just recently, a can of Original House Wine Pink Sparkling Wine. We were skeptical but we had to admit, it looked good as it was poured into the glass. There’s that beautiful pink color you would expect and plenty of fizz that fills your nose with happy notes of grapefruit and white flowers. And the taste?

Turns out that ceramic lining does a great job. This bubbly concoction was full of white fruit flavors followed by a hint of dryness in the finish. It’s a wonderful blend of tastes and fizz that’s dangerously easy to drink, especially with summer temperatures still lingering. Despite the slowly approaching month of October, this is one bit of summer we are happy to hold onto.

Having discovered the possibilities of canned wine, we decided to test a few more. We can happily report that there are other good canned wines out there, perfect for a party or a picnic or just to have handy when you need to have a sip but don’t want to open a full bottle. (Each can holds approximately two glasses of wine.) Our suggestions:

  • Una Lou Pinot Noir – big strawberry rose with hints of sea salt right at the end.
  • Underwood – this Oregon winemaker has four varieties in cans, including Pinot noir and Pinot gris
  • Porch Pounder – a big, powerful red perfect for all those upcoming tailgate parties. It pairs well with all those smoked and grilled meats.
  • Infinite Monkey Theorem – based in Detroit, this company has put some really good wine into cans. The best of the best – the white. A hint of bubbles, a whisper of lemon and a singularly refreshing flavor.

So you may not find your favorite Burgundy in a can (yet), but you needn’t avoid the aluminum containers completely. They’re handy, easy to open, and the contents will make your mouth happy.

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