Sangria is a delicious drink heavily associated with Spanish culture, but it actually has roots dating back to Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece. Back then, water was unsafe to drink, which is why people would mix it with alcohol, sugar, and spices before consuming it. This beverage was called “hippocras,” and historians believe it to be the predecessor of both Sangria and mulled wine.
Sangria became known as a symbol of Spain when it was first introduced in the United States at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. Regardless of its origin, we cannot deny that Sangria is the perfect refreshing cocktail for hot summer days. If you are wondering what wine to choose for your party punch, then take a look at our top five picks below.
While there is no definite recipe, most Sangria connoisseurs will recommend Garnacha as the wine. This authentic Spanish wine has great acidity, which goes hand in hand with the sweet taste of the fruits. Not only that, but this red is low in tannins, which can add an unpleasant chalky taste to the cocktail bowl.
Garnacha is produced with bold red fruit flavors, like berries, plums, and cherries. This wine pairs nicely with fresh fruits like blackberries and pomegranate, but feel free to experiment by your heart’s desire.
Another excellent Spanish option is Tempranillo – a fruity, light-bodied wine with an intense dark red color. Do not let the deep hue intimidate you, as the notes of blackberries, cherries, and cola in this red pair well with a refreshing Sangria.
For a mouth-watering recipe, we recommend getting a younger Tempranillo (labeled “Joven”) and adding raspberries and strawberries in the mix for a nice balance of flavors.
Even though red wines are preferred for traditional Sangria recipes, white wines can add an interesting character to a well-developed “Sangria blanco.” Keeping up with the Spanish theme, Albarino is a great choice for a citrus-based punch. This white is medium-bodied, crisp, and bright, and it pairs well with oranges, lemons, and limes.
If you cannot find any of these Spanish wines, there is no need to worry. Sangria is extremely versatile, so you do not need an authentic wine to create a tasty recipe. When picking a red wine, you should look for a fruity variety with low tannins. As for white, anything goes except for heavy oak-flavored ones.
Keep on reading to see why our top non-Spanish choices are Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio.
#4 Pinot Noir
This dry, medium-bodied red wine is an excellent alternative to Garnacha. Pinot Noir often has similar fruity flavors of cherries and plums, and it pairs up nicely with almost any type of fresh fruit. Not to mention that it is produced in so many varieties that finding a good bottle will not be a complex task for anyone.
#5 Pinot Grigio
Pinot Grigio is a light-bodied white wine with primary flavors of lime, lemon, apple, and pear. With crisp qualities and high acidity, this white is an excellent choice for a citrusy or tropical cocktail.
Although there are no rules to making Sangria, we recommend looking for a recipe adapted to the color of your wine. Often, the same fruit does not pair well with both red and white wine, so it’s best to do some research beforehand.