Ellen Clifford: From Cristal to Cans

In my last column I was sipping Cristal. In my never-ending quest for balance, I am now recommending canned wine. Cans have plenty of upsides: They will never be corked, they provide perfect portions, and they require neither glassware nor corkscrew. Hey, not only does that make them perfect for rowdy parties and poolside sipping, but they are also prime for sneaking into movie theatres. Or, if you’re feeling frisky and want to day drink in a park where alcohol is not permitted, canned wine is much easier to get away with, but you didn’t hear that from me. I sampled 27 varieties of canned wine. It’s tough work that really no one needs to do and yet I persevere. My findings break into four categories: Sparkling, White & Rosé, Red, and “Other.” “Other” is essentially coolers and spritzers. I gave each wine the chance to impress me from both can and glass. Surprisingly, some exceled out of can and fell short in the glass. The tinny taste of aluminum pleasantly enhanced and gave complexity to the flavors that lacked depth when tasted from a glass. In a can, flavor is condensed and intensified. The spout focuses the flavors. For extra credit I tried turning some of my favorites into shower wines and was reminded that wine in the shower is still not a thing I enjoy, though it is most definitely a thing. It’s fun in theory. SPARKLING First up: the sparkling wines! Maybe soda has conditioned me to enjoy chilled carbonation from a can, because I found that the bubbles worked more often than not. Scarpetta “Frico” Frizzante, Veneto, Italy The driest and earthiest of the bunch. Notes of lemon, bread dough and mushroom are pleasantly mitigated by the can. Sofia Blanc de Blancs (Francis Ford Coppola Winery), California The attached straw adds no flavor complexity, thank god. Sofia sings peachy keen and the bubbles are plush. Babe Rosé with Bubbles, California This one wins the texture contest. The bubbles are downright velvety. It even held up in the shower. I don’t advocate shower wine, but if you are going to booze up bath time, take a Babe with you. WHITE & ROSÉ Now for the whites and rosés. None of the Chardonnays I tried held up for me. They all reeked of fake oak. Only one white held up, but the rosés were formidable: Underwood Rosé (Union Wine Company), Oregon This Oregon pink is simple and perfect. While prettier in a glass, it’s elegantly laced with white peach and strawberry notes when enjoyed from can. Tangent Rosé, Edna Valley, California Edna Valley’s Paragon Vineyard makes for a rippingly sharp yet almost overripe full-bodied beauty. A hint of petrol hits the nose, but on the palate it’s all ripe watermelon and raspberry. A potent rosé, it’s scrumptious. Dark Horse Rosé, California This is somewhere in between the Tangent and Underwood. More body than Underwood, but rife with rich ripe lemon, raspberry, and a hint of toast. It’s fine in the can, but better in a glass. RED Now for the devilish reds! I had trouble with this one. Cans seem to taste best with a chill, so I tried the reds chilled, too. The chill of the canned reds, however, was discomfiting. Despite this, I did find a couple of cans for those who will not drink anything but crimson. Porch Pounder Red Wine, Paso Robles, California Hailing from Paso Robles, this wine tastes like cherry juice infused with craisins. The tannins are higher than I’d surmise would be good out of a can, but somehow work well in the Porch Pounder. West Side Wine Cabernet Sauvignon, California The best of Whole Foods! Better out of a glass, and the tannins are minimal and velvety. There is a bit of residual sugar that amplifies the juicy red berry and spiced nature of this one. “OTHER” Last but not least, I now present you with “Other”! Don’t think of them as wine, think of them as fun. I own these choices. Come at me. Barefoot Red Sangria Spritzer It may be better than any real sangria I’ve ever had. That being said, I’ve never been to Spain, but this is the proper balance of red fruit mixed with fresh orange and…pear? Is it “natural”? Hell no, but it is damn delicious. Hoxie “Strawberry Rosé” Dry Wine Spritzer , Augusta, Missouri I was so relieved to like this one, as the cans are the cutest. It tastes like biting into a fresh strawberry that has been soaking in dry wine. Hauntingly sweet, but not too sweet. Here’s a fun fact for a Missouri gal like me: The grapes are 100% St. Vincent, grown and fermented in Augusta, Missouri, the first AVA in the United States. St. Mayhem “Tao of Mint” Dubbed “fizzy rosé wine with mint, raspberry and matcha tea,” this one works because it tastes exactly like all those fresh ingredients, but mostly like mint and raspberries. It’s a wine cooler that actually feels...cooling. Go figure. - Ellen Clifford Delectable columnist Ellen Clifford is a WSET 3 and CMS 2 wine professional and comedic actress living in Los Angeles. Her musings on all things wine can be found on her blog Scumptious Gruel and weekly podcast The Whine Situation . You can follower Ellen on Delectable and Instagram at @ellenclifford.

Scarpetta

Frico Frizzante Prosecco

Dry and earthy! Forgot to get a pic, but I love the lemon, bread dough and mushroom on this one! — 10 months ago

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MaJ CappS

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This is such a lovely little can , I believe the sellers used to work at the French laundry, and have the wine made in Italy for export only ? I forget..But I loved it.
Ellen Clifford

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Totally good stuff! Glad you like it too!

Tangent

Central Coast Rosé Blend

Rich! But with good cut and a hint of petrol on the nose. Two thumbs up. — 10 months ago

Jason, Bill and 9 others liked this

Porch Pounder

Red Wine

I SO didn’t wanna like this but it’s so damn juicy. It’s all ripe cherries and craisins and decently high tannins. Pound away. — 10 months ago

Bill, Serge and 14 others liked this

Hoxie Spritzer

Strawberry Rose St. Vincent

This is like biting into a fresh strawberry that has been soaking in the bottom of your wine spritzer. Aka the best part of the drink except you get a whole glass of it. I’m amazed how fresh it was. And I’m from so Missouri so happy to see a drink with grapes from Augusta. First AVA, babieeeees! — 10 months ago

Trixie, Eric and 12 others liked this

Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs California Sparkling Blend

Rather peachy and totally plush. I’m trying to avoid straws but this one is rather fetch. Lovely can if you are gonna go bubbly poolside. — 9 months ago

Paul, Ron and 6 others liked this
Trixie

Trixie

Great design. Very appealing. Cheers!

Union Wine Co.

Underwood Oregon Rosé Pinot Noir

So far maybe my favorite non-bubbly canned wine wine. Peaches and cranberries and a whiff of residual sugar but this one is laid back. It’s not trying to get your attention or be overly complicated. It is me in a slip dress if I may so flatter myself. — 10 months ago

Paul, Severn and 18 others liked this
MaJ CappS

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I happen to have a paper bag this will fit perfectly in for a walk around my hood. Seriously - as a Rose lover, gonna have to grab a couple. Thanks for the heads up!
Ellen Clifford

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@MaJ CappS sure—canned wine is my next topic for Delectable so a column with a bunch of my recs will be out in June:)

Barefoot Cellars

Spritzer Red Sangria

Oh sorry but sometimes I LURVE the things I feel a smidge guilty loving. But the chemists at Barefoot have figured a blend that is better than every other acrid, overly boozy, stale fruity, icky-wine-y REAL sangria I’ve ever had. Is it real? I don’t care at this instant. It’s yummy. If I were a better human I’d be contemplating sustainability but right now I’m thinking of peeps at their local supermarket wanting something tasty to bring them closer to friends. And sometime human connection is what wine (and it’s..um, descendants) is best for. — 10 months ago

Paul, Ron and 17 others liked this
Ellen Clifford

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@Kim Stanbro it tasted good that way too. I was just in the moooood for fancy:)

White Girl Wine

Babe Rosé With Bubbles

The texture of this endears it to me. Granted I know whether food or drink I’m very sensitive to texture. So that this is unexpectedly plush. Like the bubbles on this I’d expect on Champagne. The flavor? Not complex. Not interesting, or lasting but really but the texture...I’ve always been a texture fan and this one is like velvet kitties hanging out in your mouth and not bothering you to let them out. They are purring and such. I’m a little mad I wanted to hate this based on name but no...I’m into this. A party swiller true but also sooooo pleasantly textured. — 10 months ago

Paul, Bill and 15 others liked this
Ellen Clifford

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@Bill Bender it’s pretty mystical here
Paul Treadway Huntington Beacher Bum

Paul Treadway Huntington Beacher Bum

Thats not mystic fog, it’s just LA Smog,

Dark Horse Wines

The Original California Rosé Blend

Super sipper. Medium body with oodles of raspberries dancing on your palate. The goth in me likes the name. The goth in me also loves pink. Go fig. — 10 months ago

Jason, Paul and 8 others liked this

West Side Wine Co.

California Cabernet Sauvignon

I was so happy this column I’m working on gave me the excuse for this. I’ve been staring at it at Whole Foods forever. It’s really juicy with velvety tannins. I recommend. — 10 months ago

Paul, Bill and 12 others liked this