As I write this, the Chicago winter has been interrupted. A glorious 65-degree day with abundant sunshine and soft breezes is present (and more of the same is predicted throughout the week). For the first time since October, I’ve moved my laptop and notes to the back porch. While I listen to the laughter of children in the park and music drifting from the house next door, I can’t help but anticipate the plethora of outside activities that await. As you can imagine, a bit of wine will be involved and I’ve decided which to enjoy: Backpack Wine. Yep, I’m going to toss a few of these delicious canned wines into my backpack and get outta here!
Sent to me as samples from the founder and President of Backpack Wine Company, Jim Doehring, I was asked to taste then share my thoughts about this yummy addition to the booming canned wine market. I received four cans each of their Snappy White and Cheeky Rosé; a single can holds 250 ml of wine sourced from the Wahluke Slope, part of the Columbia Valley, in the state of Washington. One of my Millennial daughters who loves the outdoors, my husband who has a penchant for snowboarding, and I, a sunshine enthusiast, brought the wines to a favorite local BYOB restaurant one wintry evening to try (and all of us remarked how we look forward to adding one of these wines to a backpack or cooler for instant refreshment once the weather cooperates).
During dinner, we shared our thoughts about other settings where canned wine would be appreciated: during a picnic at the park, on a sandy beach, at a tailgate party before the big game, aprés-ski by the fire pit, after a long hike, on the boat, at a backyard barbecue… The ideas were endless and I’m sure you can think of a few places, too. Canned wines are light and easy to transport, there is no chance of a can shattering or needing a corkscrew for opening, and the single serve portions in each can chill faster than a bottle of wine. As a bonus, the aluminum cans and cardboard boxes that hold Backpack Wine are recyclable. And lest you think that the wine tastes like, well, a can, no worries – the Backpack Wine cans are coated and have no chemical interaction with the wine. Do you need more convincing?
At dinner, each was delightful with our savory appetizer of pear date bruschetta with chevre, cream cheese, and toasted pine nuts on a grilled baguette. My husband enjoyed tastes of the Cheeky Rosé with his entrée of blue cheese crusted flat iron steak with a rosemary red wine demi-glace and fries while my daughter preferred sips of the Snappy White with her parmesan risotto cake with shrimp under a sherry reduction sauce and toasted pistachios. I savored flavors of both white and rosé with my pan roasted wild Pacific opah, saffron basmati rice, tomato butter sauce, warm grilled sweet corn and tomato relish.
Our pairings proved that Backpack Wines complement any food – even our gourmet dinner. You can also try them when you’re on-the-go…with a juicy burger still sizzling from the grill, picnic fare in the park, or a turkey-pesto sandwich and kettle chips you have in your hiking satchel. Suggested retail price is $19.99 for a four pack – a good deal for factors of convenience and drinkability.
For now, I need to move on and take advantage of this incredible weather. My Snappy White and Cheeky Rosé from Backpack Wine are ready to go, too!