So We’re Drinking Wine Out of 40s Now?

But actually, we're pretty okay with this.

September 6, 2018

By David Kitai / Photo: 40 oz wines

We may have hit peak millennial. About a month ago “forty ounce” bottles of Rosé and Muscadet hit liquor store shelves in B.C. The paper bag and roll of duct tape come optional.

The company “Forty Ounce Wines” produces a Red, White, Rosé and Muscadet. So far the Rosé and Muscadet have arrived in B.C.

The wines are the brainchildren of NYC sommelier Patrick Cappiello and wine importer Chris Desor. The two were visiting the cellars of Julien Braud in the Loire Valley back in 2014, trying to come up with an idea for a wine made under their label. While they were tasting in Julien’s cellar Patrick noticed a litre bottle that looked remarkably like the 40oz malt liquor bottles of his misspent youth. Julien, apparently, had been using them to sell fresh grape juice at the local market. The two New Yorkers brought him around to the idea of selling wine in the 40s, and started sending them to the states a few years later.

“A lot of people buy wine based on the packaging,” says Maude Renaud-Brisson, Vancouver territory manager for Lifford Wine and Spirits, who import the 40oz wines, “we’re trying to make wine more approachable and with these wines, the packaging helps. People will ask more questions, ask what a Muscadet is and we can teach them.”

The rosé is a blend of predominantly gamay with merlot, cab franc, and a touch of the rare pineau d’aunis. Aside from the merlot, those are the kinds of varietals to get any natty-wine hipster’s interest up.

The muscadet is maybe the boldest choice to put in a 40. The ultra-crisp Loire wine made from 100 percent Melon de Bourgogne grapes isn’t the most well-known style, but it does have the benefit of an acidic, fresh, joyful charm that does well drunk for fun out of a forty.

They’re both on the shelves for a little over $30 a bottle. Not the cheapest, but if the Pipeño wines are any indication, that’s the going rate for chuggable no-nonsense litres of sustainable wine in Vancouver.

The wines aren’t totally natural, there’s enough use of cultured yeast to turn away the dogmatists, but Braud and the other growers work organically in the vineyards and don’t use any nasty additives in their cellars. If you’re looking for accessible, easy-drinking wines at a not-outrageous price point, you may have to settle for a bit of yeast.

If we have a gripe with these wines it’s actually that they’re 33.87 oz, and so not really a forty. But oh well, we’ll take a litre of no-fuss sustainable Muscadet, especially if we can chug it out of a paper bag.

You can nab these wines at Kitsilano Wine Cellar and Liberty Wine Merchants, in the $29 to $34 price range depending on the store. 

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