“Oregon Isn’t Just a State, It’s a State of Mind.”
Gotta hand it to Canned Oregon. The company has tailored its cans to its consumers’ mindsets. As a trekker, I love the idea of more easily transported wine.
When I first heard that Canned Oregon had three wines, I expected a Pinot Gris, a Riesling and a Pinot Noir. While I did taste a Pinot Gris, I was surprised to end up tasting white and pink bubblies, too. Michelle Kaufmann, Communications Director for the Stoller Wine Group that recently launched Canned Oregon, told me that their focus groups wanted “bubs”, as she called them, in their cans.
The idea is super fun, but as I tasted the wines, I couldn’t help notice the quantity in the cans. My brain is calibrated to think of a 12-ounce can in terms of beer. I think of that as a single drink. These 12-ounce cans of wine, however, are the equivalent of a half-bottle of wine, which I would count as 2.5 drinks.
So, I am reminded of Shakespeare’s, “Though she be little, she is fierce.” While bearing a typical 12.5% abv for a sparkling wine, there’s more pungency in these cans than you might expect because of the volume of alcohol. Smartly, Canned Oregon has put a diagram showing the number of glasses at the bottom, backside of the can. I’m not sure that everyone will notice this, but it’s a visually catchy way to alert imbibers. I commend Canned Oregon for this, and I hope that other ways to alert consumers about the differences of drinking wine from this traditional beer can format will be developed. (This is a comment for the wine industry overall as we graduate to alternative formats, not just for Canned Oregon.)
P.S. I hear a Pinot Noir is soon to roll off the canning lines. Stay tuned!
P.P.S. At $7.99 SRP per can, these are insanely well-priced “half-bottles” of wine, even if they are all non-vintage. Frankly, if the juice is good, simple and we want to drink it now, why does it matter if it has a vintage?
Pink Rosé Bubbles NV
This is my personal favorite of the three, and I’d definitely buy this for an outdoor adventure. It pops out of the can with a bright, ballet slipper pink color. CO2 volume-wise, it seems to be the most bubbly of the two sparklers. Pleasant and easy-going with more precise crispness than the other two, it demonstrates a nice balance of wild strawberries and Bingham cherries with a whisper of earthiness.
White Bubbles Blend NV
Light, easy, and agreeable, this “bubs” has bright acidity. It is lightly sparkly with a vaguely floral tone rising above the predominant neutrality of the wine’s flavors of water crackers and sliced white bread. Great well-chilled, so note that in advance for outdoor adventures! The varieties are not defined, but as above, I don’t think it matters for this wine style.
White Pinot Gris NV
This is a deep yellow color with a strong pinky tinge, which is highly typical of the Pinot Gris variety. This wine’s laid-back taste seems to be amplified by a hint of residual sugar, that gives it fruity tones on top of its hay and bread roll aromas. Alas, it also has an unusual smell that crosses between stagnant pool water and ocean water. I’d opt for either of the bubs instead.