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Have you ever noticed the summer sun sets in shades of Sangria? Ruby reds, pastel purples, zingy oranges.
While the aesthetic draw might be the warm array of colors, when crafting your Sangria, it’s important to always use a quality wine. Select a wine you enjoy on its own. Large format bottles and boxes are perfect for a party, and large-batch Sangria will give you more time to spend with friends and family, rather than playing bartender all night.
Sangria is endlessly customizable, but each starts out the same. A simple concoction of red or white wine combined with fresh fruit creates a beautiful marriage of flavors that stand alone perfectly without any other ingredients. The simplicity of this recipe makes creating a pitcher to store for the work week a breeze.
Even when creating a Sangria in bulk, remember not every glass of Sangria has to be the same—and that is where the beauty of this cocktail lies. Little nuances, like the addition of fruit juice or liqueurs, different fruits with different ripeness levels and even a splash of a little bubbly water or soda can bring new life and a unique experience to each glass and each sip.
Maple syrup can be a fun addition if you are looking for a sweeter end to your day. Those craving acidity can slice citrus fruits as both flavor and garnish, adding stunning visuals to your beverage. Strawberries, blackberries and blueberries create a sweet, tangy element. Spices, herbs, and other sweeteners such as simple syrups or brown sugar cultivate a complexity of flavors that can please even the toughest crowd.
Below are 10 red wines ready to serve as agents of alchemy.
Garageland 2019 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley); $20, 90 points. The aromas offer notes of flower, cedar, blood orange, cranberry and cherry. The flavors are light and lithe, with cleansing acidity. It gives a lot of bang for the buck. —Sean P. Sullivan
Simply… 2018 Washington State Red (Washington); $10, 90 points. The aromas are straight down the fairway, with notes of plum and spice. The currant and plum flavors are direct and plush, with a light handshake of tannins. There’s not a whole lot to think about here—but thinking too hard would be missing the point. It’s just tasty. Best Buy. —S.S.
Volver 2019 Single Vineyard Tempranillo (La Mancha); $16, 90 points. Dark ruby to the eye, this wine has aromas of black cherry, vanilla and violet. Flavors of cassis, cherry, salted caramel and rosemary are set into a web of gentle tannins that fade into a soft, floral finish. Editors’ Choice. —Mike DeSimone
Domaine Bousquet 2019 Reserve Made With Organic Grapes Pinot Noir (Tupungato); $18, 89 points. The nose of this Pinot Noir from high-altitude vineyards in Gualtallary, Uco Valley, delivers plenty of red cherry, raspberry and strawberry aromas with subtle licorice notes. This well-balanced wine offers meaty and red fruit flavors alongside fine tannins. Good acidity makes it very enjoyable and adds freshness to the finish. —Jesica Vargas
Girasole 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon (Mendocino County); $18, 89 points. Vividly fruity and relatively light in body for a Cabernet, this attractive wine gushes black cherries, blueberries and black plums while light tannins have a good, balancing effect in the texture. —Jim Gordon
Prost 2019 Pinot Noir (Pfalz); $17, 89 points. Black-cherry and boysenberry flavors are concentrated yet zingy in this full-bodied, bright Pinot Noir. Soft in tannins and forward in fruit, it’s a juicy wine elevated by hints of crushed earth, licorice and violet petal. —Anna Lee C. Iijima
Hayes Valley 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon (Central Coast); $16, 88 points. A light shade of ruby in the glass, this bottling’s nose recalls freshly plucked berries and lavender. The palate picks up sandalwood spice and peppercorn, giving depth to the rounded red-fruit core. —Matt Kettmann
Ignacio Marín 2020 Magnifico Garnacha (Cariñena); $13, 88 points. Dark garnet in the glass, this wine has a nose of blackberry and roasted red pepper. Mellow tannins roll across the taste buds carrying flavors of cherry, raspberry, vanilla, violet and black pepper that roll on towards a floral-laced finish. Best Buy. —M.D.
RhonéA 2020 Terroir Daronton (Côtes du Rhône); $11, 88 points. Whiffs of burnt caramel and blackcherry preserve meld into black-currant jelly in this fruit-forward blend of Grenache, Carignan and Syrah. Ample in body and framed by fine, lingering tannins, the immediately accessible, juicy red offers a hint of granitic minerality for elegance. At peak now–2024. Best Buy. —A.I.
Bota Box NV Cabernet Sauvignon (California); $15/3L. 87 points. Full of dark fruit flavors and plenty ripe in character, this easy-drinking wine frames rich berry and dark plum notes with mild tannins and adds a touch of sweetness on the finish. Best Buy. —J.G.