Best Wine for Sangria

Sangria is a classic cocktail that’s simple to make and always a crowd-pleaser. Sangria is traditionally made with white wine, brandy, orange liqueur, and fruit. The fruit adds sweetness and tartness, while the other three ingredients give it body and spice.

While you can use any kind of red wine for sangria (I’ve seen people try everything from merlot to pinot noir), there are some varietals that work better than others. So if you’re looking for a good bottle of wine to throw into your next batch of sangria or just want something new to drink check out this list below.

Red Blend

Red blends are a mix of several red grape varietals, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec. They’re typically fruitier than many single varietals, with flavors like blackberry and cherry that can make your sangria sweeter without adding sugar.

Red blends also tend to be lower in alcohol than many varietal wines, so you can enjoy more glasses without feeling tipsy.

Here are three red blends you should try:

Flat Top Hills Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a rich, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. It is distinctly dark fruit on the palate with cocoa and vanilla notes. It has gentle spices like nutmeg and cassis. The finish is smooth, long, and velvety.

Mayacamas Mt. Veeder Napa Valley Merlot 2019

This mountainside Napa red, from the historic estate Mayacamas, has 5% cabernet franc in the blend that seems to lift the herbal notes on the nose. Bright blueberry fruit is balanced by savory mushroom and pencil-lead flavors that are brilliantly held by the acidity and fine firm tannins that will allow this to age.

2018 Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyards Malbec (Argentina)

Critic tasting note: “The Nicasia Vineyard was planted on stony soils in the Altamira zone in 1996. The wine was 100% whole-cluster fermented and 100% in barrels. After two years of aging in oak, this malbec is able to capture the essence of Altamira, that austere side that the stony soils give as well as the aromas of red fruits and violets that are very characteristic of the heights of the Uco Valley. The texture is firm, and it has very sharp tannins that act as pillars so that the crisp and lively fruit can show itself clearly.” – 96/100Patricio Tapia – Descorchados

Rioja

This is a Spanish wine region, and its Tempranillo grapes are in many other Spanish wines. Rioja is famous for its high-quality wines with bold flavors like blackberries, cherries, and plums. The best part? Rioja’s great taste comes at an affordable price point.

While I love the variety of reds this region offers there are also some delicious whites to choose from if you prefer something different.

There are many excellent Rioja out there, so it’s not difficult to find a good one. Here are three of the best:

La Rioja Alta S.A. Vina Ardanza Reserva

Critic tasting note: (2010 vintage) “A rusty color and classic Ardanza aromas of dry spice, fallen leaves, charred beef, tobacco and herbs announce a proprietary Rioja. Typical raciness and blazing acidity drive the palate, while spicy red berry and currant flavors are backed by dry oak. Only on the finish does this soften, with a hint of raisin coming out. Drink now through 2028. Michael Schachner” – 93/100Wine Enthusiast

Bodegas Muga ‘Prado Enea’ Gran Reserva

Critic tasting note: (2011 vintage) “Earthy plum and berry aromas set up a palate with plush tannins and layers of depth. Befitting a hot year like 2011, dark berry and plum flavors are full, while this exhibits fine shape on the finish and only gets better the longer it sits. This is no doubt a delicious Rioja from one of the top wineries in Spain. Decant if drinking now. Enjoy through 2035. Michael Schachner” – 96/100Wine Enthusiast

Marques de Riscal Gran Reserva

Expert tasting note: (1964 vintage) “Medium depth of brick-red color. The aromas contain spicy notes over concentrated red fruit, with underlying notes of forest floor. The palate is very fresh with lovely, juicy, if developed red-cherry & mulberry fruit. There are attractive overlying notes of sweet cinnamon spice. There is a superb depth of fruit supported by a little grainy tannin. Acidity is lively & the alcohol adds some weight & warmth to the finish.” – 09/22 DCAMW

Garnacha

Garnacha is a Spanish wine grape that produces a fruity, spicy red wine. It’s commonly used in Rioja wines, but it can also be found in blends from other regions like Priorat and Navarra. The best part? Garnacha usually has low alcohol content, so you can enjoy more than one glass without feeling tipsy.

In my opinion, Garnacha is the best red wine for Sangria.

Here is my recommendation for the best Garnacha wine for Sangria:

Artadi Artazu ‘Santa Cruz de Artazu’ Garnacha

Critic tasting note: (2012 vintage) “Pushy oak on the nose results in grainy aromas and cheesy notes. This warm-vintage Garnacha from Navarra feels tight and pulling, with choppy tannins. Oaky flavors of blackberry are raw and bumpy across a hot and scratchy finish. Michael Schachner” – 88/100Wine Enthusiast

Bodegas Alto Moncayo Garnacha

Critic tasting note: (2016 vintage) “Size and power are one thing, while taking things too far is another. This 16% Garnacha offers some of each. A hot nose with overt oak, blackberry, chocolate and vanilla aromas sets up a rubbing, edgy palate that’s biting. Ripe black fruit flavors are coated in chocolaty oak, while this tastes of black fruits, vanilla, coffee and mocha on a pounding finish that’s hard to handle. Michael Schachner” – 88/100Wine Enthusiast

Celler Capcanes Cabrida Garnatxa Vinyes Velles

Critic tasting note: (2020 vintage) “Medium deep ruby red color. Pure expression, mild oak, pure fruit with red berries, plum, garrigue, and tobacco. Voluminous palate with grainy extract and tannin, sweet red fruit, pepper and anis flavors with a balanced freshness, mild oak notes, and a long warm finish, already a good drinkability but potent for long aging.” – 93/100Andreas Larsson – Tasted

Mourvedre

Mourvedre is a red wine grape that has a bold and spicy flavor. It is often blended with Grenache to make Cinsault, which is an excellent choice for sangria. Mourvedre is used in the Rhone region of France in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, where it’s also known as Monastrell.

I have chosen these three excellent examples of Mourvedre that you can use for Sangria:

Drew Family Cellars The Field Blend GSM

Critic tasting note: (2019 vintage) “This concentrated, dry and spicy wine packs in plenty of blackberry, black-pepper and sage flavors on a moderately tannic texture and medium to full body. Made with 100% whole-cluster fermentation, it’s superconcentrated and interesting to sip. Jim Gordon” – 92/100Wine Enthusiast

Penfolds Bin 138 GSM Grenache – Shiraz – Mourvedre

Critic tasting note: (2011 vintage) “This is a full-bodied, impressively textured example of a traditional Rhône-style blend. It’s fruit-forward on the nose and palate, driven by notes of black cherries, plums and apricots, but folds in enough black olive and mocha shadings to give it a balancing savory edge. Drink 2015–2023.” – 91/100Wine Enthusiast

John Duval Wines Plexus Shiraz – Grenache – Mourvedre

Critic tasting note: (2018 vintage) “A mélange of comforting aromas float from the glass: chocolate, plum, cherry, baking spice, cedar and graphite. The palate is full in feel, yet chiseled, with silky fruit and a cedary spice that flows to the finish. Christina Pickard” – 93/100Wine Enthusiast

Grenache

As a general rule, red wines are best for sangria. Of the reds available, Grenache is one of the most versatile and tasty varieties. As a light-bodied wine with high alcohol content (14%), it’s easy to drink straight out of the bottle but also works well with fruit flavors and spices when added to sangria.

If you’re looking for something fruity, then try Garnacha instead. It’s another Spanish grape that makes great cheap red wines.

Try one of these great examples for your Sangria:

2016 Domaine de la Janasse Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Chaupin

Critic tasting note: “Freshness and hints of violet, smoke and earth elevate this full-bodied, plump yet pristine Grenache. Blackberry and cherry flavors are ripe and mouthwatering, edged by sunny acidity and a thrilling crush of minerals. The forward, juicy demeanor is irresistible already but tightly wound tannins should meld and improve It should peak through 2030. Anna Lee C. Iijima” – 97/100Wine Enthusiast

2019 Tardieu-Laurent Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Speciale

Critic tasting note: “Despite a hot, dry summer, this luminous Grenache conveys a breathless, ephemeral quality. Red-cherry and raspberry flavors are pure and piercing, accented by smoky, salty minerality and a lingering peppery finish. Enticing young, it should evolve gorgeously through 2040, likely further. Anna Lee C. Iijima” – 98/100Wine Enthusiast

Pinot Noir

Pinot noir is a great choice for sangria. It’s a light-bodied wine with fruity aromas that complement the fruit in your sangria. Pinot noirs have strong earthy flavors, which are perfect for balancing out the sweetness of your sangria.

If you’re looking to try this pinot noir, I recommend picking up one from Burgundy, France, or Oregon. If you’re in Europe and not sure where to buy it, try asking your local wine seller for their recommendation.

Here are my recommendations for the best Pinot Noir for Sangria:

2016 Domaine Lecheneaut Les Pruliers

This is towards the more expensive end of the price range but no doubt this is an exceptional wine. Les Pruliers has a strong color. The wine offers aromas of fresh red fruit, wild prunes, and licorice. As it ages, it adds depth and roundness. It has aromas of cocoa, and smoked meat.

2019 Fanny Sabre Bourgogne Rouge

More affordable is the Fanny Sabre Bourgogne Rouge. This is an organic pinot noir that’s delicate, easy to drink, and naturally delicious. It has a fresh, crunchy, summer pudding fruit flavor with crisp acidity and just lip-smacking moreishness. And because it’s low in sulfur, it’s great for summer or winter drinking.

2018 Corazza Pinot Nero

At the lower end of the price range is the Pinot Nero. This is a unique wine from Friuli, a region in northeastern Italy. It’s made from the pinot noir grape and is unlike other pinot noirs you might be used to. It’s light, bright, and easy to drink.

Best Sangria Recipe

The best recipe I could find is called Sangria! Sangria! and it is outstanding. It uses Garnacha as it’s base and trust me, that is a good thing!

You can find it on Allrecipes.com

Conclusion

We hope this guide has helped you find the perfect wine to make sangria. If you still aren’t sure which one to choose, ask your local wine store or bartender what they would recommend. You’ll be surprised by how many options there are out there.

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