Underwood wines come in 375 ml cans. It’s striking packaging. I was curious, so I bought a pair to try, for $5.99 each from World Foods in Portland, Oregon. They are made by Union Wine Company. They have the admirable goal of demystifying wine and making affordable, decent wine available so everyone can enjoy it, not just wealthy dudes.
It feels a bit odd to be tasting wine from the same sort of can that you’d normally be consuming soft drinks from. Super weird, actually. The wine bottle and glass is so intrinsic to the wine-drinking experience. But these cans are just so practical. Why shouldn’t wine be served this way?
After all, for craft brewers, the can is the ultimate way to sell beer, because it allows no light or oxygen in. So if you can fill cans without too much oxygen pick-up, then it will keep the wine in top condition for ages. There is, of course, the risk of reduction issues with wines that are prone to this fault, in the absence of any oxygen transmission at all. But you can imagine having a really good time with these cans in the right situation: picnics, dining alone, at the beach, in casual restaurants.
Packaging like this takes some of the fear out of the wine drinking experience. People are still afraid of wine: informal packaging makes it really approachable.
So how are the wines? Really good. Juicy and fruity and simple. No complications, but also quite appealing and dry, without too much make up. Perfectly judged for this packaging.
Underwood Pinot Gris NV Oregon
13% alcohol. This is simple, bright, zesty and juicy with ripe apple and grapefruit flavours. Balanced with a bit of spicy zip, and made lively with slightly elevated carbon dioxide. Drinkable and quite joyful. 86/100
Underwood Pinot Noir NV Oregon
13% alcohol. Light bodied, this Pinot has juicy flavours of sweet raspberries, cherries and rhubarb. There’s some chocolatey character, too. Fruity and lively with a simple, juicy personality and a hint of savoury meatiness. A fruity style that’s very drinkable. 87/100