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Sangria, Anyone?

Published on May 05, 2011

Around Mexico and the United States this weekend people will celebrate Mexico's defeat over the French on May 5th, 1862, also known as Cinco de Mayo! Many of us have celebrated with our Mexican counterparts over the years, from fiestas with great food and traditional Spanish cocktails to fireworks and piñatas! You will see many Spanish-influenced beer and cocktails consumed during this holiday including Margaritas, Mojitos, Tequila Sunrises and more importantly a wine punch called Sangria!

Many believe Sangria, which means "blood," was created in Spain in 1820 in the Rioja region and quickly made its way to Southern Spain and Portugal. It was enjoyed in the hot summer months to cool down after working outside. Remember that ice was not widely available back then so they originally mixed wine with cool water, lemon juice, and sugar to replenish nutrients to the much exhausted body. It later became very popular in celebration. This luxury, entirely Spanish, gradually made its way into France and then in 1964 was introduced to the world at the New York World's Fair. It quickly became the most popular drink on the planet and is still the most recognized cocktail in every country!

It is believed that the original recipe used for the first Sangrias was red wine, simple syrup and fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Red "Tinto" Rioja (ree-oh-ha) - Tempranillo, Garnacha Tinta, Graciano, and Mazuelo were the most likely varietals, given the timeframe and grapes available in the regions mentioned. Over the years the recipe has developed in so many variations with different kinds of wine including white wine, fresh fruits, brandy, and soda water which compliments many spicy dishes.

Here is my favorite recipe:

Mix 12 cloves and 2 cinnamon sticks into one cup of sugar and one cup of hot water. Set it aside for 30 minutes. In a large container, mix one bottle of Bordeaux wine such as claret or meritage, one bottle of tempranillo, one bottle of Lambrusco (a slightly sparkling Italian wine), half of a bottle of brandy (any will work), and 2 cans of Sprite. Slowly fine strain the clove and cinnamon sugar water into the container and stir with a wooden spoon. Add sliced oranges, limes and lemons into the mix and stir once. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Serve in a large pitcher over ice. Now it's time to celebrate!

Remember, all great wine is best enjoyed with great company! Happy Sipping!

Craig Brazeal
The Rock & Roll Wine Commando

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Top 10 Varietals for April, 2019

Pinot Noir is the most popular wine varietal chosen by our visitors this month.

This varies by season so if you're looking for something tasty to drink this spring, Pinot Noir is a great choice. The others are shown below:

1. Pinot Noir
2. Red Bordeaux Blend
3. Syrah
4. Nebbiolo
5. Cabernet Sauvignon
6. Merlot
7. Chardonnay
8. Red Blend
9. Sangiovese
10. Riesling

Top 10 Producers for April, 2019

Wines from Sapphire Hill were selected by our visitors the most this month, making them the most popular choice for consumers.

If you're looking for a wine suggestion, Sapphire Hill might be a great place to start. The others are shown below.

1. Sapphire Hill
2. Phelan Vineyard
3. Stephen Test
4. Ferdinand Pieroth
5. Adelsheim
6. Silver Oak
7. Louis Jadot
8. Viansa
9. Andrew Will
10. Bruno Giacosa