When you send a group text to three gal pals asking if they want to be your guinea pigs and help taste test canned wine, your phone immediately blows up like a series of weather alerts during a hurricane. When Friday arrived, we sipped, we swirled, we spit some out. The great canned wine debate raged into the night, but we managed to render a verdict on these 10 pop-top vinos for Atlanta’s poolside and picnicking oenophiles. Bonus: We give our thoughts on food pairings, too.
Flip Flop Fizzy Sangria
11% ABV. $12.20 four-pack
Tasting notes: “Like drinking sparkling corn syrup,” “Would make a great cocktail mixer,” “Tastes like canned sangria,” “I don’t hate it”.
We kicked off the night with what can only be described as a wine cooler from the days of yore. This might be best mixed into a tropical drink at a backyard barbecue or sipped at Chastain Park during an Air Supply show. It’s not cloyingly sweet; fizz helps keep it from venturing into fraternity row punch territory.
Pair it with: Twizzlers. But you have to bite the ends off and use one as a straw.
Available at Kroger and Publix.
Barefoot Refresh Crisp White Spritzer
6.5% ABV. $9.99 four-pack
Tasting notes: “I wanted to hate this,” “I could pound these on the river,” “Color me shocked, I like Barefoot wine,” “Nice pear finish on this.”
We’re not ashamed. Barefoot is bringing back the white wine spritzer via this portable session sipper with a hint of apple and pear at the finish. It’s refreshing, light and effervescent. Our price-buster pick for shooting the ‘hooch or day drinking poolside.
Pair it with: Hummus and pita chips because white wine spritzers equal classy.
Available at Kroger and Publix.
Lila Provence Rose
12% ABV. $12 four-pack
Tasting notes: “Nope,” “No way rose,” “A full-on Monet; looks pretty far away, big old mess up close,” “Dry, slightly sweet up front but falls flat at the finish.”
Sorry rose lovers, don’t add this Lila to your list. While there is a nice burst of watermelon and strawberry up front, it quickly vanishes into thin air and left us wondering what happened like the last episode of Seinfeld.
Pair it with: Gummi Bears
Lila Pinot Grigio
12.5% ABV. $12 four-pack
Tasting notes: “Smells like real wine,” “Could knock these back easily at a party,” “Shockingly, it kind of tastes like real wine,” “I love the light acidity.”
Lila redeems herself with this mellow pinot grigio. Notes of apple and light citrus give the wine a refreshing quality and nice balance. Not particularly sweet, this one is a solid choice for an outdoor party, pool day or game of croquet if you’re fancy (or game of cornhole if you’re not.)
Pair it with: Pimento cheese on saltines. Lawn games, canned wine and the South demand it.
Available at Capital City Package, 784 Collier Road NW, Atlanta. 404-351-7579, capitalwineandliquor.com.
Presto Sparkling Cuvée
11% ABV. $12.99 four-pack
Tasting notes: “Prosecco in a can equals genius,” “Dry, slightly sweet, sparkly, perfect,” “Presto for President,” “Yum.”
Presto is a winner. Whole Foods knocks it out of the park choosing this sparkling Italian import. Nice effervescence, slightly dry with a hint of apple. Refreshing to sip. Our choice for President.
Pair it with: Since this is Whole Foods, you need to pick up some organic dark chocolate-covered almonds for your Gilmore Girls marathon tonight on Nexflix.
Available at Whole Foods Market.
Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs
11.5% ABV. $15.99 four-pack
Tasting notes: “Sweeter than the Presto,” “I give it a 5 for presentation,” “Tastes better through the straw,” “So many bubbles, wee!”
A slightly sweeter bubbly than Presto, this blend contains pinot blanc, riesling and muscat with citrus and melon notes. Instagram-worthy packaging includes a charming bendy straw making Sofia Mini a great choice for sipping poolside and for when you want to look adorable drinking wine.
Pair it with: Double cheese pizza
Available at Tower Wine & Spirits, 2161 Piedmont Road, N.E., Atlanta, 404-881-0902. 5877 Buford Highway, Doraville. 770-458-3272, towerwinespirits.com.
Underwood Pinot Gris
13% ABV. $7.99 per can
Tasting notes: “Surprisingly light for a pinot gris,” “Refreshing and a bit fruitier than I expected,” “Nice finish, hint of grapefruit,” “Wait, this is real wine, y’all.”
With all of those other wines out of the way, it was time to get down to business, and Underwood is the one for wine drinkers looking for portability and quality in a can. A bit on the lighter side for a typical pinot gris, Underwood melds lemon, grapefruit and apple notes into a canned beauty for sipping on cool summer evenings.
Pair it with: Publix subway sandwich for your picnic in the park.
13% ABV. $5.99 per can
Tasting notes: “My go-to canned rose,” “Perfect serving size,” “I’ll rose all day with this,” “This is how you Summer.”
The darling of canned wine this season, Underwood’s rose tastes like summer with notes of peach, watermelon and strawberry and a slightly dry floral finish. It is possibly future fodder for Portlandian lampooning due to its overwhelming popularity with upwardly mobile urbanites.
Pair it with: 404 Beef Dogg with pimento from Doggy Dogg’s hot dog stand in Decatur.
Available at 3 Parks Wine Shop, 880 Glenwood Ave. Ste. C, Atlanta. 678-349-7070, 3parkswine.com; Hop City, 1000 Marietta St. NW, Atlanta. 404-350-9998, 99 Krog St. NE, Atlanta. 470- 355-2534, hopcitybeer.com; Tower Wine & Spirits; and select Whole Foods Market.
Alloy Pinot Noir
14% ABV. $7.99 per can
Tasting notes: “Wow! I really like this!”, “Loving it chilled,” “Are you going to finish that?”, “Full bodied and smooth.”
Alloy is too legit to quit. The character of this canned wine is lead by the fact it is made in an actual California winery and meant for wine drinkers looking for convenience without sacrificing quality. Sip this one slightly chilled while sitting around a fire pit or beach bonfire.
Pair it with: S’mores
Alloy Grenache Rose
12.5% ABV. $7.99 per can
Tasting notes: “Winner,” “Alloy wins battle of the roses,” “Yes way, this rose,” “Can’t go wrong with a rose tall boy, y’all.”
This is a tall drink of rose with subtle notes of sweet strawberry, grapefruit, mint and guava. Alloy makes drinking rose from a can classy and sassy without being pretentious because there’s nothing more ridiculously awesome than watching someone sip rose from a tall boy.
Pair it with: Fried chicken. It’s the only thing that could soak up all the booze from this tall boy.
Available at 3 Parks Wine Shop, and Hop City Westside and Krog Street Market locations.