Forget that holiday song. Here in the North, this truly is “the most wonderful time of the year,” with patio, picnic and party gatherings stirring up many a midsummer night’s dream.
And now we have two more cool, clean ways to make wine a part of said gatherings: in cans and boxes, increasingly popular and available.
The contents of these containers is fresh and flavorful, generally as worthy as what comes in bottles, save for the more expensive ones.
Cans have the added benefit of easy transport (being light and unbreakable) and easy recycling. Meanwhile, boxes can be used for a month or so after first being “tapped.”
The emergence of aluminum conveyors has coincided with the meteoric popularity spike of rosé, so all the cans in this tasty, food-friendly roundup here, plus one of the boxes, are for those who are “thinking pink.”
The rest of the patio, picnic or party agenda is up to you. But first take a peek at some of our favorites.
By the box:
The Jenny and Francois Selections “From the Tank” Vin Rosé might not seem cheap ($38), but that’s four bottles’ worth, so the overall value is swell. Especially for the quality, thanks to a truly alluring nose and fruit on the palate that will make you hum “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Good luck finding food that doesn’t pair well with it.
Spain is best known for its red wines, at all price points, but the whites shouldn’t get short shrift. Especially when they’re as delicious as the Vina 425 White ($20), a clean but lush delight packed with lemon and stone-fruit flavors. Love the super-refreshing finish, too. Barbecued chicken and fried fish or fowl cozy right up to this gem.
What a treat when a wine smells like where it came from. The Vincio-Vaglio Serra Piemonte Barbera ($23) truly evokes Italy: herbal and earthy, but invigorating and restorative. The bright cherry-berry fruit dances across the palate. There’s enough acidity to work deftly with anything off the grill and even with potato salad or coleslaw.
Single-serve cans of rosé:
In mid-July, wines that are juicy move up the priority list a few notches. The Alloy Wine Works Central Coast Every Day Rosé ($9/ 500ml) is just such a wine, with surprising citrus notes dancing around the usual red-berry flavors. Love the minerality on the bracing finish. Go for salty appetizers, fresh salads and mildly spicy dishes here.
Bonny Doon’s Randall Grahm is a delightful, delirious combination of playfulness and serious blending chops. His La Bulle-Moose de Cigare Fizzy Pink of the Earth ($10/ 375ml) contains grenache, grenache blanc, mourvèdre, rousanne and carignan. The layers of flavors will play well with robust barbecue sauces, burgers and brats.
Pinot noir has become an exceedingly popular base for rosé, and with good reason. The Essentially Geared Rosé ($6/ 375ml, 100 percent pinot noir) boasts the flavors and texture that make pinot so popular: red berries, some Asian spice and tamarind. The labels suggest pairing with pizza, brisket and falafel, and who am I to argue?
Many of us consider Tangent’s Christian Roguenant peerless for making white wines in California. Well, his Tangent Rosé ($8/ 375ml) from Edna Valley’s Paragon Vineyard is just as dandy, zippy and zesty but with lots of oomph and a smooth but vibrant finish. This balanced beauty is made for every picnic food (OK, maybe not dessert).
Oregon’s Underwood has been a beacon of goodness in the canned wine world from the get-go. Now it has rolled out the Underwood Sparkling Rosé ($6/ 375ml), reminiscent of a fruit cocktail with its many and varied flavors. And bubbles make everything more fun. Grilled veggies and salads (including tuna and chicken) are ideal accompaniments.
Crispness is the order of the day with the West + Wilder Rosé ($20 for a 250ml three-pack), a blend of pinot noir, carignan and zinfandel from California. It’s bone-dry, but has ample tasty red fruit to become a rarity in the wine world: crowd-friendly and food-friendly. As in everything from bruschetta to Brussels sprouts to barbecued baby backs.