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Can it keep? Yes it can

LIWF, May 2012: picked up a 250ml can of Bordeaux rouge from the stand of Ball Packaging Europe, exhibiting for the first time at last year’s show – so how's that wine tasting one year on?

David Longfield wine writer

The Germany-based beverage can producer has developed the Protected Quality integrated seal can as a means to appeal particularly to people in the 20-39 year-old demographic who are “not traditional wine drinkers but like to try out new premium products that combine innovation, sustainability and a compelling taste experience”.

Perhaps reflecting the fact that I am now some years beyond said demographic, the can has stood on a shelf in my office-cum-dining room for the 11 months-plus since that day. But the technology of the can, if Ball’s theory works, should have protected the wine and kept it in good condition, even through to the other side of a proper British winter.

So there’s one question, isn’t there: how’s it tasting? Well, not at all bad actually.

The wine is a Bordeaux Appellation Contrôlée Merlot Cabernet 2010, 13% abv, the single-serve can filled by one of Ball’s licenced partners for this technology, Cacolac S.A.S. in France.

Colour: Young, purple with pinky tinges, no particular signs of browning (oxidation).

Aroma: Bright, clean black fruit with a faint note of sandalwood, some fresh, green leafy hints with a little stewy-prune and clove note in the background. Oak is there but not prominent, light vanilla hint.

Palate: Rather velvety in texture, creamy too – more so than ‘vanilla’. It’s generous, open, plenty of ripe fruit. Acidity is on the ‘racy’ side, but fine in conjunction with food (chicken and bacon in breadcrumbs). Tannins are soft, but there offering support, and well balanced. The finish reveals controlled oak and a slightly tart ‘green-ness’ that I associate with wines from the Premières Côtes, yet it leaves the mouth feeling enlivened and keen for more.

Conclusion: Given its ‘humble’ AOC origins, the wine does reflect a very good, “winemaker’s favourite” vintage in 2010. All the required elements are in place, and the balance is good. The creamy texture/aroma and overall soft, fruit-driven structure make it very accessible – in keeping with Ball’s declared target audience. With Ball’s customer-base in mainland Europe, the lack of ‘vanilla’ overtones in this blend suggests it was not one that was put together for mass distribution in the UK – and the wine benefits for it.

All in all? Yes, wine in cans certainly can. Last the pace, that is – even possibly improve in the can; or at least settle down and find a balance, as this wine clearly had.

Ball’s premium wine can is available in 200ml and 250ml sizes and offers a 12-month shelf life. The ‘standard’ can is available in all can sizes, and wine packaged in standard cans has a minimum shelf life of six months.

See also The Drinks Report news story on Wild Pelican making the move from regular cans into Ball's premium wine cans with protected quality seal.

17 May 2013