Best Wine for Sangria | The Perfect Ingredient

Best Wine for Sangria | The Perfect Ingredient | Plus My Simple Sangria Recipe!

Best wine for Sangria

Stock photo credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

The Best Wine for Sangria is of Spanish Origin – Just like Sangria!

Much like the origin of this quaffable summertime favorite, the best wine for Sangria also hails from Spain – and should be an inexpensive, dry wine of good quality.

Because most Sangria Recipe’s call for the addition of fruit and sugar, the perfect wine for Sangria should not be sweet or overly fruity itself – resulting in a harmonious and well balanced Sangria. Once you’ve finished with my Low Calorie Simple Sangria Recipe below you should find yourself with the perfectly uncomplicated Sangria: a refreshing wine cocktail that’s fruity and semi-sweet with just a hint of citrus tang.

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Reserve des Cleons Muscadet | Summer Seafood Partner

Reserve des Cleons Muscadet Wine Review | Perfect Partner for Summer Seafood

Muscadet Wine

Muscadet might be tough to pronounce (try Moose-cah-Dey), but if you’re familiar with this popular Loire Valley white then you already know just how easy it is to drink, especially paired with seafood during summertime.

Many of the best Muscadet’s hail from the Sevre et Maine appellation and are aged sur lie, which means on the dead yeast cells. This process adds complexity and lends a certain creaminess to the resulting wine.

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Bodegas Valdemar | A Legacy of Innovation in La Rioja

Bodegas Valdemar | A Legacy of Innovation in La Rioja

Bodegas Valdemar

My incredibly loyal readers know just how fond I am of Spanish wines. They often seriously over-deliver for the price and have an endearing ability to combine the best aspects of old-world wines (balanced, food-friendly and terroir-driven) with those of new world wines (more fruit-forward).

As a Sommelier friend was recently explaining to me, if he is looking to introduce a new world wine drinker to the old-world wine scene, he always starts in Spain. And if he were introducing them to the wines of Bodegas Valdemar, he would have both modern and old-world options to choose from within the same portfolio!

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Smith Madrone Vineyards | A Spring Mountain Must…

Smith Madrone Vineyards | A Spring Mountain Must

Smith Madrone

The views of Napa Valley below from Smith Madrone Vineyards

Something From Nothing | The Beginnings of Smith Madrone Vineyards

Tucked away at the very end of Spring Mountain Road lies Smith Madrone Vineyards. Situated at the highest point in the Spring Mountain District, its steeply sloped mountain vineyards reach grades of up to 34% at elevations between 1300 and 2000 feet.

Notable and familiar neighbors include Bothe Napa Valley State Park directly to the North, Barnett Vineyards immediately to the West and Keenan Winery lies due South.

The history of the property dates all the way back to the 1880 when a man by the name of George Cook secured a land grant authorized by then President Chester A. Arthur and planted vineyards and olive trees on the estate.

But when Stu Smith discovered this special parcel of land, with its expansive views of Napa Valley and rocky, well-drained volcanic soils, the existing vineyards were in disrepair and the property was still mostly just a forest!

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Alamos Malbec Reviewed | Still A Robust Bargain?

Alamos Malbec 2014 Reviewed | Still A Robust Bargain?

Alamos Malbec

First things first… I realize that I’m not bringing you anything groundbreaking or immensely exciting here with an Alamos Malbec review. Its long been a perennial favorite now and is practically the poster child for the Malbec craze. It’s tough not to like its plush, intensely fruited profile and soft, approachable style.

But I hadn’t actually tasted this wine in years and am curious if it’s still a halfway decent bottle for the price. And did I mention how popular it is?

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Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay | Ring in Chardonnay Day!

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay | Ringing in National Chardonnay Day!

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay

Kicking off National Chardonnay Day with Wente’s Morning Fog Chardonnay

Today is May 21, 2015 which just so happens to be National Chardonnay Day and I’m celebrating with the Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay. While you might not be able to get out of work for this particular holiday, National Chardonnay Day is a great reason to kick back and enjoy a glass of Chardonnay – should you need an excuse!

Chardonnay is still by far the most popular white varietal by consumption in the Unites States, with over 65 million cases consumed each year. While I often recommend alternative varietals over always going for the obvious Chardonnay choice, I have always been a big fan of well-made, balanced Chardonnay. Plus there’s an interesting story to be told here…

Why Wente? | California’s First Family of Chardonnay

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Casado Morales Rioja Gran Reserva | Finding Value in Spain

Casado Morales Rioja Gran Reserva 2004 | Finding Value in Spain

Casado Morales

I initially tried the Casado Morales Rioja Gran Reserva 2004 after picking it up during a Wines Til Sold Out flash sale offering and was shocked at the quality considering I paid less than $23. I even brought this to a blind tasting where it competed with a few other Rioja’s from respected producers and it’s victory was unanimous – and quite tasty!

Some time had passed since I had seen this again but WTSO recently offered it and I’ve also seen that it’s available at Total Wine so I thought I’d share this character-laden, well-aged Spanish bargain from Casado Morales with you guys…

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Amizetta Winery | Come for the View | Stay for the Wine!

Amizetta Winery | Come for the View | Stay for the Wine!

Amizetta Winery

The views from Amizetta Winery

The year was 1979 when Amizetta and Spencer Clark discovered the very special parcel of land that was to become Amizetta Vineyards and later house Amizetta’s Estate Winery. With a dream of producing world-class wines in Napa Valley, they searched extensively for the perfect location with hillside exposures like those they had seen during their travels throughout Europe.

Upon arriving on my recent, unexpected and serendipitous visit to the Amizetta Winery it took no time at all to understand why the Clark’s fell in love. With commanding, panoramic views of Lake Hennessy below nestled into the green mountain landscape coupled with promising hillsides soils composed of rocky ‘sobrante loam’, Amizetta Winery came to fruition in 1985.

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Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Cabernet | Reviewed

Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville 2013 | Trader Joe’s Wine

Trader Joe's Platinum Reserve Cabernet

The Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve and Platinum Reserve Wines might vary in the type of wine as well as the AVA specific sub-appellation from which they are produced but a few things remain constant: they are often excellent values, routinely over-delivering for the price and the best ones sell out quickly. The program is not unlike Costco’s own private-label Kirkland Signature one.

The Grand Reserve Meritage ($12.99), Grand Reserve Oakville Merlot and the Platinum Reserve Yountville Cabernet ($14.99) have been personal favorites of mine. While the Grand Reserve Meritage seems to be somewhat more readily available, the latter two offerings sold out really quickly.

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Tabarrini Sagrantino di Montefalco | Value in Obscurity

Tabarrini Sagrantino di Montefalco Review | Uncorking Value in Obscurity

Sagrantino di Montefalco

Sagrantino di Montefalco

The Tabarrini Sagrantino di Montefalco is not exactly a new find. But after a confluence of factors oddly converged I decided I needed to share this relatively obscure yet deeply rewarding wine. It’s one I’ve really enjoyed several times and I have several resting to track its evolution.

A few weeks ago a friend asked me about which bottles I thought might “blow you away” that could be found around the $30 price point. I assured him that it can certainly be done, though it might take some effort to do so. Immediately the Tabarrini Sagrantino di Montefalco came to mind, but I thought it might not be worth sharing due to its scarcity.

I had thought that Sagrantino was only grown in the small town of Montefalco in Umbria, Italy (with a mere 250 acres of vines dedicated to Sagrantino, mind you). That is until I recently came across an offering from Italian-centric winery Bennessere Vineyards in Napa that just so happens to produce a bottling from their tiny half-acre parcel of estate grown Sagrantino.

Intrigued, I ordered a bottle of Benessere’s Sagrantino and decided it was time I share my adoration for wine that introduced me to this interesting varietal: Tabarrini’s Sagrantino di Montefalco.

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