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Bubbles are the best! So why are they typically reserved for special occasions? Sparkling wines certainly appeal to the celebratory side of things, but surely every day, and certainly each gathering with friends, holds something to celebrate. And during the season when many of those celebrations are held outdoors, canned bubbles prove a more portable option than a big, heavy bottle and a bunch of glasses.
It seems a lot of folks agree. In 2020, Nielsen reported a 61% dollar-growth rate for canned wine sales. It even caused a little shortage in the actual cans to put it all in. (Fun fact: Beer cans and wine cans typically are made from different grades of aluminum, due to the high acid content in wine.)
Lately, there have been a spate of sparklers to sample hailing everywhere from the Empire State to Italy and South Africa, offering local grape varieties and making effervescent enjoyment entirely egalitarian.
These are six fun cans to crack by the pool, on the beach, on your next picnic, on a train out of town, on the hiking trail or wherever it is you wish to toast.
A word about quantities: Slim cans typically hold wine for one: 250 mL, one-third of a “normal” bottle of wine, which equals about a standard serving and a half. But if you see one that looks more akin to the size of a soda or beer can? That’s likely 375 mL, the equivalent of a half-bottle of wine. Sip and share accordingly.
Bridge Lane Bubbles
Winemaker Russell Hearn’s bubbles are a mix of 65% riesling, 22% muscat and 13% seyval blanc, a hybrid grape. Juicy Fruit-esque notes jump out of the glass. It finishes dry, but there’s a little bit of residual sugar that’s nicely balanced by the bubbly zing, making the 375-mL cans an excellent pick with Carolina-style barbecue, spicy charcuterie or salty bites.
Just Enough Brut Bubbles
This California-sourced pinot grigio in 250-mL cans has a little bit of residual sulfur on the nose initially, but once that blows off, the wine is yeasty and earthy, with a pop of lemon curd on the nose. In your mouth, there's a nice bit of waxiness along with more of that lemon and white peach, too, with a cracker-dry finish that leaves you with some mouthwatering notes of toast and lime zest.
Lubanzi Rosé Bubbles
Not only can you feel good about the low-carbon-footprint packaging from this South African startup, but 50% of the net profits on all the company’s canned wines go toward a not-for-profit supporting farm laborers in the region’s wine industry. The 250-mL cans contain 100% cinsault grown in the Swartland region, offering a nose full of strawberries that’s fairly full-bodied and a little tannic-grippy on your tongue. If you’re looking for bubbly to enjoy alongside a burger, this will be your jam.
Vinny New York Bubbly
Another star sommelier project, these 250-mL cans are from The NoMad’s Thomas Pastuszak and are his light-hearted love letter to his home state and region, the Finger Lakes, where he gets his riesling and gruner veltliner. The wine features gorgeous, lush aromatics and flavors of pineapple, Meyer lemon and grapefruit with zippy acidity.
West + Wilder Sparkling White
The West Coast-sourced blend of albariño, chenin blanc, pinot gris and sauvignon blanc in 250-mL cans is all about aromatic varieties and acid. Pale gold in color, the wine has a nose offering ripe apple, lemon curd and a bit of beeswax, and it’s mouth-filling and citrusy on the palate. You’ll want to pack some fried chicken or veggie fritto misto in your picnic basket to go with this.