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Sep 7, 2010 11:09 AM

What is the best red wine for sangria?

I have had some sangrias over the years, and only recently ventured into making one. I had a Mondavi cabernet on hand that someone gave us, so that's what I used. It turned out excellent, using the parts I liked from different recipes, but cabernet is always heavy for me. In fact, I usually hate it and can't drink it straight. This sangria was the first time I have been able to drink a whole glass of cab.

In looking to making more sangrias, I am interested in what are the best red wines for it. I have read that sangria is sort of the "opposite" of wine, in that the best sangrias are made with cheap wines, and sangria made with good wine actually isn't as good. So, what's the best cheap red wine for amazing sangria? thanks!

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  1. I love sangria! I use all kinds of cheap wine. Yellow Tail, 2 Buck Chuck, Barefoot. I like Shiraz or Merlot for a red Sangria ( with citrus fruits) and Pinot Gris or Sauvignon for a white Sangria (with melons).

    1. I usually reach for an inexpensive, supple and fruity Garnacha (aka Grenache). Borsao Primizia -- -- meets all those criteria and is drinkable in its own right.

      In sangria, the wine is the vehicle for the other ingredients. It follows that:
      - you don't want to use an assertive wine (heavy fruit, oak, tannins), since that would push aside the other flavours;
      - you don't want to use an expensive wine, since it's going to be adulterated, partially hidden behind the other flavours.

        1. re: 4wino

          I'm for the Haut Brion. Just be sure to call me before you add the fruit!

          Any reasonably light, inexpensive Spanish red will do (or Sp white for white). Any Rioja, any tempranillo, any grenache - but be sure your recipe call for the addition of brandy (Spanish obviously). It's what closes the deal.

          1. re: danbee1

            Use Southern Comfort instead of brandy for a sweet and smoother taste. 1/2 pint per 1.5L.

            Also, cut some apples. pears, and cut an orange and lime into quarters and squeeze. 8 oz. of ginger ale for balance.

            I use Merlot personally but any cheap red works.

            1. re: mjsciann1

              Jack: If they want to drink Merlot, we're drinking Merlot.
              Miles Raymond: No, if anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!


        2. The Columbia restaurant in Tampa uses Sangre de Toro (Blood of the Bull) , under the Torres label, for their Premium sangria (which rocks).

          My best sangria comes from slicing one of each of the citrus fruits (orange, lime, lemon, and a small grapefruit), pouring the wine and brandy over it, tossing in a few cinnamon sticks, and letting the whole mess rest in the fridge all day or over night. The flavors marry and it's delicious, cold, and refreshing (a little too refreshing on a hot day!)