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.

Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs California Pinot Blanc 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. — 6 years ago

Paul, Ron and 6 others liked this


Great design. Very appealing. Cheers!

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. — 6 years ago

Jason, Paul and 8 others liked this

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. — 6 years 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:)

St. Mayhem

Tao Of Mint Fizzy Rose Wine

Omg it’s not wine it’s a cooler that is truly cooling. And it tastes mostly like mint and raspberries and fresh. I wanted to not like it but now all I wanna do is go to Palm Springs and drink in the pool — 6 years ago

Ron, Severn and 9 others liked this


Fun reviews from you this week. Enjoyed your reviews on wine in cans. It's really convenient if you are outdoors - no bottles to worry about. 🌞🌴
Ellen Clifford

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Thanks @Trixie ! I’ve been working on a piece on wine in cans for the Delectable features page so there’s been method to my madness. The rundown of my favorites should be up relatively soon:) let me know if there are any I need to check out that you are into!
Severn Goodwin

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We have a cat named Tao 😺


Central Coast Rosé Blend

Rich! But with good cut and a hint of petrol on the nose. Two thumbs up. — 6 years ago

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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! — 6 years ago

Trixie, Eric and 12 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. — 6 years ago

Paul, Bill and 12 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. — 6 years ago

Bill, Serge and 14 others liked this


Frico Frizzante Prosecco

Dry and earthy! Forgot to get a pic, but I love the lemon, bread dough and mushroom on this one! — 6 years ago

Ellen, Jason and 9 others liked this
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!

Union Wine Co.

Underwood Oregon Pinot Noir Rosé

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. — 6 years ago

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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:)