With winter finally behind us and a long season of warm days and sunshine ahead, it’s time to start planning all your outdoor activities, concerts and parties (and the accompanying beverages, of course). It’s no secret that canned beers are a convenient choice for all your outdoor gigs, but there are options yet for all the wine lovers out there. Many reputable producers have started using eco-friendly and convenient packaging – from screwcap closures to boxes and cans – which means you can now find convenient wines that are also delicious. Check out these wines that are easy to transport, easy to open, easy to find and above all, easy to enjoy.
The scene: Outdoor concert
The wine: Union Wine Company’s Underwood Pinot Noir ($7.99/375 ml can)
What it tastes like: Keep it casual and sip out of the can, or pour it into a glass – either way, you’ll enjoy this Oregon pinot noir’s silky texture, lively acidity, and aromas and flavors of black cherry, ripe raspberry, plum, baking spices and cocoa. The wine is light but flavorful and pairs with a variety of foods, from simple cheese and charcuterie to more hearty fare. Pack a few of these Cola-sized cans to enjoy alongside a picnic on the venue’s lawn while you listen to your favorite band.
Where to find it: At various Whole Foods locations ( www.wholefoodsmarket.com)
The scene: Lazy Sunday on the patio
The wine: Rebel Coast Winery’s “Sunday Funday” White Blend ($18.99/750 ml bottle)
What it tastes like: This aptly named sipper is a California blend of 90 percent steel barrel chardonnay, eight percent sauvignon blanc and two percent viognier. This isn’t your big, buttery, oaky wine: it’s crisp and fruity, with tons of juicy flavors of pineapple, pear and lime. It’s so easy to sip it’s a little bit dangerous, and the screwcap closure makes it even easier to open up a second bottle.
Where to find it: At Screwtop Wine Bar (1025 N. Fillmore St. Arlington, VA;www.screwtopwinebar.com)
The scene: Beach getaway weekend
The wine: Alloy Wine Works’ Grenache Rosé ($11.99/500 ml can; 15 percent off while supplies last)
What it tastes like: Not only is the can cute, this California Grenache rosé is really tasty: it’s both creamy and refreshing, with flavors of grapefruit, guava, flowers and wild strawberries. Pack it in the cooler and sip while you lounge in the sand with your feet in the ocean. The 500 ml can size is ideal for two to share, or for one to…not share. The other Alloy Wine Works canned wines (chardonnay, pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon) are also worth checking out.
Where to find it: At Union Market’s Cordial Fine Wine & Spirits (1309 5th St. NE, DC;www.cordialwine.com)
The scene: Bridal shower garden party
The wine: Leo Hillinger’s Secco Sparkling Pinot Noir Rosé ($8/187 ml mini-bottle)
What it tastes like: This Austrian bubbly is soft and fruity, with lively acidity, tongue-tickling bubbles, and notes of ripe strawberries and red raspberries. This little single-serving bottle with an easy twist-off cap makes a perfect favor for bridal showers or bachelorette parties. Or just keep a bottle in your purse for sparkling wine emergencies.
Where to find it: At DCanter – A Wine Boutique (545 8th St. SE, DC;www.dcanterwines.com)
The scene: Backyard BBQ
The wine: Conte Ferdinando Guicciardini’s Vino Rosso Toscana IGT ($30-$35/3-liter box)
What it tastes like: Boxed wines have always been convenient, but it’s all the better when the wine inside is actually good, too! This Sangiovese blend from Tuscany is bright ruby red, with smooth tannins and notes of red cherry and dried cranberries, and floral and earthy hints on the finish. It’s simple and light, and a hard-to-beat value at $30 for a 3-liter box. It’s great sipped solo or paired with meats or veggies fresh off your backyard grill.
Where to find it: At various Whole Foods locations ( www.wholefoodsmarket.com) and DCanter – A Wine Boutique (545 8th St. SE, DC; www.dcanterwines.com)
Vino Rosso Toscana IGT photo: Tess Ankeny
All other photos: Courtesy of respective brands