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Sangria is one of the most fun, festive, and delicious drinks to sip year-round. Laden with fresh fruit (and generally spiked with an extra kick of booze), this wine-based cocktail is perfect for serving at gatherings of all sorts, from holiday parties to summer picnics to birthday bashes and beyond. So which wines make for the best base?
National beverage development manager for E. & J. Gallo Winery, Chris Chamberlain recommends first considering the time of year and which produce is currently in season, so as to make the freshest Sangria possible. For traditional red Sangria, Chamberlain suggests using a bold wine low in tannins and marked by subtle sweetness.
However, Sangria can be made in all different styles and formats, from red to white to rosé, still and sparkling, and more. At Liquor.com, we hold our Sangria wines to the same standards as any other bottles, that is: the wine should be responsibly made, offer great value, and taste good. However, no need to break the bank here—we’ve got a variety of delicious options that promise to hit all of the marks without sacrificing quality. Here are the best bottles of wines to get for Sangria right now.
Best Overall: Marqués de Cáceres Rioja Crianza
- Region: Rioja, Spain
- ABV: 13%
- Tasting Notes: cherries, plums, vanilla, sweet spice
This organic, fruit-driven Rioja from Marqués de Cáceres is our top go-to pick for Sangria at home, as its juicy, full-bodied flavor profile is perfect for mixing with fruit and added booze. Expect jammy flavors of cherries, plums, raspberries, vanilla, and sweet spice. Serve with traditional Spanish-inspired tapas.
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Best Budget: Domaine Bousquet Malbec
- Region: Mendoza, Argentina
- ABV: 14%
- Tasting Notes: dark berries, violets, cassis, wood spice
We meant it when we said no need to break the bank! This sub-$10 Malbec from Domaine Bousquet is absolutely perfect for mixing with your favorite Sangria ingredients. Produced from organic fruit, this varietal Malbec oozes with flavors of dark berries, violets, cassis, and wood spice.
“For Sangria at home, choose a wine that is dry but fruity at the same time. High acidity and low tannins is what you’re looking for,” says Wael Deek, experience and beverage manager at New York’s Osteria 57 and Alice Restaurant.
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Best White: M. Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes du Rhône Blanc
- Region: Côtes du Rhône, France
- ABV: 14.5%
- Tasting Notes: apricots, melon, honey, fresh herbs
When choosing a wine for White Sangria, we tend to look for something rich, unctuous, and fruit-driven—insert wines from France’s Rhône Valley. This responsibly-made pick from Chapoutier is produced entirely from grenache blanc and is loaded with flavors of juicy apricots, melon, honey, and fresh-cut herbs. Mix up with green apple slices and fresh strawberries for a delicious riff on classic Sangria.
Best Rosé: Emiliana Natura Rosé
- Region: Rapel Valley, Chile
- ABV: 12.5%
- Tasting Notes: strawberries, peach, grapefruit
Looking to make a crowd-pleasing pour for a varied room of palates? Rosé Sangria always promises a good time. This organically-farmed rosé is produced from a blend of Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Punchy notes of strawberries, peach, and grapefruit promise to stand up to whatever ingredients you decide to mix in. Serve chilled with seafood-based hors d’oeuvres or creamy brie cheese.
Best Red: Santa Julia Orgánica Malbec
- Region: Mendoza, Argentina
- ABV: 14%
- Tasting Notes: cherries, red flower petals, milk chocolate, figs
This organic, easy-to-find Malbec is produced in the heart of Mendoza, Argentina. Refreshing, fruit-driven flavors of cherries, red flower petals, milk chocolate, and sappy figs pair perfectly with a splash of brandy and freshly cut fruit. Sip with meat skewers or Argentine-inspired empanadas.
Good to Know:
The simple trick to great Sangria? “Use lots of fruit!” exclaims Deek. “I use a combination of sliced apples, oranges, and strawberries in a large wine pitcher with the wine, then mix with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes to get the most flavor,” Deek recommends adding fresh lemon, orange juice, and Cointreau (optional), stirring for 30 more seconds, then adding more red wine. “Stir it all together and taste to adjust flavor as needed—this recipe is super easy. Serve over ice and enjoy right away!” However, to achieve the best flavor, Deek recommends letting the Sangria sit overnight (or for 4-5 hours during the day) to let the mixture optimally blend together.
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Best Sparkling: Cleto Chiarli Vecchia Modena Lambrusco
- Region: Emilia-Romagna, Italy
- ABV: 11%
- Tasting Notes: cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, cloves, earth
For a Sangria recipe with a bit of a refreshing fizz, snag a bottle of this tasty lambrusco from Cleto Chiarli, Emilia-Romagna’s oldest winery. Notes of cranberries, raspberries, crunchy strawberries, cloves, and earth jump from the wine’s vibrant, acid-driven palate. Add a splash of booze and get ready for a bubbly good time! This stuff is seriously refreshing.
“At Osteria 57, we do a riff on Sangria (‘Italian Sangria’) by using Lambrusco,” says Deek. “Or, top off your drink with a splash of club soda for some fizz.” Deek also recommends using Cointreau for some added boozy citrus notes, though if not available (or for a less boozy option), substituting with orange juice and sugar will do just the trick.
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Best Organic: Botijo Rojo Garnacha Tinta
- Region: Aragon, Spain
- ABV: 14%
- Tasting Notes: strawberries, sour cherries, rhubarb, baking spices
For a less ‘in your face’ red, look no further than this medium-bodied, juicy bottle of Garnacha. Notes of strawberries, sour cherries, rhubarb, and baking spice lead to a tangy, pepper-driven finish. Mix with brandy, orange juice, and diced fruit for a delicious mental escape to coastal Spain.
Best Italian: Tasca d'Almerita Lamùri Nero d'Avola Regaleali
- Region: Sicily, Italy
- ABV: 13.5%
- Tasting Notes: red fruits, leather, tobacco, raspberries, sweet spice
This bold yet balanced Nero d’Avola from Tasca d’Almerita provides the perfect Italian touch to your at-home Sangria recipe. Notes of red fruits, leather, tobacco, raspberries, and sweet spice jump from the wine’s supple, medium-bodied palate.
“[When making Sangria], I typically use Nero d’Avola, which is a medium-bodied, dry red wine from Sicily, as its sweet tannins and plum flavors make it a great option for Sangria,” says Deek. Mix with blood oranges and other fresh citrus or a Sicilian-inspired twist on Sangria!
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Vicki Denig is a wine and travel journalist based between New York and Paris. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators. Her work regularly appears on Wine-Searcher, VinePair and more. Denig is also the Content Manager for Verve Wine, a bi-coastal retail operation (New York & San Francisco).