A Can for Every Occasion
Given we’re hitting peak rosé season with beach and picnic days in full force, we wanted to tackle the ever-growing lineup of portable and affordable rosé to ease your decision making process. Unfortunately, we couldn't review them all but hopefully this represents a decent list of those adorning on your local wine shelf.
One caveat, the term “affordable” is not to say canned wine is cheap (which is a good thing). Meaning, these producers strived to allow quality wine to be enjoyed in situations where the traditional 750ML glass vessel can’t easily venture, so was not to simply go down-market. Given this vintner dedication, we tasted each wine in a proper glass to fully appreciate the palate. While most of you will likely not bring Riedels to the beach, we would recommend those trusty Govino’s to improve enjoyment of this juice.
Another quick note: 2 cans = 1 bottle! Good to know for pricing and consumption management.
Okay, let’s dive in…
FORTY OUNCE Rosé
VERDICT: When Size Matters, This is Your Wine
When one bottle just won't do, grab a 40! That extra half bottle will make a difference without breaking the bank. When I first saw this supersize rosé I was shocked to see it hailing from France but they have certainly embraced the rogue side of rosé along with so many others.
Tasting Notes: Complexion is a deeper pink than the classic Côtes de Provence salmon hue but not saignée deep rouge either. Fruit is bright but not sweet, classic strawberry and melon on the palate. Acidity is good but may be a bit tart for some who prefer a smoother finish. Will stand up well with a variety of food.
HOUSE WINE Carbonated Rosé
VERDICT: Refreshing Effervescence in Summer Water Form
Who doesn't love a bottle of sparkling rosé?! Well, less so the usual $20-30 price tag that comes with acquiring a bottle and the speed of consumption that tends to follow once cracked. That said, this is NOT a comparable champagne substitute but can certainly deliver an enjoyable bout of bubbles on a hot afternoon (or morning).
Tasting Notes: Very drinkable, not overly sweet - notes of strawberry, sour cherry, bright fruit. Complexion is solid pink with soda-style carbonation. No real acidity, so pretty much better off sipping versus pairing with food.
HOUSE WINE Carbonated Rosé (Limited Edition)
VERDICT: Refreshing Effervescence in Summer Water Form (for a great cause)
This is close to their carbonated rosé but slightly less sweet (probably a different set of fruit or blend). The limited run was done to support the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) where a $2 donation was made for every case sold.
Tasting Notes: Very drinkable, not overly sweet - notes of strawberry, sour cherry, bright fruit. Complexion is solid pink with soda-style carbonation. Slightly better acidity than the standard bubbly.
HOUSE WINE Rosé
VERDICT: Simple & Refreshing Summer Water
Sporting a classic pink hue, this rosé delivers equally balanced fruit on the palate.
Tasting Notes: Very drinkable and balanced - bright fruit with hints of raspberry jam. Low acid but crisp finish, a very picnic friendly wine easily paired with most fare, just nothing too bold like BBQ where it would be overpowered.
VERDICT: A Slight Tangent from Traditional Rosé
Tangent will stand out in a glass with a deeper pink hue than most and delivers more stone fruit on the plate than bright fruit. Overall, a slightly more "beefy" rosé in a very nice way.
Tasting Notes: Stone fruit palate highlighted by white peach, nectarine and hints of cantaloupe. Decent acid with some cranberry on the finish to further deliver crispness. This rosé has the backbone to pair well with bold cheeses or heavier grilling fare
ALLOY Rosé (17oz)
VERDICT: A Tall Drink of Summer Water
Roughly a can and a half, this tall boy format is great for battling the high "evaporation rates" that happen with rosé once opened in the summer heat (at least that's what I blame it on). Aside from volume, it also stands out with a more refreshing citrus palate than most others in this category which could be attractive or not depending on your preference.
Tasting Notes: Light, almost copper-like hue versus true pink. Nose is sweeter than the palate, some melon and honeysuckle. Fruit is mostly citrus, grapefruit with nice notes of pear and apricot. Think this would certainly be your friend in hot weather and make for lively food pairings.
Una Lou Rosé (Caneros AVA)
VERDICT: Our Pick of the Litter
This wine hails from our friends at Scribe Winery in Sonoma, so will admit to some questionable subjectivity. That said, think few would argue with the assessment of this wine being the closest to a Vin Gris poured from a bottle which is admirable for canned rosé. It has that great pale pink hue, balanced fruit and solid acidity.
Tasting Notes: Bright fruit palate with raspberry, strawberry and cherry compote - hints of rose petal, honeydew. Great acidity with some cranberry on the finish. This will definitely be a crowd pleaser at the beach, picnic or bbq.
Dark Horse Rosé
VERDICT: "Never underestimate a Dark Horse"
Dark Horse produces a host of great bottled wines, so nice to see them adding canned versions as well. As their mantra suggests, one might be mistaken to underestimate the lesser known. Such is the case with their very solid showing rosé.
Tasting Notes: Shows a true pink complexion, light sweet nose with hints of Swedish Fish but pleasing watermelon and citrus palate - dry finish. Overall, a very drinkable and pleasant rosé which would pair well with a long fun afternoon or brunch.
VERDICT: The Warmer Side of Oregon
UNDERWOOD was one of the first producers to the can wine game and offers quite a variety of options beyond rosé. Given the classic cool style of Oregon fruit, we were expecting a stone fruit or citrus palate but found it had some warm characteristics as well, especially on the nose. As they say, "Wine doesn't have to be this hard" - indeed, their wines are solid, drinkable and enjoyable. #pinkiesdown
Tasting Notes: Classic pale pink complexion with a warm nose of strawberry, hints of Jolly Rancher. Palate reveals watermelon, nectarine and cranberry, leading to a pleasant dry finish. Overall, a very refreshing and drinkable rosé.
Foxie Grapefruit Rosé
VERDICT: The Wild Child
We saved the wildest for last indeed. If you're looking for an entirely different "rosé" experience, this is your can. I would also say if you're a fan of Campari, this is your wine. Foxie obviously wanted to create something more akin to an Italian style spritzer by adding grapefruit and simcoe hops which makes for a very interesting concoction. A very pleasing one if you're not expecting classic rosé.
Tasting Notes: Deep rouge hue with abundant effervescence. Grapefruit, citrus and hops dominate the palate with some herbal notes as well. This one definitely breaks the mold and really creates a category unto itself. Could be a great alternative to boring/sweet mimosas or simply a refreshing afternoon fizz with some punch. Definitely recommend assuming your expectations are set and palate prepared.
Hope this inspires some new picnic companions or beach refreshments as you enjoy the lazy days of summer to come.
- Mike Casey // The 29 Napa