Doubting Thomas sees the light with canned wine!
They handed me a can of wine. I looked at them. And I frowned. What did they take me for?
Sure, I haven’t even drunk cans of lager since they stopped putting the pretty little dollybirds on the front. I’m a grown-up now, I told them. I drink from bottles, preferably with a cork. And yet they persisted. “No no,” they said, “times have changed.” I couldn’t argue with that but I wasn’t ready to concede just yet.
“Tis true,” I acknowledged, “but tell me this, even if it does not taste like the animal waste I imbibed when 16 or 17, why should I be interested in wine from a can? Sounds like a gimmick to me.”
At which point my ever-practical wife, the illustrious Madame G., interjected: “But just think, Raymond, how much lighter and more portable they’ll be for all the wonderful picnics we’re going to be having now that the sunny weather you’ve been promising for months seems set to finally arrive? It won’t even matter if you forget the corkscrew. Again!”
At which point I rolled my eyes and queried whether there were any other benefits I should be aware of regarding wine in cans. Well, it turns out that the cans being displayed to me were vegan friendly, Fair Trade approved and had been certified as being climate neutral. You see, aluminium has far higher rates of recycling than glass and because they are much lighter, shipping them leaves a much smaller carbon footprint. Also, being smaller means you’re less likely to waste wine or over-drink than you would be with a big, ugly bottle. Still, I quibbled, it can hardly taste much good, can it? You can see where I’m going, can’t you?
Yes, gentle reader, I eventually relented and reluctantly consented to sample a pair of cans and was more than pleasantly surprised by the results. First among equals but just about gaining the nod by no more than the shortest of short heads to be sure to be sure to be sure as today’s Wine of the Week is the exceptionally fresh, fragrant, zippy and zesty Lubanzi Chenin Blanc (£3.95 for 250 ml can, visit www.thewinesociety.com or telephone 01438-741177). A luscious palate full of round, gently spiced fruit flavours with rich citrussy backnotes combines with grassy aromatics and hints of mineral in this racy, refreshing South African white which will be an ideal match to seafood or poultry salads or sandwiches. Ideal for al fresco drinking. Also, it’s easier to chill a can than a bottle.
I was likewise impressed by the sumptuously smooth, delightfully soft and unusually precocious Lubanzi red (same price, source etc) , a skilfully executed blend of Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre which has a wonderfully intriguing palate with hints of smoke, coffee, and olives alongside bucketfuls of expressive and exuberantly juicy summer fruit. One for burgers or steaks at all your weekend barbecues should the sun deign to shine.
Canned wine is starting to become more widely available in local supermarkets and wine shops should you wish to give it a go and why not? Traditionalists, fear not, I have not forgotten either you or your old-fashioned and very beautiful bottles. Today’s final recommendation is the bold, sleek and reassuringly complex 2019 Rastras Malbec (£7.50, M&S). This plummy, savoury and elegant Argentinian red has an opulent palate full of intense blackberry flavours and earthy, pungent spices which are nicely balanced by firm tannins before a lingering finish with hints of dark chocolate and lick-your lips liquorice. One for your roast lamb this Sunday.
Perhaps I’m getting old and suspicious of change but like Doubting Thomas I have seen and now I believe. Reminds me of that fateful day when the past, the present and the future met in my local bar. Boy, was that tense! Till next week, tipplers, and if you can then I can, sante!