Let’s face it, few drinks rival a chilled glass of fresh sangria on a summer evening. It’s fruity, refreshing, and if made right, has an energizing kick that makes you take notice!
But, there are levels to sangria. If you’ve only ever had that pre-made sangria from a can then you need to make an effort to create your own, you won’t regret it!
Likewise, a really good sangria hinges on the quality of the wine used. I don’t mean you need to use a high-quality wine, but you do need to use the right type of wine.
There are a few rules to remember when choosing the right wine to make the perfect sangria and I’m going to cover them next. So, if you respect your sangria, read on!
The first rule for getting a great wine for your sangria is to keep it fruity. Sangria is a fruit-based cocktail and you want to keep those fruit flavors running through the wine too.
Thankfully, most inexpensive red wines tend to be young and fruity so you shouldn’t need to search too hard.
Avoid oaked wines and also aged wines. These can exhibit more complex notes that don’t suit the freshness of a sangria.
The second rule is to choose a dry wine. Sangria is not a ‘dry’ cocktail and it gets sweetness from the fruit, sugar, and soda (depending on the recipe).
You want to avoid going overboard with sweetness by choosing a dry wine.
Pro Tip: If you’re unsure if a wine is sweet or dry, check the alcohol content. During the fermentation process, the sugar in grapes is converted to alcohol. The more sugar that is converted into alcohol, the higher the ABV of the wine. For dry wine look for at least 12.5% ABV.
3. Good Acidity
As I mentioned in the last section, sangria has a certain sweetness. To balance this and stop it from being too cloying you’ll want to choose a wine that has good acidity.
At the same time, you want to choose a wine that is low in tannins. Wine tannins cause that puckering, mouth-drying sensation that just doesn’t fit well with sangria. White wines don’t contain tannin but some reds can be high in tannin.
Sangria is a party cocktail made in bulk to be enjoyed with friends. That means costs need to be kept to a minimum. Plus, what’s the point in spending money on a great bottle of wine and then mixing it with other ingredients?
Some Great Sangria Wines
So, I’ve covered the four sacred wine rules for sangria but which wines should you actually buy?
Funnily enough, the wines that suit sangria the best come from Spain, the home of sangria.
For traditional sangria made with red wine, the ultimate choice is Garnacha. Garnacha ticks all the boxes for what we need. It’s dry and fruity, has great acidity, and it’s usually low in tannins.
Another Spanish wine, Tempranillo, is also a great fit for a traditional sangria. Just be sure to avoid the ones that are heavily oaked as that’s not a flavor profile that goes well with the fruitiness of sangria.
But, you don’t need to stay with Spanish wines to make a great sangria. Just stick to your budget and taste the wine before you pour.
If it’s a bit sweeter than you imagined then hold back on a bit of the sugar or soda. If it’s not acidic enough, then add a bit of lemon.