Popping the tops of wine in cans

Marisa Finetti and Kirk Peterson

Yeah, put your pinkies down.  We’re talking about wine in cans, and generally speaking, when it comes to drinking – especially wine from a can- it’s a good strategy to not overthink it. Take for example Francis Ford Coppola’s packaging for Sofia Blanc de Blancs, which practically says, “I’m sipping on sparkling wine through a straw out of a mini sized hot pink can, and I’m just going to go with it.”

Oregon’s Union Wine Company markets their Underwood-branded canned wines with YouTube videos that poke fun at oenophiles who over-analyze their beverage.

Paso Robles-based Field Recordings winery packages their wine in tallboy 500 ml cans which recommend drinkers to enjoy by tonight, tomorrow & this weekend.

Finally, the The Infinite Monkey Theorem says their “ridiculously good wine” is made in a back alley of an art district with grapes sourced from the western slopes Colorado. Kind of like the idea that monkeys randomly pounding on a typewriter are capable of producing the work of Shakespeare. We get it.

These eco-friendly, recyclable, portables are the ultimate “take anywhere” beverage, but how do they taste? Here’s a virtual tasting:

1.     Union Wine Company – Underwood

Rosé
Comparatively pleasant due to its lack of flavor, akin to drinking slightly fizzy alcoholic rose water.

Pinot Noir
Virtually devoid of aroma, which is notable for a wine claiming to be made from an aromatic varietal. Light, yet quaffable.

Buy: Trader Joes $7/can
unionwinecompany.com $28 4-pack

2.     Field Recordings
 

Alloy Wine Works – Pinot Noir
Lean on the palate and candied on the nose with strawberry aromas that are decidedly Twizzler-like and confected. The first impression is more reminiscent of Beaujolais than Pinot Noir but with a slight chill the wine is pleasant and drinkable.

Fiction Red
This Zinfandel-based blend was definitely one of the best wines of the lineup. Aromas of ripe red raspberry and black pepper supported by a smooth texture and ample concentration of flavor. If you didn’t witness it being poured you probably wouldn’t suspect that it came from a can… which would be a solid gauge of success for a canned wine company.
Buy: fieldrecordingswine.com $30-40 4-pack

3.     Infinite Monkey Theorem


Red
What this wine may lack in concentration it makes up for with sheer unpretentious drinkability. Medium bodied and relatively refreshing for a red wine with dark red fruit and suggestions of savory herbs that make this wine one of the better wines of the tasting.

Moscato
With a nose full of peaches and white flowers this sweet semi-sparkling wine basically delivers what it promises: Moscato in a can.

Buy: infinitemonkeytheorem.com, $15 4-pack

4.     Sofia Mini Blanc de Blanc
The only sparkling wine of this tasting, it seemingly appeals to a niche “Sex in the City” crowd – wanting a grown up drink.  Made of pinot blanc, sauvignon blanc and muscat, it comes in an adorable little can, complete with a bendable straw.
Buy: Target, $17

Like their bottled brethren clearly not all canned wines are created equal but don’t judge a wine by its container, there is real wine to be found in cans if you’re willing to search it out.

This piece originally appeared in VEGAS SEVEN http://www.vegasseven.com

The Buzz on Grab ‘n Go Coffees

By Marisa Finetti & Kirk Peterson

Prized for its ability to cool and caffeinate, iced coffee is a warm-weather ritual. Ready-To-Drink single serving versions are perfect for on-the-go, but which one will you choose – the traditional iced coffee, or the increasingly popular cold brew? I’ve teamed up with sommelier and beverage director of B&B Hospitality Group Las Vegas Kirk Peterson (a fellow coffee addict and contributing wine writer) to taste (and smell) a sampling of both styles to help “filter” through the choices.

Cold Brew (CB):  Created by steeping ground coffee in room temperature water for 12+ hours, the result is typically unadulterated flavors and aromas of coffee with less acidity.

Iced Coffee (IC): Brewed hot coffee that is cooled instantly is often blended with flavor enhancers resulting in a tasty, often-time sweet and milky beverage.

1. Chameleon – Espresso Coffee (CB): This medium-bodied black coffee is round, supple and smooth with Swiss Miss cocoa-like qualities and a mellow finish.

2. Stumptown Original (CB):  Portland-based coffee roasters’ original brew is ever-so-slightly reminiscent of instant coffee crystals.  Quite angular and high-acid for cold brew, this lightly-roasted style offers aromas of bell pepper and over-steeped tea.

3. Kohana – Sweet Black (CB):  Delicate and faintly sweetened (by monk fruit) coffee has aromas of caramel, walnut, and banana. Zero tannins makes it soft and easy to drink.

4. High Brew – Double Espresso (CB):  Boldly flavored with medium acidity and a touch of condensed milk, making a creamy and generous coffee that reminds of chocolate milk and butterscotch.

5. Lucky Jack- Old School (CB):  Las Vegas coffee company delivers a lightly effervescent brew that recalls the aroma of a fresh-brewed pot of classic diner Joe with good body, mild acidity, and minimal bitterness.

6. illy issimo Caffè No Sugar (IC): This Italian coffee company offers outstanding, bold taste with all the qualities of freshly-brewed espresso (cold): velvety texture, measured earthiness, balanced bitterness, and a smidge of caramel.

7. Bob Marley’s One Drop- Coffee (IC): Made from Jamaican beans, the taste is creamy, sweet, and smooth with subtle vanilla and cane sugar flavors.

8. UCC Original with Milk (IC): The original coffee in the can from Japan is light, sweet, milky, slightly bitter, and charming in its simplicity.

The Buzz:  If you’re more of a Frappuccino fan and prefer your coffee softened with sweetness, then go more for the traditional iced-coffee.  Drink cold brew if you enjoy a well-crafted coffee-flavored coffee, tend to enjoy your coffee unadulterated by cream and sugar, or are worried about your hipster street cred.

This piece originally appeared in VEGAS SEVEN http://www.vegasseven.com

Bocce & Bottles 2016

For a long time, the game of bocce was purely for old Italian men. They wanted to get away from the wives and kids so they could smoke, cuss, scratch themselves when they wanted to … you know, the court was where they could do this all freely.   After all, women would just take the fun out of everything, right?

balls

These days the game of bocce has evolved to gather all ages, all genders, all abilities, making it one of the most social games, and it has truly become a personal favorite of ours. With a glass of wine in one hand, a ball in the other, it’s a symbiotic relationship that fosters hours of entertainment and laughter.

marisa

Finally, this year, we hosted our first annual “Bocce & Bottles” tournament.  The games got quite exciting!  Those with even the most minimal experience were able to get right next to the pallino. More vengeful players strategically knocked their friends’ balls out of the way. And when two balls were in question, we’d unravel the string from the copper cup to determine whose ball was closer. Yes, so much fun!  We are so fortunate to have such wonderful friends. Times like this is worth capturing and sharing. Here are photos (taken by Shawna Quenneville) to re-cap the event…

THE PLAYERS:group-shot

(L-R): Ada Feliciano, Craig Finetti, Eduard Ajdini, Marisa Finetti, Lisa Ajdini, Alison Bradley, Bill Bradley, Michelle Tenazas, Jared Cooper, Corinne Leo,  Liz Davar, Henry Davar, Kirk Peterson and Allison Bernhardt (George Chambers and Mini not pictured)

kirk

dinner

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craig

cup
“Cup the ball” with our homemade measuring device.

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cooper

gathering

scoreboard

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alison
Looks like victory!

michelle

group

THE BOTTLES:

wine-on-table

the-bottles

more-wine

opening-bottle

glasses

Egly-Ouriet, Brut Tradition, Grand Cru NV
Wind Gap Trousseau Gris 2013
Giovanni Rosso, Barbera, Donna Margherita 2014
Contratto For England Rosé 2008
Contratto Millesimato Extra Brut 2010
Jean Foillard, Morgon, Cuvée Corcelette 2013
Chateau Tourans Saint-Émilion 2010
Nigl Grüner Veltliner 2005
Unanime Gran Vino Tinto 2012
The Prisoner 2014
Contadi Castaldi Rosé Franciacorta
Chateau Touran Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2010
Portal Reserva Douro 2010
Leeuwin Estate Riesling 2010

THE FOOD:
An array of delicious food brought by friends, plus local restaurant favorites, like Daily Kitchen’s family meal, which included Brussels sprouts, macaroni & cheese, Mary’s all-natural rotisserie chicken, Certified Angus tri-tip beef, kale salad and flourless chocolate cake.

dinner2

daily-kitchen-chocolate-cake

plates

eating2

eating

Chicharonnes from China Poblano
Chicharonnes from China Poblano

THE WINNERS:

medals


1st Place – Liz & Henry Davarimg_1586

2nd Place – Lisa and Eduard Ajdini
eduard

3rd Place  – Yours truly – Marisa & Craig Finetti

 

Photos:  Shawna Quenneville