Daily Archives: May 12, 2012

First homemade sangria and a pleasant Michigan surprise

Last night, we threw one of our parties at our place: We provide the venue and some initial drinks, you bring the booze…they’re always tons of fun.

To celebrate the beginning of summer (it is dark, and grey, and weird outside as I write this, but it was gorgeous yesterday), we decided to make sangria. Now, I have never made sangria in my life, but whatever, it cannot be too hard, I thought. So I scoured the web, and found tons of recipes, like this one or that one, usually boasting that they are the best recipe ever. A surprising number were for white sangria. I had never even heard of that before. I was also disturbed by the frequent ingredient of club soda or ginger ale…just did not sound right to me. Eventually, I just decided to give it my own try, pure and simple:

– 5 liters of Franzia boxed shiraz (hey, it is the world’s most popular wine after all…according to their website) – I picked a shiraz because it tends to be more spicy than the other varieties they have and I thought spice notes like cinnamon and cardamom etc. would go well with the fruit that was going in.

– 2 oranges, 1 lemon, 1 apple (all organic, because they will soak with their skins in the wine) cut in wheels

– 2 oranges squeezed into the wine

– 2 cups of sugar dissolved in 1 1/2 cup of warm water (to create a syrup that blends easier with the wine than the granulated sugar)

Mix it all, chill it for as long as you can (ours chilled for about 10 hours, overnight is even better) and that is that. No club soda, no ginger ale. We added some sparkling water to make it bubbly later, but I don’t think it is necessary. I thought it worked pretty nicely.

Friends of ours brought a Michigan late harvest riesling, a 2010 Chateau Grand Traverse Late Harvest Riesling. I had read about Chateau Grand Traverse as being one of the better wineries in Michigan, located on the eastern coast of Lake Michigan, in the west of the state. Those who know me can imagine my excitement. We opened it later in the evening, and I liked it. The nose was not very impressive, but I am not sure whether the problem was my sangria drinking before I smelled this one or whether it was actually rather neutral. But the taste was quite good. It reminded me of what vineyards smell like around harvest time, moist and succulent air, very grapy fruit notes, and just a nice, comforting and decent wine. Apparently it is available at one of the Kroger’s in Ann Arbor (definitely not at ours…I checked this morning). I need to go hunting…

Have you tried this wine? What do you think? Do you have sangria recipes that I should know of?

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