Since my first article reviewing several wines in cans, I have spent a considerable amount of time trying to answer what I thought was a fairly straightforward question:
Are cans more environmentally responsible than bottles as a container for wine?
I thought it would be easy.
While cans are lighter, tend to be recycled more often, and contain more recyclable material, making new aluminum (cans contain between 20-30% new material) is pretty much an environmental disaster.
Bottles are heavier (and thus use a ton more greenhouse gasses to ship), tend to end up in landfills more often, and can easily break and become lodged in my bike tires causing me to curse loudly by the side of the road.
Cans, though, are allowed by the pool, so that is where I tasted the following:
Seven Daughters Rosé Veneto IGT: Retail $14/4x250ml. No clue on the blend. A pinkish orange hue in the glass with what seems to be a slight spritz upon pouring. Bright red berry fruit dominates the nose while a slight effervescence and a touch of sweetness are evident on the palate. A fun quaff by the pool. Very Good. 86-88 Points.
Seven Daughters Moscato Veneto IGT: Retail $14/4x250ml. Tropical fruit and honey accompanies the bubbles to the top. Sweet and fruity on the palate but far short of cloying, this might be the choice for a backyard BBQ, particularly if there is a bit of spice involved. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
Seven Daughters Pinot Noir Provincia di Pavia IGT: Retail $14/4x250ml. Call me more of a traditionalist, but of the three Seven Daughters, this was the most difficult conceptually. Pinot from a can? I have said before that it is tough to make a solid Pinot under $30. While this is no blockbuster, it is surprisingly solid. With dark cherry fruit and acidity, this would do well with roast chicken or even pork. By the pool? A bit tougher sell. Very Good. 86-88 Points.
Babe Rosé with Bubbles: Retail $16 for four 250ml cans. Blend? I really have no idea–there is no indication on the can nor on the website. The fruit apparently comes from somewhere in California and is vinified in Palier, CA, in the Central Valley (near Fresno), but is bottled (or canned) in Minnesota, and distributed by Chelsea Wine Vault in New York. In other words, this wine gets around. I was ready to hate this wine. In fact, I was ready to more than hate this wine (if that is even possible–is “hate” a superlative?). A funny thing happened–it is not horrible, and further, it is actually pretty good. Now, this is not the wine to pop open to celebrate your 50th wedding anniversary, your college graduation, or even when the Eagles win the Super Bowl (Go Birds!). But this is a great wine for the pool, the beach, the patio. Fruity and only a bit sweet, there are nice bubbles and decent acidity. I just wish there were more transparency around the contents. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
Underwood Rosé, Oregon: Retail $7 per 375ml can. 12% ABV. Again, no indication on the blend. I should really talk about the color of this rosé since that is a fairly important factor in my book, but I popped this on my couch, watching the basketball game. Halfway through the can, I realized that I liked the wine, a lot, but other than that I had not been paying attention. During a commercial break, I pushed pause on the DVR, made my kids go to bed, and opened the back door to allow the dog to have a little evening time in the backyard. Really good strawberry and rhubarb with plenty of tartness, after several gulps, though, I poured some into a glass–great pale pink color and the rhubarb really comes through. I would venture to guess that there is the slightest bit of residual sugar as there is a sweet note on the mid palate, but that is purely conjecture (there is scant information on the internet). In the end? Impressed. Greatly. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2016 Porch Pounder Central Coast Chardonnay: Retail $24/4 375ml cans. I have to admit that I like the name: “Porch Pounder.” This is a product that I could get behind even though I technically do not have a porch–I do have an area in the back of our house where we occasionally drink a bit of wine, but “Patio Pounder” does not have the same caché. Like the other wines on this list, there is scant information about this wine–it is 100% Chardonnay from the Central Coast, which is a fairly big appellation from Santa Barbara County, just north of Los Angeles, all the way up to Contra Costa County in the East Bay. Having said that, I like it. No apparent oak, plenty of fruit (pineapple, guava, melon), good acidity, and a lingering finish. At $12 for the equivalent of a 750ml bottle is not “cheap” but it is a pretty solid wine for the price. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2016 Porch Pounder Rosé Paso Robles: Retail $24/4 375ml cans. While the varietal make-up of this pinky is as shrouded in mystery as its paler cousin, this does have the “Paso Robles” appellation attached to it, which is much more precise. I like precision. I think. Maybe I don’t. I am not sure. Let me get back to you on that. As for the wine? “Pretty, pretty good” to quote Larry David (who has not endorsed this wine, as far as I know). Good fruit (I am guessing that it is mostly Grenache/Syrah given the region) of watermelon and strawberry, with ample acidity (I am also going out on a limb and assuming that this is a saignée), and a more-than-halfway-decent finish. Is that a ringing endorsement? Not really, but this is a solid wine and I would not hesitate to take it to our little community pool just down the street. Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2017 Bonny Doon La Bulle-Moose de Cigare Fizzy Pink of the Earth: Retail $32/4x375ml cans. 57% Grenache, 18% Grenache Blanc, 9% Mourvèdre, 6% Rousanne, 5% Carignane, 5% Cinsault. I have yet to visit Bonny Doon, but this is yet another reason why I need to—the irreverent text on the can underscores that the folks at the winery do not take themselves all that seriously, which I fully endorse (have you seen any of my sabering videos?). The wine, fun and eminently portable, is a solid effort and a welcome entry into the canned category. It is apparently a pale pink (it went straight from the can to my gullet), but certainly has aromas of strawberry and rose petals, it carries a light sparkle, subtle flavors, and a bit of a punch (13% ABV). Fantastically fun and tasty too. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2017 Wrath Wines AL Sauvignon Blanc Monterey County: Retail $7.50 per 375ml can, sold in four-packs. Intense tropical fruit (mango, guava, pineapple) rushes out of the can and onto the palate with fantastic acidity and a chalky, mineral finish. This is really a well-done wine, but I have a bit of a problem with it–I am not a huge Sauvignon Blanc fan. I guess I should not admit that since it reveals a clear bias of mine, but we all have biases. Having said that, I return to the fact that this really is a nice wine, and I would happily suggest this four pack for your next trip to the pool. Or beach. Or high school parking lot. OK, maybe not that last one. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.