Riesling Radler by Underwood

Grape (s): Riesling

Producer: Underwood (Oregon, United States)

Where: trendy bars with wine on tap or a local grocer

Fat soda pop bubbles, saccharine sweetness and an aluminum after-taste constitute this liquid dessert. The off-flavor is typical in canned drinks but perhaps even more apparent here due to the subtle flavors of wine grapes which are less weighty and distracting than those of a dark, sugar-loaded soft drink. Though "wine" in name, this beverage drinks like a fizzy liquid confection with candied flavors of pineapple, grapefruit, tangerine, Fuji apple and Bartlett pear. The whole shtick goes over better without an expectation of grandeur but rather a desire for a lively tropical fruit adult ginger ale spiked with a pinch of booze to complement the chilled out theme. It even pours like a soda with a thick, fleeting foam you can only appreciate if you dare take it from can to glass. But why would you? It is what it is.

Is it a fizzy wine cooler or a sparkling light beer? The blur of crossover beverages is making me dizzy. Consider it something you might sip in the summertime: on the go at a picnic or in the passenger seat of a convertible. Maybe give it a try at a beach BBQ or from a poolside recliner with a trashy  speed read. This quaff works well for the kind of day when a heavy bottle, stemmed glass and corkscrew are just more than you want to go through especially if the sun is scorching and refreshment counts more than style. That's all well and good; however, contrary to its svelte glass counterpart, this stubby little gulper has a nutrition label which may be more awareness than you'd like when drinking wine especially since the super-low alcohol (3%) make this a pop-the-top-guzzle-toss-reach-repeat kind of drink. Be warned! It's going to take more than one can to get a decent buzz. Those glaring carbs every time you tip up for another throw back can be kind of a downer unless you have the laissez-faire to look away. In fact, toss in some humidity on a sweltering Saturday and a four pack of these winecycles might vanish way faster than you intended. Or is that the point?