Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Well, Shit. These Canned Lila Wines are Pretty Good

I'm clearly not the target market, but these wines are still quite tasty and inexpensive. Credit: Lila Wines.

Reviewing wines is a lot of fun. It's also a lot of work. Sometimes (I recently joked with friends after receiving several boxes of canned wines) I wonder: What did I ever do to deserve this punishment? 

Well, here I am to admit it: these canned wines... they are actually decent.

Plenty of crummy wine comes in bottles, while plenty of good vino is packaged in boxes, kegs, and even cans. Like these new Lila Wines

Yoga pants, toned toosh not included. Credit: Lila Wines.
This marketing concept comes from the Massachusetts-based Latitude Beverage Company, the same folks behind 90+ Cellars and Iron Side Cellars. This summer, they're pitching three types of wine, and each one is a well-established style that has broad market appeal. Lila is launching a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region, an Italian Pinot Grigio from the Veneto region, and a rosé from Provence. The wines should be available in most states this summer. 

The cans themselves are a bit thicker than soda cans, and I can attest that they don't impart any sort of metallic or strange aromas or flavor elements to the wine. And if you do the math, these cans get you good bang for your buck. Each can contains 8.4 ounces of wine, and a four-pack of cans sells for about $13. This means you get about 1/3 more vino than a standard-size bottle of wine. And these wines are, in my opinion, just as good if not better than a random bottle of $13 Pinot Grigio or Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc you'll find at your supermarket. They're also notably dry and contain no added sugar. (Bonus: these cans are easier to smuggle into a movie theater, and you don't need a corkscrew.)

I don't have much experience with canned wines, and that's because they're not a large portion of the current market offerings. A friend of mine once bought some canned wines on a summer afternoon as we floated down a river in rafts. Bottles were prohibited (makes sense, because broken glass and rocky rivers are a terrible pairing), so she brought canned vino. And these Lila wines would be damned near perfect for a hot summer day floating down the river. 

Do you even Lila, bro? Credit: Lila Wines
In case you're daft and haven't yet picked up on it, the target market for these wines is abundantly clear: millenial women. Apparently, these wines are best paired with long legs, wind in your hair and sunglasses on your head. After reviewing the PR materials, I doubt they sent these wines to the correct recipient. Although the Lila sunglasses, inflatable beach ball and SPF lip balm were quite nice, thank you!

A note for the dudes out there: Dudes, we can hang out at the Lila parties if we're invited. But we're supposed to drink manly beverages out of Solo cups while the ladies sip the Lila. (See photo, right.)

Oops. I actually sipped these wines.

I will say, dudes, I felt no significant drop in testosterone or noticeable testicular shrinkage after tasting these wines. So, I think they're safe, bros. 

I must confess: if the choice is a) a light beer brand; b) Yellow Tail or some similar critter wine; or c) one of these Lila wines, it's not even close. Lila, bitches. Hands down.

I tasted these wines by cracking the can and pouring the wine into a proper-ass glass. Wine glasses do serve a purpose, and one of them is ensuring you get the full range of aromas. Most of what we sense about a wine comes from our nose, and you can't get much from a can. But if the sun is hot and the can is cold, fuck it. Wine is about pleasure. Do what gives you pleasure. 

(New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough)
SRP: $13 per 4-pack (8.4 oz cans)
Pale straw color. Smells of grapefruit, lemon pith, honeysuckle and green bell pepper. Light, tart and crunchy on the palate with green apple and ruby red grapefruit flavors, backed up by nettle, white pepper and floral perfume. Even with a lot of entry-level Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs in the $12 range, but these cans offer more value

Credit: Lila Wines
(Italy, Venezie IGT)
SRP: $13 per 4-pack (8.4 oz cans)
Pale straw color. Aromas of white peaches, nectarines and fresh flowers. Refreshing acidity on the palate, medium-light-bodied. Flavors of white peach, pineapple, orange peel, this is a ripe, tropical-themed wine but it’s still bright, floral, even slightly chalky. Impressive for a moderately gimmicky canned wine! 

(France, Provence) 
SRP: $13 per 4-pack (8.4 oz cans)
Very pale copper color. Smells of roses, baby’s breath, strawberries and white cherries, along with hints of peppery spice. Crisp and crunchy on the palate, light-bodied with fresh acidity. I get flavors of white peach, pineapple and orange, ripe fruit but not sweet. Some cut flower stems and chalky notes. I actually dig this. 

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