Battle of the Cans

I’ll keep it brief, but here is what I’ll tell you upfront; These wines are both from Alloy Wineworks, which is under the Field Recordings (my favorite) umbrella. They are from the Central Coast of California and they are great. That’s kind of all you need to know.

Alloy Wine Works Weissland

It is so hot in Kansas City right now that I just want to jump into an ice bath and pour La Croix down my throat. Instead, I’ve been stuck running around the city in my car, having to get out so often that the AC never seems to have a chance to really cool down. Today, the management team from my office took a team building excursion to an escape room. Two things I’m not really into are team building and puzzles. It was fine though but no, my team did not escape in time. Afterwards, we went to one of my favorite bars, Tom’s Town, for a quick drink. When we finished, my coworker and I decided to walk back to where our cars were parked, about a mile away.

I was dripping with sweat by the time I reached my car and I couldn’t wait to get home and open the Alloy Wine Works Weissland that I bought last night. This weather just calls for canned wine, preferably a sparking canned wine. The Weissland is a sparkling Chardonnay made with hops. I’m not a big beer drinker so I was dubious about whether I would like the wine or not. Luckily, it tastes like a sour beer, which I happen to love. It is bright on the palate, tasting like sour cherry pie. It is pretty perfect for the weather as it is super refreshing.

I’m really bummed that it is so hot because I would love to be porch-sitting with this wine reading my light, feel-good summertime book, Missoula. Have you read it? If so, you’ll know that i’m joking as it is about as heavy as it can get, focusing on rape on college campuses and the justice system. It’s really great though and a topic that desperately needs attention. But no, I’m on my couch, energy zapped, watching Breaking Bad. Luckily I have this refreshing wine by my side.

Methodé Aluminum Pinot Noir

All right, it is the next day and I honestly think it may be hotter outside today than it was yesterday. Why can’t we stay home when it is crazy hot like we stay home on snow days? I got an email today that our ceiling is collapsing from the heat at my office and immediately went home. Anyhow, I tried the Methodé Aluminum sparkling Chardonnay a few months ago and was truly impressed. This is saying a lot because it was in the height of my Chardonnay nay-saying days. I was super excited to give the Pinot Noir a try because this is a varietal that I’ve virtually always loved. I popped this in the fridge because a. It’s hot af (see above) and b. I like my light-bodied reds a little chilly.

I just opened this and exclaimed to myself, “Oh my God, I can’t believe this is sparkling! I didn’t expect that and I am so excited!” Had I read the entire label instead of just tearing into this like a disgusting sweat monster, I would have seen that this was sparkling. This is so fucking refreshing and I know that a lot of people don’t think of red wines in that way. All I have to say to that is, GO LIGHT-BODIED, HONEY. Get on that Gamay or Pinot Noir train and never look back (until fall).

This tastes like straight up raspberry juice. Why isn’t that a thing? I’ve seen cran-ras, of course, but never just raspberry. That sounds so delightful. This has the nuttiness of fresh raspberries, like sliced almonds in a spinach salad. I have finally cooled down to the point that my toes are cold and honestly, it feels so good. I never want to put socks (or pants) on again, or at least not until October. I’ve never had a sparkling red in a can and it is so perfect. There is something a little odd about opening a can of still wine…  Don’t get me wrong, I still love non-sparkling wine from cans but I don’t know, we are just conditioned to expect bubbles from a can. Therefore, this is absolutely great. It would be perfect by a pool or on a beach somewhere. Mmmm.

Okay, I know "Battle of the Cans" insinuated a competition. But this is the best kind of competition where everyone is a winner! C'mon, you know I'm a millenial and am all about participation trophies. But seriously, I will only ever feature wines that I believe in on this blog. 

Hoxie Spritzer

I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I am that Hoxie Spritzer is now available in Kansas City. I heard tons about Hoxie via wine blogs and Instagram for like TWO YEARS before I was finally able to try it in L.A. in April. It did not disappoint, in fact, I crushed a four pack in 24 hours. I posted a short review of the Lemon Ginger Rosé when I first started my blog, so you can go back and read my thoughts if you want, or you can just read this. I love Hoxie for a lot of reasons. First of all, they use simple ingredients. I am not down with additives and junk in food or beverages. You can list the ingredients of the spritzers on one hand, which I dig. Secondly, they are super active and fun on social media-- seriously, follow their Instagram and you will not be let down. Third, they are made with grapes from Missouri. Sure I’m a Kansan, but I’m not one of those Missouri-hating Kansans. I spend the majority of my time in Missouri after all and it’s great to see that state’s grapes getting some love. Finally, it’s just good stuff! I love a wine spritzer, but I don’t always have the stuff on hand to make one (sure, I always have La Croix, but the fruit in my fridge is usually rotting) so it’s nice to have someone do all of the work for me. I purchased both the Lemon Ginger Rosé and the Lemon Linden Blanc and my thoughts on each are below.

 Lemon Ginger Rosé

 I’ve said before that it’s difficult to smell wine out of a can. Not so with Hoxie. The fruit, herbal and floral notes of citrus, ginger and orange blossoms waft easily out of the can just as they might out of a glass. It smells just like this amazing ginger soda that I had in Uganda in 2008. I can’t remember the name of it but it was so spicy and delicious and you could tell it was made with real ginger rather than imitation crap and it was just so good. Same with the Hoxie, the ginger is legit, no notes of imitation crap. On the palate the ginger and lemon hit hard in the best way. It tastes like an alcoholic La Croix, which in my opinion, is the only way La Croix could be improved upon. The Rosé is made of Catawba and St. Vincent grapes, two varietals I am pretty unfamiliar with but am loving. This spritzer should be sipped (or pounded, I don’t judge) at the pool or the beach for sure. It is absolutely the perfect summertime beverage. 

Lemon Linden Blanc

 I did something stupid and just put some rose-scented body oil on (because I’m peeling from the worst sunburn) and now all I can smell while I try to sniff the Hoxie Blanc is rose. Rookie mistake. In addition to rose almond oil, I smell notes of lemongrass. It’s super light and lovely on the palate, tasting like lemon La Croix (sorry, I’ll try to stop with the La Croix comparisons eventually), grapefruit and pineapple. The Blanc is made with a blend of Catawba and Vidal Blanc which are both grown in the midwest as well as the Finger Lakes region in New York state and in North Carolina. I have traditionally been hard on local varietals because most of the local wine I’ve had has been cloyingly sweet. This couldn’t be further from my notion of a Midwestern wine-- it is super crisp and dry. It is the perfect wine to sip while you read on your back porch in the mid-summer, when it’s still light until 9 and cools off just slightly when the sun goes down. Pair it with some feminist poetry like Nayyirah Waheed and you’ll thank me.

Pick up your Hoxie at Underdog if you're in KC or online if you're not in an area where Hoxie is available. Then proceed straight to your local pool or beach and pound that shit. At least that's what I plan to be doing all weekend (re: summer). 

The Best Wines to Sneak into Your Local Pool This Summer

I’m not sure about you, but I love drinking poolside. It’s one of my favorite summertime activities after porch-sitting. I happen to belong to the local Jewish Community Center and while their pool is slightly overrun with children at all times, it’s a pool. I’ve never checked on the alcohol policy but I’m guessing it is something along the lines of “don’t BYOB”. But I’ve never been great with following rules, so I usually bring something inconspicuous that I can enjoy while I reread Freedom for the first time in seven years. You’ll notice everything I’ve chosen is canned because you can easily pretend you’re sipping soda or sparkling water-- throw that thing in a koozie and claim it’s a new La Croix flavor. You can find all of these at wine shops and liquor stores alike. Also, I didn’t take photos of these at the pool because I’m trying to be stealth, dude!

Frico Frizzante by Scarpetta

The first thing I thought when I saw the Frico Frizzante was “cute”. At just 8 ounces and with clever minimalist packaging (basically just a pig’s ass), it’s super sweet. It is also affordable at around $10 for a 4 pack. If you are a wine novice like me, you might have thought Frizzante was the varietal the first time you stumbled upon one (my first was the Gia Frizzante a few years ago). It actually just means that it is a “gently sparkling” wine. The Frico Frizzante is a blend of a shit ton of stuff: 50% Trebbiano, 25% Chardonnay and 25% Glera, or so a website I found says. It is super light and herbaceous with notes of fresh cut grass. It basically reminds me of a steamy summer evening having just mowed the lawn (not that I mow or do much domestic labor, but still). I find that I really like blends in cans. I like them already and drink plenty of blends out of bottles, but there’s always something interesting and funky about them that just tastes good in a can, preferably by the pool listening to new Fleet Foxes. Warning: you’ll want to drink the whole four pack in one sitting and I won’t judge you if you do. Not one bit.  

Edit: my can warmed up a bit because I’ve been enjoying it for a while and it’s still good! You get more body at a higher temperature-- the Chardonnay really shines through (and I’m a reformed Chardonnay nay-sayer). You probably shouldn’t be serving this ice-cold anyway since it’s not a shitty lite beer.  

Alloy Wine Works Everyday Rosé  

This wine was gifted to me by my friend Adrienne (she purchased it at a wine shop, but I know I’ve seen it at the liquor store) when she and her husband, Daniel, came over for dinner the other night (see the Shakshuka + Young Vines post). The first thing I thought was, “sweet! Free wine!” but then I thought, “oh, I could review this!” One of the things I love most about Alloy’s wines is their super unpretentious tasting notes on the back of their cans. This one straight up says “Sour Patch Kids” and I seriously dig that. This rosé is kind of dry but incredibly fruity, tasting like strawberries and ripe melon that you scooped into the most perfect little balls (I’ve never done that, but it looks immensely gratifying). I really want to know the varietals used to make this rosé because it has so much body. I know this used to be called Grenache Rosé rather than Everyday Rosé so I’m curious if they still use Grenache (I believe it’s actually a blend now). Whatever the grapes used, this shit is good. Not only is this great poolside but I can imagine it would be nice at the drive in. My aforementioned friends Adrienne and Daniel want to take us to the local drive in because they promised it makes for great people-watching and usually the movies aren’t too terrible. This tallboy of rosé would be perfect to sneak in and pair with some Sour Patch Kids.

Underwood Pinot Noir

This is one of the more ubiquitous wine in cans you will see. I love Underwood and I like the fact that you can find it in wine shops and grocery/liquor stores alike. Union Wine Co., who produces Underwood, seeks to be approachable in its take on wine. Its trademark is, “pinkies down”. They also have videos on their website poking fun at the old school and hipster winos alike. I dig it. I don’t think anything in life should be taken too seriously, wine included.  Underwood is also affordable at just around $6 for a can and about $14 for a bottle. The first time I had their wine in a can was at a pool in the mid-summer a few years ago. It was hot, but my pinot was chilled and it was the fucking best. Laying in the sun + drinking wine can get you pretty tipsy, but I was walking distance from home so it was chill. My palate has refined ever so slightly in the last few years, but the Underwood is still so good. This is a fruit-forward Pinot Noir, with big berries popping on your tongue. It particularly reminds me of bing cherries, which I associate with summer and my dad because I remember him eating them a lot with me in the summers as a kid. There is also a vanilla cola quality to this wine, like Vanilla Coke, which I’m not sure still exists but should. It’s solid. Pick this up at your next wine/liquor store haul.

So there you go, three wines that can be enjoyed poolside or on your couch binge watching The Keepers. Whatever floats your boat, my friend.

Battle of the Cans: Field Recordings

I have an affinity for wine in cans. I’m not sure if it’s just the fact that I’ve had a lot of great stuff from cans or that my truest self is a casual, porch-sitting midwesterner who loves to crack a cold can of something. Either way, I have had A LOT of good stuff from cans lately, here are several of my favorites (all from Field Recordings, might I add).

Hans Grüner

I only heard about Hans Grüner recently via Field Recordings’ Instagram. I was super pissed because I saw that it was released in L.A. just after I left. I sent an urgent text to my friend, Ursula saying “TRY THIS! FOR ME!” However, my wine guy told me they would be carrying it at Underdog shortly so I was thrilled and realized my hyperbolic reaction was a little premature. It’s kind of hard to smell wine out of a can, so I’m just going to skip that. (I know I could pour it into a glass but doesn’t that defeat the purpose?) It tastes like hay and Pamplemousse La Croix (my favorite flavor if you were wondering). I haven’t actually tasted hay, but I’ve been on a farm once or twice, so I feel like I get the gist. The thing I love about Grüner Veltliners is that they almost have the mouthfeel of a red in terms of density and richness. It kind of freaked me out with my first one but I grew to really love it. This Grüner hits it out of the park. Also, the packaging is amazing, and that’ll convince me to buy anything.

Edit: I let my husband try this and in his words “huh, this is really good and I don’t even like white wine.” Way to go, Hans Grüner!

Methodé Aluminum

The Methodé Aluminum is 100% Chardonnay, which I did not realize upon buying. I knew it was sparkling and had sweet minimalist packaging but that was about it. I have to admit, I’m not the biggest Chardonnay fan. It’s not Chardonnay’s fault, I’m sure it’s great, but I used to have this awful boss who was a misogynistic piece of shit (I could tell you stories for days) and he always gave us Chardonnay for holidays. Don’t get me wrong, I drank it because I was broke and it was wine, but it tasted like buttery white male privilege. So unfortunately that’s my main association with Chardonnay. I’m happy to report that the Methodé Aluminum has no notes of butter or white male privilege. In fact, it’s not buttery at all which is the thing I like least about Chardonnay. This wine is crisp yet rich. It has so much depth to it. It’s interesting to have a heavier-bodied white like Chardonnay in sparkling form. It’s incredibly herbaceous, like the herb garden I always tell myself I’m going to plant each summer but don’t. Maybe this year…

Alloy Wine Works Pinot Noir

Step one: chill that shit. I find it super weird to drink a can of something that isn’t cold (or at least cool) so I prefer lighter-bodied reds in cans because they taste great chilled. I’m pairing this wine with the new Jill Soloway show, “I Love Dick” on Amazon. Both are so fucking good. Have you watched Transparent yet? If not, stop what you’re doing and watch it immediately. Jill Soloway is the shit. So is this wine. It’s bright and tart and just a little bit sour, but in the best way-- like candy.

I would really like to drink this wine in Marfa, Texas, which is where I Love Dick is set and looks fucking incredible. My friend Rachel lives just outside of Austin and we are working on planning a Marfa trip. I want to bring a whole case of this Pinot Noir and sit on the deck of a sweet Airbnb in the desert and just drink and chill and listen to desert sounds. Idk what are you supposed to do in the desert?

I like everything about this wine, especially the fact that it comes in a tallboy. Tallboys just make me really nostalgic for college when I would buy PBR tallboys and drink them with my friends, staying up till two or three and rolling into French class late in the morning. It was always worth it. I wish I’d had this wine in college. I had a sweet studio just off campus with the perfect deck. My boyfriend (now husband) hated that apartment because it was loud and small, but it was pretty perfect for just me. I could totally see myself porch-sitting, listening to NPR and drinking this wine at 1201 Oread.

So the verdict on wine in cans: keep it coming! Don't get me wrong, they make shitty wine in cans but you can find great stuff from smaller winemakers at your local wine shop. Also, I suggest going with a white, rosé or a light-bodied red so you can chill it. I plan to be porch-sitting and cracking cold ones all summer.