Bottles are heavy twice: once when the cabin dweller carries the wine in, and again when he carries the empties–clanking around in a disintegrating trash bin–back out, down the trail, into the truck where they clank around some more, then into some recycling bin where their fate is an open question.
Cans on the other hand, are extremely lightweight and crushable into tiny volumes. Modern cans are lined to prevent any of aluminum’s untoward advances on the contents, and in the case of Underwood, out of Oregon, it’s the very same product in their bottles.
In our testing (you know: for science) we sampled the three summer-appropriate wines from Underwood and noticed a couple somethings worth pointing out:
- Pour the wine into a glass. You taste with your nose first, and that little opening at the top of a can isn’t great for letting aromas out.
- In both the rosé and the pinot gris, we noticed a very slight effervescence residing in the wine just after opening. This dissipated after pouring into a glass and letting it open up a bit. Canned wine is packed with a pressurized headspace of inert gas–nitrogen in this case–a small amount of which dissolves into the wine in pursuit of equilibrium. When you open the can, you release the pressure and the dissolved nitrogen leaps out of solution as tiny bubbles. One of our friends at the local wine shop was describing how wine preserved with the Coravin system needs to “get its shirt back on” after being under the gas. I think that may be an appropriate analogy here. Give it a minute no matter how thirsty you are.
The list of producers canning wine is exploding. Start with Underwood (Union Wine Co.) and you won’t be disappointed.
Tasting notes: puffy fruit candy, strawberry, watermelon, peach
Varietal: a blend largely of pinot gris with pinot noir and syrah providing structure
Good to know: try it with pork ribs and tangy barbecue sauce
Tasting notes: grapefruit, pear, fruit cup, bright lemon acidity
Varietal: Pinot Gris (aka Pinot Grigio)
Good to know: beautiful copper color; ice-cold temperatures subdue sweetness, so let this one come up a bit to ensure a good balance
Tasting notes: white peach, dry apple cider, energetic fizz
Good to know: our favorite of the three; sparkling wine is always the most versatile so enjoy with oysters, lit-erally any cheese, grilled sandwiches…
Many thanks to Stephanie Edmonds, my resident wine expert and Level 2 Candidate, Court of Master Sommeliers.