One of the things I truly enjoy about wine is the ceremony of it; that moment that marks the end of the day, and an end, for that day at any rate, of the stresses of work and living. When I sit down somewhere comfortable and relaxing, having chosen the right glass, and the right bottle… the anticipated, deserved and quietly congratulatory “pop” as the cork leaves the neck of the bottle, where it has snugly rested for a couple of years, ensuring the savour and quality of the wine inside.
I derive pleasure from the sight of the wine burbling into the glass, the turbulence releasing aromas that have been locked away in the heart of the wine, until this moment, when I pause with my nose over the glass, to inhale and savour and introduce my olfactory senses to the melee of smells that tell me about a grape’s life in the vineyar; the terroir, the weather and the winemaker’s craft. Then the long anticipated taste, letting the flavours and textures roll around my mouth and palate. The moment is consummated; the day is officially ended and it is time to relax and enjoy one’s life, one’s family, friends and food.
Now, whilst it is true that some days, my wine drinking is slightly more urgent than the above description (particularly after a big day on the farm!), this is a ritual that I always enjoy, even if the speed is slightly increased. Which is why the idea of WINE IN A CAN horrifies and repels me. Take this summer’s Latest Big Thing: Rosé In A Can.
OK, I get that it is convenient. It is portable; it is easily chilled; it is an ingenuous idea; you don’t need a glass; and you can drink it without any fuss in a public place, where a bottle might be rather obvious. However, there are many drinks that satisfy the above criteria, the chief of which is water. (AND its good for you. )
There are some obvious problems with Rosé In A Can. For a start, you can’t see it. One of the loveliest things about rosé is her wonderful colour; from transparent ruby to the palest salmon, the first sight of rosé promises so much more… raspberries? Rose petals? A garden? Secondly, you can’t smell rosé in a can. Go on, stick your snout over the hole; themost you will detect (if you don’t cut your nose) is a whiff of carbon dioxide. Or, if the wine is too warm, alcohol. Within a glass, the volatile aromas of the wine mix with the air above the wine, and in well designed stemware, those aromas are directed towards your nose, so that the full olfactory profile is delivered straight to you, hinting at what is to follow when you taste it.
A great experiment that I tried when I was at school was to hold my nose, and eat a raw onion. Without being able to smell it, the onion tasted rather like apple. Studies have shown that, if subjects cannot smell or see the wine they are drinking, they are not able to identify the type of wine, and often not even the colour of wine. So when producers start bunging crappy wine in cans, you won’t even know…
Some people even drink it with STRAWS.
So, there are some technical reasons why Rosé In A Can is a bad move. However, and perhaps more importantly : should wine ever be convenient? Given the relatively high alcohol content, and capacity for harm if carelessly consumed, should we be making such a beverage as easy, convenient and drinkable as Coke or water?
Perhaps it is my age showing here. The generation who are drinking Rosé In A Can are the generation who Want It Now. Wine is a pleasant beverage like so many others, and they want it when they want it. But in this age of instant gratification and constant stimulation, perhaps it is important to pay more attention to the rituals of food and wine. To pay homage to the basic experiences of flavour and savour. Wine is not a convenience food; it is a ritual and a celebration. So, come on, peeps: grab a BOTTLE, and take your time to smell the rosés.