Wines With a Can-do Attitude

With plastic corks, screwcaps and two-buck wines on the rise, the thought of serving wine from a can no longer seems odd. Still, for most, the idea of relinquishing the bottle and cork is unthinkable — unless, of course, you're unaware that the wine in your glass came from a can.

For the past month, I toted hidden cans of Aussie Wine in my bag in search of unbiased opinions from wine-loving friends and colleagues. While these wines are clearly not cellarbound, the cans did fairly well when presented as patio sippers by the glass.

Launched last year, Aussie Wine comes in single-serving, 250-milliliter aluminum cans that are playfully decorated with Australian wildlife. Although Aussie is not the first canned wine to pop up on the market, it is the first to use a specially lined can that keeps the wine flavor tasty. When sampled blind, tasters found these wines to be fruit-forward, uncomplicated and ready to drink — hardly cause for turning up one's nose. In fact, most tasters enjoyed sipping these wines because of their refreshing simplicity.

For a summer sparkler, grab a fashionable can of Sofia, released this summer by movie mogul Francis Ford Coppola. Named after his daughter, these mini metallic-pink cans of California effervescent wine have so much attitude that they even come with their own designer straw. This trendsetting portable apéritif is a fun, chic and meant to be sipped right from the can.

While canned wines cannot stand up to fine bottled wines, they do have practical advantages: They open without a corkscrew, offer convenient single-sized servings and are a shatterproof option for poolside sipping, camping and picnicking.

2003 Sweet White Aussie Wine ($8 a fourpack): The apple and citrusy-lime flavors offer a refreshing way to beat the heat of summer. The sweetness is not over the top and is balanced by a bit of crispness.

2002 Chardonnay Aussie Wine ($9 a fourpack): Simple fruit flavors of citrus, peach, pear and a touch of nuttiness give this wine a straightforward personality. Fresh acidity makes it a perfect picnic quaffer.

2002 Cabernet Shiraz Aussie Wine ($10 a fourpack): A fruit-forward and uncomplicated nature make this red a great summer sipper. While the tannins are soft, the dark red cherry, mint and green-pepper flavors shine.

Irancis Coppola, Sofia Mini, Blanc de Blanc, California Effervescent Wine ($19.95 a fourpack): This mini bears aromatic flavors of peach, pear, honeysuckle and citrus. A bit of zing and lively bubbles put it at the front of the line for fun, summer apéritifs.

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