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Canned wine is no longer a joke. The range available has burgeoned in the last year or so and you can now get some very respectable wines in tins. The Americans are way ahead of us here, and US supermarkets now have shelves and shelves of wine in cans. It’s not just the big boys, either – even some quite niche producers now can wine, often in eye-catching packaging. British supermarkets and independent merchants are slowly catching up, though we still have some way to go.
Wine is simply following beer – you’ve probably noticed all those trendy canned craft beers. So what’s changed? Well, canning technology has improved dramatically in the last few years. Aluminium cans are now lined with a water-based polymer, so you don’t get any of that metallic taste.
Cans are better from an environmental point of view, too. They’re lighter and easy to recycle – around 70% of the aluminium cans sold in Britain are recycled. And finally, as consumers, we are less precious about wine these days. It doesn’t have to come out of a bottle with a cork – in fact, many restaurants are switching to kegs for their house wines.
Canned wines are aimed at two markets: people looking to drink on the move (on trains or at festivals, for example), and people drinking the contents as you would a normal bottle of wine, but who only want a glass or two. So, after receiving the samples, I tried each wine twice – once out of the can, and once from a proper wine glass.
The interesting thing? Some of them tasted better out of the can, and some were nicer out of the glass. The wines with simple, bold flavours (and often quite a bit of sweetness) were best out of the cans, whereas the more complex wines blossomed in the glass. The best, however, worked in both contexts.
Finally, a word of warning: most of these cans were 250ml – that’s a third of a bottle of wine – and they range in strength from 5.5% to 14.5% ABV. But when drinking out of a can, it’s very easy to knock them back like lager, fall asleep and miss your stop – so remember to drink responsibly.
1. Coppola pinot noir (13.5% ABV)
Coppola (yes, that Coppola) does a big range of wine in cans, including sparkling wines under the Sofia label. This was my favourite – it’s a proper Californian pinot noir with juicy raspberry fruit and a price to match.
2. Barefoot pinot grigio (12% ABV)
Made in California by one of the biggest wine brands in the world, this was surprisingly good when drunk well-chilled. It’s not too sweet, and has some fruity pear flavours and a spicy ginger note.
3. Larkin Larkan Pink (14% ABV)
As it’s made by a highly-regarded producer in the Napa Valley, it was never going to be cheap. Just like its white sibling, this pinot noir rosé tastes a bit dull out of the can, but is deliciously perfumed when poured into a proper wine glass. Available at Butler’s Wine Cellar – in-store only (£10.99)
4. Igo Organic rosé (12.5% ABV)
Spanish rosé tends to be more brightly coloured and fruitier than Provençal stuff. That doesn’t mean it’s sweeter though – with its vivid cherry fruit and refreshing dryness, this was delicious out of a can as well as served in a glass.
5. Te Mério sauvignon blanc (12.5% ABV)
After one sip, there’s no prizes for guessing where this is from. The bold New Zealand flavours of peach and passion fruit really work out of the can. Also, that label is hard to resist.
6. Ojos rosé spritz cranberry & pink peppercorn (5.5% ABV)
Made by Chilean giants Concha y Toro, this is a flavoured wine with big, bold flavours but low alcohol. Not one for the wine purist in your life, but nothing will make the 17.47 commuter train go quicker. Available at Tesco – in-store only (£1.80)
7. Pablo Y Walter malbec (14% ABV)
Not just good for a wine in a can, but one of the nicest Argentinian malbecs I’ve had in a while. Lots of juicy, plummy fruit and a nice violet floral edge, it’s equally good out of the can and in the glass. Well done to everyone concerned!
8. Mirabeau Pret-a-Porter rosé (13.5% ABV)
My joint favourite with the malbec. It has classic Provençal rosé flavours, with strawberries, oranges and a creamy texture, and tastes great from the can or in a glass. If we get a warm summer, this will be a massive success.
9. Nice sauvignon blanc (11.5% ABV)
Nice is a new range of French canned wines, perhaps pronounced after the French city. You don’t get the fireworks of the New Zealand sauvignon blanc, but with its gentle cut grass and citrus flavours, it’s rather nice.
Buy from Sainsbury’s (£2.80)
10. Larkin Larkan White (14.5% ABV)
This can contains half a bottle of wine – and don’t even think about drinking this blend of viognier, roussanne and sauvignon out of the can! Poured into a proper wine glass, its peachy fruit and coconut flavours have space to breathe. Not one for the commute. Available at Butler’s Wine Cellar – in-store only (£10.99)
11. The Uncommon bacchus (11.5% ABV)
England makes some serious and expensive sparkling wines, but here’s something a bit more frivolous –carbonated bacchus. It’s gently sparkling, with zingy lemon sherbert and elderflower flavours, and tastes very jolly swigged straight from the can. Available at Waitrose – in-store only (£4.99)
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This review was last updated in June 2019. If you have any questions or suggestions for future reviews, or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on alcohol guidelines, read our guide to drinking responsibly.