This month the Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers are writing about canned wine...and summer picnics. You can read host Terri's invitation here. But the gist of it: "The canned wine category is booming. Sales are driven not just by millennials; consumers of all ages are gravitating toward the convenience, portability and portion control offered by the new-format packaging. Plan a picnic using canned wine in your pairing. Choose your favorite region, varietals, etc."
If you are reading this early enough, feel free to jump in on the live Twitter chat on Saturday, June 11th at 8am Pacific. Just follow the hashtag #WinePW; and be sure to add that to anything you tweet so we can see it.
Here's the list of articles from the writers...
- A Portable Orange Chardonnay Seltzer Perfect for a Picnic by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Canned Bubbles and Hot Dogs - A Taste of Summer by Avvinare
- Convenience and Flavor with Canned Wines from Argentina for a Backyard Picnic by Crushed Grape Chronicles
- (Easily) Portable Wine for Summer Picnicking by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Picnicking with Le Petit Verre Canned Bubbly Rosé by Our Good Life
- Pro-Tip for the Chief Picnic Operator – Don’t Forget theCanned Wines by Grape Experiences
- Summer Sippers: Decoy In a Can in the Sierra by Wine Predator...Gwendolyn Alley
Yes, SHE CAN Picnic with McBride Sisters CannedRosé by My Full Wine Glass
Wine in a Can?
Canned wine?" you ask, perhaps dubiously. Definitely! I reply with enthusiasm.
On the gamut of wines, between boxed wine and fancy bottles, falls canned wine. After setting out to test this increasingly popular trend for myself, for this event, I am convinced that they have their place. Beautiful. Easily portable. And most importantly: great wine options.
The benefits are obvious: Cans are much lighter than bottles and you don't need to remember a corkscrew to open them. Also at 375mL, the cans hold two glasses; so with two wine drinkers on a hike, the cans are empty on the way back! I can't tell you how much I dislike wine sloshing around in my pack with a half-empty 750mL bottle from a picnic in the woods.
One thing I didn't really like about the canned wine, however, is that I can't see the wine. When I pour wine from a bottle into a glass, I enjoy seeing the color. I feel that I'm missing that entire visual experience with wine in a can.
But, for the ease of carrying wine, I can live without that. Or, I suppose, I could pack some glasses next time though that defeats the purpose of carrying a lighter load. I tried mason jars as those are hardy and aren't usually in danger of breaking, even when accidently dropped on the ground.
These cans seem ideal for backyard barbecues, camping trips, day hikes, and picnics. Canned wines have outgrown the reputation of being cheap, mass-market products. My tests show you can get great wine options in cans from small, independent producers. I am a huge fan now.
Some notes on what we tried...
Santa Julia (top photo) is built on environmentally-friendly precepts; Julia Zuccardi says, "My family's winery has always had the goal to live in harmony with the land and the people." They farm organically and utilize 100% recycled water for irrigation. I tried the Santa Julia Rosé, a single varietal, made from 100% organically-grown Malbec grapes from the Santa Rosa and Maipu Vineyards in Mendoza, Argentina. Notes of red fruit were strong, but the flavors were more balanced on the palate.
The Tiamo wines are made from organically-farmed vineyards all over Italy. The red wine (photo with Jake in the redwoods) is a blend of Montepulciano, Nero d'Avola, and Syrah grapes grown in Abruzzo and Sicily. On the palate, this wine was lush with subtle tannins. The heavy red fruit was tempered with an intriguing salinity.
La Vie by LVE French Rosé (photo with the wine in the mason jar) is a collaboration between musician John Legend and Raymond Vineyards and Jean-Charles Boisset. The grapes are harvested at night and the wine made with free-run, low-pressure juices. A single varietal - 100% Grenache - had a lovely blend of citrus and red berries. This might have been my favorite of the cans I tried.
While there were others that we tried, I am going to leave it right here. I wasn't enamoured with either the Dark Horse or the Underwood Rosés. So, I'll just say, 'no comment.' I am looking forward to seeing what Linda of My Full Wine Glass shares about the 'She Can' by the McBride Sisters. But let's dive into picnics...
pic·nic /ˈpikˌnik/ noun
an outing or occasion that involves taking a packed meal to be eaten outdoors
From, say, March to November, we eat outside a lot. It may be at a park or the beach; it may just be on our patio. My crew is used to lugging bags for al fresco meals.
Here are a couple of recipes we have taken on picnics... Smoked Salmon Toasts (photo below), Bánh Mì, Watermelon Gazpacho, and even a birthday Key Lime Pie!
I've done themed picnics such as when I served this Sopa di Lima (photo below) at a Yucatán-themed lunch. I incorporated chocolate into every course at a picnic after we watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Most of my picnics also include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables because those are easy to prep.
One of my favorite beach picnics was when we were invited to a pig roast in Carmel by some of our favorite restaurant owners! A. Whole. Pig.
So, when food is extravagant, wine in cans makes things a little bit easier. We will definitely be taking easily portable wines on our summer picnics this year. Cheers!
That's a wrap for this month's #WinePW event. We'll be back with a related subject of “Summer Sippers and Tasty Bites,” to include light, not too complex wines to pair with outdoor finger foods, shares host Linda of My Full Wine Glass. Stay tuned.