Wine Talk

Snooth User: lingprof

best wine for sangria?

Posted by lingprof, Jun 23, 2012.

It's sangria weather here in CA and many other places.  What wine varietals (and specific brands) do you use to make sangria?

I've experimented and found that better quality wines do not necessarily make better sangria.  The cheap ones tend to work better in my opinion, as well as making more sense of course.

But what about varietals?  I have personally used "red rose", "burgundy" (cheap domestic), zinfandel, merlot and a cab/merlot blend, and one time I threw in some cab franc I happened to have and I liked it.

What do you use?


Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 23, 2012.

I think that the varietal is overwhelmed by whatever you put on.  I'd aim for fruity and simple, not too tannic.  Merlot could work, grenache could work.  I've seen wines packaged at "sangria" wines and frankly if they are cheap enough, why not?  All that Central Valley wine has to serve some purpose.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 23, 2012.

BTW, speak for yourself:  In the Bay Area, it's been cool and windy, our natural air conditioning when the Central Valley is hot. We get the first three days of the heat wave, then the maritime effect kicks in.  It's why I can store my wine passively.

Reply by GregT, Jun 23, 2012.

Any young, cheap wine. In Spain it's usually a Garnacha - that's what they grow down south where Sangria is from. Unoaked. Can use whites or rosado too. Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, or anything young and fruity. And you can do like restaurants - whatever's left over from yesterday or the day before.

Reply by ps, Jun 23, 2012.

I just use any cheap or left over wine.  Sometimes a cheap bottle that I was curious about but is not very good becomes sangria.  Since the taste is being masked by the juice and fruit, it probably doesn't matter.  I'd be curious to know if anyone thinks differently.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 23, 2012.

I was going to suggest using leftover wine, but that seemed too declasse even for me!  And of course I feel silly jumping in before the Yoda of Spanish wine. ;-)

What's kind of funny, if you haven't met GregT, is that he's so the opposite of what you expect a Spain-o-phile to be.  He looks and sounds buttoned down, but there's something really subversive under his Mona Lisa smile. It's called intelligence, I think.

Looking back at that first post of mine, my typing was atrocious.

Reply by Terence Pang, Jun 24, 2012.

I second GregT, do what the Spaniads do.. i.e. grenache. I found that Pinot Noir works well too. I tend to stay away from the tannic stuff like Merlot or Cab Sauv.

Reply by Mike Madaio, Jun 24, 2012.

I thought the classic choice was Rioja. I made some with Beaujolais recently and it was excellent.

Reply by GregT, Jun 24, 2012.

Well, you could but if you use a gran reserva, it would be a real waste.  You'd use a joven, or an unoaked, fruity wine. You can pretty much use whatever you want - it's like any other punch and usually it's a party drink, not something you order out. If served in a bar, they do the same as here - something cheap plus the leftovers.

In south Spain they actually drink something called tinto de verano, or tinto verano. That's more like a wine spritzer - wine with a bit of carbonated soda added.  You can use something like 7 Up, and maybe some juice. The idea is to cut down on the alcohol and have something cold, and again, it's not made with any wine that's too expensive. Sometimes you can amp it up with a little brandy or something, but I imagine that's more for the frat party crowd or whatever the Iberian equivalent would be.

Greg DP is over there right now, travelling with a few people who want to learn a little about Spanish wine and blog mercilessly about it - too bad they're only in Rioja because we could send them on a sangria hunt to find the absolute best!  My guess is somewhere around Valencia because they have the grapes and the oranges and it just seems right.

I confess I hardly ever make it - I tried a couple times last year just to be contrary because my Spanish friends told me they wouldn't ever drink the stuff. But it's really hard to make a small quantity, so you end up with this big pitcher in the fridge that you really don't want after a while.

Anyhow, if I make it this year I think I'm going to try putting some rose blossoms in it.

Reply by JonDerry, Jun 24, 2012.

Had a great candidate yesterday, a 2011 Aconga - 80% Bonarda, 20% Merlot from Mendoza. QPR superstar @ less than $4/bottle at Ralph's. Bought only because another shopper in the aisle was singing its' praises. Obviously young, light fruity profile, and couldn't sense any oak. Decent acids, small small tannins.

Reply by lakenvelder, Jun 27, 2012.

I agree with foxall just get a Central Ca wine and make it taste good. I really not in to it personally. I just have a glass of wine or do the Summer Slushies.

Reply by zufrieden, Jun 27, 2012.

Depending on the infusion, I would have to support the idea of using modest, everyday red wines - perhaps from those maligned but redolent-of-spices varieties of Rousillon or (if Italy is preferred) an unpretentious Negroamaro from Puglia.Not too cheap, though.  Even Sangria will reveal certain undesirable qualities of pure plonk...  

No Grand Reserva is necessary, however.

Reply by lingprof, Jul 1, 2012.

Thanks to all for your input!  Maybe because I grew up with it, I *love* sangria.  I don't really think of it as wine.  It's more like wine vs. beer, a different species.  On a hot day there's something so refreshing about it.  I can't imagine drinking it inside really....

JD: should've known you'd come through with a specific rec!  I'm on my way to ralphs this a.m. to see if I can find it.  And let's you and I take a moment here to gloat over the fact that we live in a state where there is wine (beer, vodka, etc.) at Ralphs.  There are thirsty children in Pennsylvania who aren't as lucky....

Reply by Rich Reader, Jul 3, 2012.

Tempranillo is best for Sangria.

Reply by VegasOenophile, Jul 5, 2012.

I think it depends on your taste and how you wish it to "react" with the other ingredients to produce a specific end result.  Rioja (Tempranillo) is, I believe, the traditional choice.  I'd be curious to see how others make it.  I am not much a big fan of "things" in my wine, and when I do like Sangria, I like white.  Some interesting perspectives here though.

Reply by GregT, Jul 5, 2012.

Why Tempranillo?

In Spain, it would be Garnacha, which is more widely grown, especially in the south. Garnacha is all over and produces better.  That's typically what one would use in Spain, particularly in the south, where sangria is "from" if there's such a thing, along with the oranges and fruits. Again, it's always a cheap wine and since there's so much more Garnacha, it's likely to be the one used. In the US, in bars and restaurants, it's always something cheap but it could be anything, including Tempranillo, but I wouldn't run out and look for any Tempranillo just to make sangria, under the impression that it's somehow more Spanish. It's sort of like suggesting that if your dish doesn't have tomato sauce, it can't be "Italian". Cheers!

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