These past few weeks, I have been making a concerted effort to first organize and then tackle the mountain of samples that I have amassed over the last few months. Last week, in that vein, I cleared out a few cans that had been hiding in my refrigerator for a couple of years. Today, I present a few more cans–these I have had for only a few months or so (I think).
In general, there is not a whole lot of information on the environmental impact of aluminum cans versus bottles. Cans are certainly lighter and easier to recycle than bottles, but they are a bit nastier to produce (mining for aluminum is a rather disastrous for the environment).
So until I see a reputable paper on the effects, I have to say that it is a bit up in the air. For now, it seems that cans are filling the space that half-bottles once occupied (I never really understood the half-bottle concept, but then I don’t get the “left-over wine” phenomenon).
2017 Bonny Doon La Bulle-Moose Blanche: Retail $8 (375 can). 100% Vermentino. It is not entirely clear how the bubbles got into the wine, whether by using the Charmat Method (where the second fermentation occurs in a large tank, as with Prosecco) or it is simply carbonated (as with Coca-Cola). Either way, it’s a tasty can of wine. Sure, there is a bit of funk on the nose (but I love the funk), but there is plenty of fruit and a slight sparkle on the palate. Fun. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2017 Bonny Doon La Bulle-Moose Rousse: Retail $8 (375 can). 79% Grenache, 21% Syrah. There are not a ton of sparkling red wines out there since, among other reasons, tannin is an element winemakers want to avoid in sparkling wine. This one does. Dark in the glass with red and dark fruit notes, while the palate is a bit more austere, but only slightly. Another fun quaff, a slight step up from the Blanche. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
Butternut Chardonnay, California: $6/375 can. Next to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay is perhaps the toughest wine to make inexpensively. Why? Well, you have to decide for whom you want to make it: the folks that get their underwear all in a bunch when they detect any hint of oak in the wine, or the old school crowd that likes their Chard so chockful of wood that you are likely to get a splinter. It is tough to be anywhere in between since, in order to do that, it would almost certainly need to spend some time in oak barrels, and those ain’t cheap. With the name “Butternut” it is not difficult to guess which way this wine swings. Pear, butterscotch, and, yes, oak, on the nose, while the palate has decent fruit, good acidity, and, yes, plenty of oak. Honestly, for six bucks, one could do a whole lot worse, but then I like (a little) oak in my Chardonnay. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
Butternut Rosé, Central Coast: $6/375 can. 50% Tempranillo, 50% Syrah. OK, so this is interesting. First, the website says that most of the fruit comes from Paso Robles, which is not necessarily known for having inexpensive grapes. But of even more interest is this statement on the website: the fruit was harvested and “crushed a pressed immediately.” Unless I am sadly mistaken, that means this is a “True Rosé” which kinda made my week (one of the arguments some make against making a True Rosé is that it causes the wine to be too expensive). The wine itself? Slightly more orange than pink, with rhubarb, watermelon, and a decided floral element on the nose. The palate has plenty of tartness and fruit, with some depth on the mid-palate. Yum. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
Mancan Fizz Wine, California: Retail $30 (four 375 cans). “Blend of Unoaked Chardonnay and Viognier with Bubbles.” The can says that this is a “carbonated wine” which I take to mean that carbonation is added (as with soda-pop) and instead of through a second fermentation process (as with most sparkling wine). A bit funky on the nose with a fairly vigorous bubble, that fizzes out fairly quickly. Decent flavors, ample acidity, short finish, this will not set your hair on fire, but it is decent, fairly inexpensive, and extremely portable. Good to Very Good. 85-87 Points.
Mancan Rosé Wine, California: Retail $30 (four 375 cans). “Blend of Chardonnay and Zinfandel.” I am guessing that this is a bit of a rarity, and it is actually a blend of red and white wines–probably 90% (or more) of rosé wines are either intentionally made (what I refer to as “True Rosé“) or a “saignée” where a bit of juice is bled off of red wine and then made into a rosé. Why? Blending red and white is a lot cheaper (and easier). A bit funky on the nose with strawberry and rhubarb while the palate is fairly juicy and even fun, but is fairly low in acidity for a rosé and seems a tad sweet. Still, Good to Very Good. 85-87 Points.
Mancan White Wine, California: Retail $30 (four 375 cans). “Blend of Unoaked Chardonnay and Viognier.” There is no indication of whether the “Fizz” (above) is simply this wine with added carbonation, but I do like this wine slightly better. None of the funk as with the Fizz, just pear and peach on the nose. The palate is sweet, but not quite off-dry, with decent flavors and adequate acidity. One could do worse. Far worse. Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.
Interesting. I’ve never seen any of these in the stores near me (not that I’ve been out much lately). I will have to keep an eye out!