Pear-way to heaven
Sounds Italian, but interestingly the grapes are grown in Hungary and blended by UK Master Of Wine and winemaker for Off-Piste Wines, Clem Yates. Off-Piste are rather nifty at coming up with exciting new concepts, case in point here. Forget the ‘so good they named it twice’ spiel, taste-wise, it won’t blow your mind, but it does have some rounded-out golden delicious apple flavours to be getting on with. With a rather high residual sugar content of 16g/litre, I’d recommend this to fans of ‘ready-to-drink’ cocktails, who will appreciate its appealing, apple and pear froth. Pinot Pinot Sparkling Pinot Grigio, Hungary, 200ml, £2, Tesco
The wine-in-a-can revolution started in the US, when film-director-turned-winemaker, Francis Ford Coppola introduced Sofia Blanc de Blancs back in 2004, a gift to his daughter, that also came with an attached straw for additional class. Roberta Sergio was the first to launch the canned wine format in the UK in 2015, with this one. A blend of Italian trebbiano and the largely unpronounceable local pagadebit grape, the bubble-producing second fermentation takes place in tanks, much like prosecco. It’s a tin of gentle apple and kiwi fruit froth, with around half the sugar content of some proseccos. Quello Semi-Sparkling White Wine, 200ml, £3.99, Whole Foods and Selfridges
On the back of English wine fever, this start-up launched a wine-in-a-can from local Surrey grapes. Founded last September by Harry Connell and Alex Thraves. The Uncommon launched a crowdfunding campaign to build its own winery in Peckham, south-east London. Collaborating with top UK wine producers gives them access to quality fruit, and this one’s had the help of Denbies in Dorking. Made from bacchus grapes, England’s answer to sauvignon blanc, C02 is added in the ‘bicycle pump method’. Expect clean and racy elderflower bubbles. The Uncommon, England, 250ml, £4.99, Selfridges
This range comes in a head-spinning array of packaging options, from glass bottles to single serve pouches and now a tin. Bravo for thinking outside the bottle, with an ‘on the go’ format catering for busy millennials. Sparkling pink isn’t just for the female drinker, either, with 24 per cent of guys saying they’d prefer to drink pink sparkling over white in a recent survey. Made from Hungarian pinot grigio with a drop of the red dornfelder grape, giving it a light salmon hue and a peachy palate. Most Wanted Lightly Sparkling Pink Pinot Grigio, 200ml, £2.50, Morrisons
Cans are the world’s most recycled drinks container with 69 per cent recycled globally, as opposed to just 46 per cent for glass and 43 per cent for plastic. Smaller and lighter than glass, the carbon footprint is significantly lower for transportation. Enter the lip-smacking summer-pudding-in a-can, this sparkling rosé, is brought to us by the creators of skinny prosecco. Housed in a 100 per cent recyclable can, it’s produced from a blend of organically grown merlot and sangiovese, the grape behind chianti. Suitable for vegans and veggies, at 3g/litre the sugar content is as low as the 10 per cent abv. Thomson & Scott Sparkler Rosé, 200ml, £19.73 for pack of six, Amazon.
Cranberry crushed it
Once cans are sealed, zero oxygen gets to them, plus they are portable, lightweight, and protect against light. Waitrose has added two tinnies to their range, with this organically grown grenache blend made by British winemaker, Robert Eden of Chateau Maris, billed as one of the five most environmentally sustainable vineyards in the world. Even the winery is made of hemp bricks, which avoids it having to be heated or cooled, and this dry pink has moreish cranberry-crush notes and a creamy length. Maris Organic Rosé, Languedoc, France, 250ml, £3.49, Waitrose
Spice as nice
The other Waitrose wine tin, again organic, made from the next generation can and free from phthalates and Bisphenol-A, chemicals used against corrosion and breakage. With small bottles increasing by 10 per cent last year in Waitrose, buyer Victoria Mason explains: ‘We know our customers are looking for convenient and environmentally friendly packaging options for wine.’ This spicy shiraz has surprisingly grown-up flavours of mocha and black cherry, with impressively silky tannins on the finish. Maris Shiraz 250ml, Languedoc, France, £3.49, Waitrose
Why we need to natter with our neighbours…
COMEDIAN Jo Brand, ambassador of The Big Lunch, makes the case for keeping in with your neighbours: ‘At a time when the country feels so divided and disconnected, it seems more important than ever to come together and remember the importance of community spirit. So anything that encourages a bit of human contact gets a thumbs up from me — and a double thumbs up if it involves cake! I grew up in a small village in Kent and could probably tell you who lived in every house. It’s a very different these days when one in five people don’t know their neighbours and 40 per cent don’t know our neighbours’ names.
‘Families don’t all live in the same village anymore, as most people are migrating to big towns and cities where you’re ever more anonymous.
And social media, as well as connecting, can also exclude people. You can see everyone having a brilliant time and you want to be there but you’re not.
‘People’s online lives have made us neglect what’s happening under our noses. Some of our elderly neighbours who live alone are lonely. I live in south-east London and it’s very friendly. But the central bits are full of tourists and the posh bits, with massive Georgian houses with a butler to open the door, are not conducive to being neighbourly.
‘I’m very friendly with my neighbours and though we’re not in each other’s pockets, we all look out for each other. Last year, six million people took part in The Big Lunch across the UK, which was fantastic. Give it a go. No one’s expecting a huge fanfare, fireworks or a five-course meal — just turn up with a sandwich!’
■ The Big Lunch takes place on June 1 and 2, thebiglunch.com