December 20th is National Sangria Day.

Sangria is a wine punch or cocktail that originated in Spain long ago, with roots in ancient Rome (here’s the history of sangria).

There are countless recipes for sangria, made with red, white or rose wine, including sparkling wine; and with different spirits, juices and fruits.

Here’s a recipe with holiday flavors from Discover California Wines, a trade association for California wine grape growers and vintners.

It’s ironic that National Sangria Day is celebrated in the dead of winter, when it’s traditionally considered a summer drink.

But more sangria fans have been enjoying it year-round. This recipe gets seasonal with the addition of apple cider, cinnamon and oranges, with an optional maple syrup sweetener.

Discover California Wines recommends two California red wines that are especially good with this recipe:

  • Grenache: Versatile and medium-bodied, Grenache (greh-NOSH) is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world. Its great range of flavors—from red raspberry, cherry and blackberry to hints of earth—makes it perfect as a stand-alone varietal or as part of classic Rhône style blends.
  • Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir’s juicy cherry flavors and floral notes complement hints of earth and leather for a wine that is at turns delicate, rich, silky, subtle. A cool-climate grape, it does exceptionally well in California’s breezy coastal regions.

    In addition to this sangria combines holiday flavors of wine, apple cider, orange slices and cinnamon sticks.

    To give it an especially holiday flavor and aroma, use whole cloves to stud the orange slices used for garnish.

  • 1 750-ml bottle medium-bodied red wine, such as Pinot Noir or Grenache
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 apples, sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • Optional: maple syrup to sweeten
  • Garnish: apple slices, orange slices and cinnamon sticks
  • Ice cubes
    For The Glass Rim

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Orange wedge

    1. COMBINE the wine, cider, juice, apple slices, orange slices and cinnamon sticks in a large pitcher and stir to combine. Taste and add 2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup to sweeten if desired.

    2. COVER and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes up to 5 hours, or overnight. When ready to serve…

    3. RIM the glasses. Place the brown sugar on a small plate or shallow bowl. Moisten the rim of each glass with an orange wedge and dip it in the brown sugar to coat (twist the glass in the sugar).

    4. FILL glasses with ice and fill with sangria. Top with fresh apple and orange slices and a cinnamon stick for garnish.

  • Cranberry Sangria Recipe
  • Holiday Sangria With Ruby Port
  • Pomegranate Sangria Recipe
  • Wine Institute’s site has a “meet the grapes” section where you can choose the varietal and learn about it, and see what foods pair with it…just FYI.

    I uploaded some grenache grape clusters to the image folder in case you wanted something them.

    Please let me know if you need anything else!



    Grenache (French) or Garnacha (Spanish) is a grape varietal not well known in the U.S..

    If you’ve had a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, you’ve had Grenache.

    Grenache is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world. It grows well in hot, dry conditions such as those found in Spain, where the grape most likely originated.

    It is also grown in the Italian isle of Sardinia, in the south of France, Australia, California’s Monterey AVA and San Joaquin Valley, and Washington.

    There’s a rumor that there are some 12,000 acres of Grenache vineyards in China [source].

    The flavor is generally spicy, berry-flavored (raspberry and strawberry) and soft on the palate. Dig hard and you may find a white pepper spiciness.

    Depending on where it is grown, you may also find anise, black cherry, cinnamon and citrus rind, with subtle aromas of orange rind and ruby-red grapefruit.

    As the wines age, they tend to take on more leather, tobacco and tar flavors.

    The wines have a relatively high alcohol content. Grenache is also made into dessert wine.

    Because wines made from Grenache tend to lack acid, tannin and color, the grapes are often blended with varieties such as Carignan, Cinsaut, Syrah and Tempranillo.

    Grenache blanc, its white wine relative (Alicante blanca and Garnacha blanca in Spain), is also characterized by high alcohol and low acidity, with citrus and/or herbaceous notes.

    It is an important variety in the Rhône Valley of France, often blended with the Roussanne grape and even in some red wines. It is a major component in the famed white wines of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Côtes du Rhône.

    But you don’t have to travel to Europe to enjoy a bottle of Grenache. Check out the wines from California and Washington for starters.

    And for a fun learning experience, put together a tasting with bottles from all of the main growing areas. Try to compare apples to apples: 100% grenache varietal, vs. grenache blends (there are more of the latter).

    Bottles of Château Rayas and Domaine du Pegau in Châteauneuf-du-Pape go for close to $ 600. In Priorat, Clos Erasmus and Alvara Palacio’s ‘Ermita Velle Vinyes‘ are two Spanish cult Grenache-based wines nearing the $ 300 mark. Finally, Sine Qua Non in Santa Barbara run upwards of $ 500.


    [1] The recipe for this Holiday Sangria is below (photo © Discover California Wines).

    Cranberry Sangria
    [2] Spiced Cranberry Sangria. Here’s the recipe (photo © McCormick).

    Christmas Sangria
    [3] Star fruit (carambola) is a festive holiday garnish (photo © Stick A Fork).

    [4] This version is made with Ruby Port. Here’s the recipe (photo © Sandeman).
    [5] Pomegranate Sangria. Pom Wonderful).



    The post RECIPE: Holiday Sangria For National Sangria Day first appeared on THE NIBBLE Blog – Adventures In The World Of Fine Food.

    THE NIBBLE Blog – Adventures In The World Of Fine Food

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