A Canned Wine That Can
by Andrew Chalk
I used to find that a producer of canned wine was telling me “My product is so bad that it doesn’t deserve to be seen. So no glass, just a metal cell”. That was the kind of wine that got put in cans. Intellectually, cans made perfect sense. They were successful containers for just about every other beverage. No corkscrew needed. No possibility of breakage (e.g. by the pool, or while going over Niagara Falls in a barrel). 100% recyclable.
I took the view that the world needed Château Latour to can and all the bad optics would end.
That hasn’t happened, but some producers of likable wines have embraced the medium. Licence IV is one such wine. Especially the rosé - indeed specifically the rosé. It is a provençal blend comprising 85% grenache and 15% syrah from Bandol that stands ‘épaule à épaule’ with bottled provençal rosé.
The brainchild of entrepreneurial sommelier Gregory Castells, a native of Provence, who trained at Escoffier Restaurant School and Tain L'Hermitage Sommelier School. He went on to develop the wine program at Gordon Ramsay’s Petrus in London and became head sommelier at the world-famous Thomas Keller’s French Laundry in Napa Valley. In 2012, Martine Saunier hand-selected him to succeed her at Martine's Wines, a legendary national importer and wholesaler of fine wines. Gregory runs Martine’s with his partner and CEO, Kate Laughlin, and travels often to France and beyond to seek out top quality wines for tables and shelves across the United States.
His notes are “made from organically grown grapes in Provence. Rosé features notes of blood orange, fresh strawberries and pink peonies on the nose, with a fruit forward and bright palate, aerial with notes of strawberries and pomegranate. It finishes fresh and light, calling for another glass. Paired perfectly with caprese salad, charcuterie or marinated octopus, but especially by itself.” I could not agree more.