Tempranillo is the traditional base for the famed Spanish beverage, Sangria. Steeped with diced fruits, brandy, and often a sweetener, it is a favorite summer sipper. However, with typical human ingenuity, other wines can replace Tempranillo to make endless versions of this refreshing drink. Try these recipes for a new taste:
- Dry, inexpensive, red wines. Since red wine is the base for (most) Sangria, red wines with a fruity, simple profile will work in place of Tempranillo.1 Two to try are Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel (CA), and Mark West Pinot Noir (CA). Both are recommended for the "The Best Party Sangria"2 recipe. Give a Malbec (Argentina) a try for "Hot and Spicy Sangria."3,4 You want to avoid older red wines, tannic reds, and more expensive, complex red wines. These are super on their own, and you don't want to mix or muddy their flavors.5
The next three wines break from the red Sangria tradition and give some added variety to this delicious beverage.
- White wines. Since whites show their fruitiness more, you must pay attention to the grapes used in a white wine Sangria recipe.6 Citrusy Sauvignon Blancs may not blend well with recipes that call for a lot of lemon and lime.7 Un-oaked Chardonnays and Chenin Blancs have the predisposition to work well.8 Again, aim for simple and tasty profiles while avoiding older or expensive and complex white wines, as well as oaked Chardonnays.9Try a Riesling in this recipe, "White Lightning Sangria,"10 or a Chenin Blanc with this "Fruity Sangria" recipe.11
- Rose wines. The beautiful and highly varied pink shades of rose wines can make for stunning color tones in your Sangria.12 The rose is best paired in a flavor profile that uses red berries like raspberries, cranberries, and other fruits such as peaches.13 Try this "Spring Sangria" recipe.14 You will want to avoid roses that are very sweet, which makes them difficult to combine with a pink Sangria's other typical ingredients.
- Sparkling wines. Sparkling wines can be used in Sangria in place of still wines.15 Think Prosecco in place of a still white wine, or a sparkling rose16 in place of a still red or rose to boost your own pitcher to a new level of fun. This "Passion Fruit Sangria" recipe17 is just the thing to try out a nice sparkling white on. Of course, you are not going to use Dom Perignon or other older, expensive sparkling wines here. The crucial key to using a sparkling wine in a sangria isn't as much the wine as it is WHEN you put the wine in. Most Sangrias blend the wine and other ingredients to steep at least all day (if not overnight). For sparkling Sangria, you'll want to blend the non-wine ingredients to steep, and then add the bubbly just before serving, to preserve the effervescent kick.
Try something new and unexpected in that next pitcher of Sangria. No matter which wine is poured, Sangria is a refreshing summer celebration in a glass.