I've had a transformation. In February, I wrote a blog post on my frustration about drinking wine out of a can. I'm not a wine snob by any means, but lifting a cold aluminum can to my lips only to have the wine rush out and up my nose was nearly debilitating. When I drink wine, I want to see it, smell it, swirl it, sip it and savor it. From a glass.
Since then, however, I've been "canned."
It started with my daughter, who is 35 and living in Lexington, Ky. On a recent visit, she showed up with several four-packs of 250-milliliter cans of sparkling wine. When I mildly chided her, she said, "Dad, get with it." Drinking wine from a can is convenient, she said. There's no cleanup, fussing with fancy glasses or worries about breakage. "I like to walk on the patio in my bare feet," she said. "If I drop a can, I've got nothing to worry about except for the dogs licking up what's left of the Chardonnay."
I thought about it, and she had a point. But I adamantly refused to drink wine from a straw, and I told her that. She just smiled and said, "One step at a time, father."
Canned wines are a matter of convenience.
So we chilled her wine and drank it in the pergola. It wasn't bad. In fact, Sofia Blanc de Blancs — a Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Muscat blend — was quite lively, fragrant and refreshing. Francis Coppola, the famous movie director turned reputable vintner, produces Sofia — named for his only daughter — in California. Blanc de Blanc comes in a four-pack of 187-milliliter cans (11 percent alcohol) and sells for $13.99. There is also a rose.
My daughter said canned wines are great for taking to the beach, pool parties and other outdoor events. "Glass bottles are trouble so why even bother?" she said. "No one is looking for elegance at the beach. You want to relax and have fun. Get canned, Dad."
She's right. There is a wine for every occasion, and canned wines offer an option. And what better timing than Memorial Day weekend to suggest some aluminum pours for your beach party or patio pleasure? Here are some I've sampled recently. (Note: Carbon dioxide in sparkling wines sends alcohol to the brain quicker than in still wines, so drink responsibly.)
Blanc, Brick and Mortar: This effervescent white wine comes in a 350-milliliter can ($5.99 each) and boasts a heady 12.5 percent alcohol level — (the average alcohol in a 25-ounce, 750-milliliter bottle is 12 percent). It's got a zesty, grapefruit and lime kick to it.
West and Wilder Rose: Here's a charming Pinot Noir-based rose from California with nice strawberry and peach traits. It drinks smoothly — almost too smoothl-- so beware the 12.5 percent alcohol in each 250-milliliter can (three cans equal one 750-milliliter bottle). A three-pack sells for $17.
Bollicini Sparkling Lambrusco: Italy's Bollicini brand is one of the fastest growing in the U.S. canned-wine category. It sells three sparklers — a white cuvee, rose and Lambrusco, which I found to be the more fascinating and flavorful. Bollicini four-packs (250-milliliter cans) sell for $12.99. It's a good value. The Lambrusco is semisweet, fruity and a good pick-me-upper for pizza or barbecue. Plus, it's got a lower alcohol content (8.5 percent per can) than the cuvee and rose (11 percent).