While the popularity of Spanish sangría continues to soar, companies have taken on the challenge of turning this rather casual drink into a quality product made with natural (and sometimes organic) ingredients that exudes both excellence and style.
Text: Adrienne Smith/©ICEX
The first thing that many tourists order when sitting down to an inaugural meal in Spain is a refreshing pitcher of sangría. Typically, it is made from red (but sometimes white) wine on ice mixed with fruit, sugar, something sparkling and often with added liqueurs or brandy. When mixed and served at a restaurant, this traditional drink can be as delicious as it is deceptive, representing a huge range of quality and ingredients that depends on where you enjoy it and who prepares it.
Fortunately, in today’s world it seems that no gastronomic tradition is left untouched by new trends towards healthier, more natural, more artisanal and even more eye-catching products. This includes Spanish sangría.
Over the past few years, various wineries have released bottled, “premium” sangrías that have been winning over consumers with their quality and taste, both in Spain and elsewhere. Now, with the summer heat here to stay for at least another month, there is no better time to put your feet up and enjoy a glass of one of these exquisite products. Here are a few of our recommendations for Spanish sangrías to beat the heat:
For a bit of fizz:
If you're in the market for a premium Spanish sangría, you will undoubtedly come across Lolea, a international sangría success story created by four friends who wanted to make a top-quality product that would capture the soul of Spain. This 100% natural, sparkling sangría is artisanally made in Calatayud (Aragón) without preservatives or pasteurization (to preserve the characteristics of the wine), but with an added touch of effervescence. The most classic varieties are the red sangría, Lolea N°1, which is made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo grapes, lemon and orange juice and a dash of cinnamon; the white Lolea N°2, which is made from Macabeo and Chardonnay grapes with orange and lemon juice and a touch of vanilla; and the rosé Lolea N°5, which has hibiscus and ginger. Lolea also makes a Brut, a white wine and fruit cocktail, and an organic sangría (Lolea Organic) that is made with 100% organic Garnacha grapes combined with lemon juice and a touch of cardamom. The company also has collaborated with famed Spanish chef Albert Adrià to produce N°19, La Cala, a special “sangría gastronómica.”
Not in Spain? Not to worry, as the company exports the majority of its production, and you can find Lolea sangría in markets like the United States, Australia, Holland, Germany and South Korea.
For a bit of fun:
Made by Bodegas Valdepablo (also in Aragón), Luis the Marinero premium sangría comes in red, white and rosé versions that are sold in delightfully striped bottles with seafaring themes named after the wine maker’s grandfather. The red sangría has decidedly berry and citrus aromas with cinnamon notes, the white is a “cascade of citrus and tropical aromas,” and the rosé has both marked citrus notes as well as strawberries and raspberries. The winery has followed these products with the launch of the "Biomio" line of organic red, white and rosé sangrías.
For pure elegance:
Look no further than La Prodigiosa, a discreet brand of sangría from Barcelona. Launched in 2013 as the first “gourmet sangría” on the market, this elegant product comes in a traditional wine bottle with a natural cork stopper, and is made with organic, all natural ingredients. The red variety has old vine, organic Tempranillo grapes, as well as orange and lemon juices, cane sugar and cinnamon from Sri Lanka. The white is made with old-vine white Airén grapes, combined with the aforementioned ingredients.
For a sensory explosion:
La Cabecita Loca is made from red wine aged in French oak, grape must, citrus fruits from the Mediterranean, top-quality raw Sri Lankan cinnamon and vanilla pods from Papua New Guinea. Presented in an evocative bottle and made in Aragón by Binomio Vinos, this sangría is unique as it is both unclarified and unfiltered, and contains no added sugars or acidifiers – all in an effort to preserve as many of its natural flavors and aromas as possible. Also, this unprocessed sangría has citrus pulp, which can lend it a natural and, at times, cloudy appearance. In the words of the wine makers, this unique product “will remind you of the gentle breeze of summer nights, the white sand, the murmuring of the waves, the full moon and that sun-kissed skin...” What could be better than that?
In today’s world it seems that no gastronomic tradition is left untouched by new trends towards healthier, more natural, more artisanal and even more eye-catching products. This includes Spanish sangría.