By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards
Although all our wines are delicious on their own, a heavy, tannic Cabernet isn’t always the most appealing on one of the many 100°+ days we have here in the Livermore Valley. An easy way to enjoy a red wine on an unbearably hot summer day is to make sangria with it (sorry, Mark)! That’s not to say just any of our wines should be used to make sangria, because that would be a blatant disrespect of the hard work our winemaking team has put into our beautiful, award-winning wines. In the most respectful, deliberate manner possible, I’ve created some delightful sangria recipes that complement the most prominent notes of three of our most affordable wines–Kylie Ryan Rosé, Peyton Paige Sauvignon Blanc, and Sláinte Red Blend, all of which are priced at under $40! Due to the affordability of these wines, you won’t feel like you’ve just wasted a topnotch bottle on what’s basically a fancy, adult fruit punch, but you also definitely won’t be left feeling rough the next day from using the cheap store-bought stuff.
These sangria recipes are fun, fruity, easy-to-drink, and always refreshing! Please let us know if you enjoy one of these delicious cocktails on a scorching summer day. We look forward to hearing from you!
Watermelon Strawberry Rosé Sparkler
What I love most about our Rosé is its unexpectedly round mouthfeel, its subtle effervescence, and the implied sweetness you get from the notes of strawberry, watermelon, citrus, and vanilla in this wine. It’s like candy in a glass, without containing any residual sugar at all. I chose to use watermelon, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, and lime in this cocktail because those five fruits are some of the most noticeable notes found in the wine and I think they complement it really well. I also used some sparkling water, because bubbles are undeniably enjoyable. The flavored vodkas I’ve recommended further enhance the flavors in this cocktail, as well, though each are very different from one another. Like the Rosé, the huckleberry vodka tastes just like candy, though it contains no sugar, while the St. George California citrus-flavored vodka plays into those crisp, lemon-lime notes. The choice is left up to you, but either way, I promise you will find this drink delectable!
- 2 cups watermelon
- 2/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 cup strawberries, stems removed, chopped
- 1 cup cherries, pitted, stems removed
- 1 cup raspberries
- 12 oz. sparkling water, lemon flavored or unflavored
- 750 mL bottle 2019 McGrail Kylie Ryan Rosé
- 1 cup vodka, huckleberry (44° North) or California citrus (St. George) flavor
- 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
- In a food processor or blender, combine watermelon, lime juice, strawberries, cherries, and raspberries. Blend until smooth.
- Using a mesh strainer, strain seeds and pulp out of fruit puree (this will take a long time, but I promise it’s worth it).
- In a large pitcher, combine 2019 McGrail Kylie Ryan Rosé, flavored vodka, sugar, and strained fruit puree. Whisk well. Consume within four days of making.
- Enjoy your sangria in a wine or cocktail glass over ice and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint. Salud!
Citrus Sauvignon Blanc Summertime Sangria
Citrus, which is easily one of the most vibrant fruit flavors is also one of the most refreshing, in my opinion. Because there are so many lovely citrus notes in our Peyton Paige Sauvignon Blanc, I figured it would be the best to accompany this wine. You can also find notes of green apple in this crisp, white wine, which is another classic sangria ingredient. Departing from tradition, I added Patrón Citrónge Orange Liqueur, which I prefer to other citrus liquers, because it’s high quality and a 375 mL bottle costs about $7 at Trader Joe’s. Simply put, this white sangria is inexpensive and easy to make, thirst-quenching, and perfect for a hot day!
- 1 green apple, seeded, chopped
- 1 honeycrisp apple, seeded, chopped
- 1 navel orange, sliced into half rounds
- 2 blood oranges, sliced into half rounds
- 1 pink grapefruit, sliced into half rounds
- 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
- 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 cup orange liquer (I used Patrón Orange Liqueur)
- 750 mL bottle 2019 Peyton Paige Sauvignon Blanc
- 12 oz. sparkling water, grapefruit flavored
- Add all fruit to a large pitcher.
- Add lemon juice, lime juice, grapefruit juice, orange juice, sugar, and orange liqueur. Whisk until sugar has dissolved.
- Add 2019 Peyton Paige Sauvignon Blanc and sparkling water. Stir well.
- Allow to sit for at least 2-3 hours to maximize the permeation of the fruit flavors in the sangria. Consume within four days of making.
- Enjoy in a wine or cocktail glass over ice and add fruit from pitcher to garnish!
Summery Sláinte Sangria
Last, but not least, I’ve gone slightly classic with this Sláinte sangria, using lemons, limes, oranges, and apples. However, the addition of the ginger beer (or ale) gives this sangria a splash of spice and some bubbles. Unlike classic Spanish sangria, this sangria includes our Sláinte Red Blend, which is composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and two Portuguese varietals, not the lighter-bodied Garnacha or Sangiovese you might find in traditional sangria. The addition of organic brown sugar and brown rum give this drink almost a tropical feel, but it’s still heavy on the classic citrus notes. This sangria is great for red wine lovers who might not want to sip on a bold Cab on one of the hottest days of the year.
- 1 lemon
- 1 lime
- 1 orange
- 1 green apple
- 2 tbsp. organic turbinado cane sugar
- 750 mL bottle Sláinte Red Blend
- 1/2 cup dark Jamaican rum
- 1 cup orange juice
- 12 oz. ginger beer or ginger ale
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Slice lemon, lime, and orange in 1/4″ rounds. Remove core from apple and chop into 1/2″ cubes.
- In a pitcher, add fruit, brown sugar, Sláinte Red Blend, rum, and orange juice. Stir well.
- Add ginger beer and cinnamon stick. Allow to sit in the refrigerator between 4 and 24 hours to allow drink to absorb fruit flavors.
- Serve over ice in a wine glass with your fruit of choice as a garnish.
I hope I’ve inspired you to chill out with these yummy McGrail sangrias at home! Please let us know if you do make any of these drinks and if you have any feedback. We’d love to hear from you!
Cheers and enjoy!