“I need all the canned wine you have,” I told the Giant Eagle Market District employee. It was 5 p.m. on a Friday. Chad behind me had a case of Miller Lite. Annette behind him had a bottle of Cupcake.
“We only have these,” the employee said, gesturing toward an Underwood Wine Co. display.
“Alright,” I said as I grabbed an armload.
That’s how I started my weekend of canned wine sampling.
Underwood, based in Oregon, sells four of their wines — Sparkling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Rosé — in 375 mL cans ($6.99 each at the Market District in Grandview.) The Sparkling is sold out until November, so local shops only sell the remaining three. Given that a 750 mL bottle of the same wine goes for around $14, it’s pretty equivalent economically. An equivalent taste-wise to the Underwood selection is any other low-middle costing wine out there. The wine doesn’t taste like it came from a $5 box at the gas station — another popular, alternative vino vehicle — but it’s not being served at a five-star restaurant either. The fruity notes of the rosé, and chocolate tones in the pinot noir were nice, albeit pedestrian.
West Side Wine Co. cans their Chardonnay ($4.99 for 250 mL, found at Whole Foods Easton), a standard good dry wine, perhaps good for a couple glugs in a recipe. It’s nice and drinkable, but hard to think of a party or occasion when one would crack open a small can of Chardonnay instead of opening a bottle.
I love being served a mimosa with my own little bottle of bubbly. I would also love being served a can of Presto Sparkling Cuveé’s Prosecco. The 187 mL can ($12.99 for a 4-pack at Whole Foods Easton) is packed with light, citrus bubbles. It’s clean, refreshing and really makes me wish it didn’t come in a Barbie sized can.
Mancan, based in Cleveland and sourcing their grapes from California, produces full-sized, full-flavored vino. Their red, white and fizzy blends are sold in 4-packs ($19.99 at Whole Foods Easton) with splashy labels that could easily be mixed up with their craft beer counterparts. That was their goal after all — to have wine as bar and social friendly as a can of beer. Their mutt blends are no fuss, hearty and just plain good. They’re perfect for late summer, early autumn picnics, outdoor concerts, or just chilling on the couch.
Canned wine is great for those who don’t want to mess with complicated decanting and delicate stemware or worry how long you’re supposed to leave a bottle open in the fridge, but it’s also a good alternative for discerning vinos who enjoy camping, swimming and other activities where glassware isn’t able to go.