Learn how to make sangria for the perfect summer drink. It’s easy and does the double duty of both looking amazing in a glass and tasting delicious. The concept is extremely simple: add fruit to wine and chill. There are hundreds of ways to customize your sangria but I find that simple is best. Simply add fresh blueberries, strawberries and apples to white wine with a squeeze of lemon, chill and serve with a splash of sparkling water.
The pretty combination of red strawberries, blue blueberries and white apples makes this a must-serve at your 4th of July barbecue. And the best part: it’s easy to transport if you’re not the one doing the hosting. Simply pour the wine and fruit into a large jar with a lid or use plastic 32-ounce soup containers. A bottle of wine usually contains 25 ounces so figure 5 ounces per person.
White wine sangria is best with a bright and light wine, something like chardonnay or pinot grigio. Adding a few dashes of bitters just before serving makes this wine cocktail less sweet. This sangria is best enjoyed VERY cold. So make sure you keep it in the fridge or in a cooler and have plenty of ice to serve with it. Use dainty cocktail glasses or champagne flutes to serve smaller drinks that guests can enjoy before it warms up.
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4th of July: A Red, White and Blue Sangria Recipe
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8 hours, 10 minutes
2 bottles of chilled white wine (chardonnay or pinot grigio)
1 cup blueberries
10 strawberries, thinly sliced
1 apple (Gala or Honeycrisp is best), peeled and thinly sliced
1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons juice)
4 ounces sparkling water
Angostura bitters (optional)
8 hours, 10 minutes
Pour the wine into a large bowl or jar. Add the blueberries, strawberries and apples and use the back of a wooden spoon to mash the fruit (only slightly, for about 15 seconds). Cut the lemon in half and squeeze in the juice.
Chill in fridge overnight. Serve with ice in wine glasses with a splash of sparkling water and a dash of bitters.
It’s been a banner year for organic, biodynamic, and wines made with organic grapes. Bottles are winning awards, topping lists, and taking the spotlight.
Ann Arnold, owner of OrganicWineExchange.com notes that “It’s important for consumers to realize that organic and biodynamic wines don’t get judged by a classification of their own just because they are produced differently. They are rated in magazines and judged in wine competitions alongside all wines in their respective classification. And they are performing remarkably well!”
Whether you are new to organic and biodynamic wines or a seasoned aficionado, this guide will help you curate the perfect wine for your palate and start building an enviable wine collection. To give you the best advice, we went to the wine experts to give you the insider knowledge to navigate the incredible number of choices in organic, biodynamic and wine “made with organic grapes”.
NOTE: If you want to skip to the 2018 Organic Wine List, simply, scroll down. But if you want tips from wine experts on how to choose just the right wine for your palate and budget, keep reading.
Look For “Great Value” Wines
“I would say being aware of good vintages is a key. Great producers find a way to make great wine every year but in benchmark vintages like 2005 in Bordeaux or 2013 in Napa,” says Brahm Callahan, Master Sommelier & Ribera del Duero and Rueda ambassador. “There was a lot of great wine available with a much better quality to price ratio than you might normally see in those wine regions. Also, value can be found in new emerging regions that weren’t part of the traditional market.”
“Grape varieties that we call ‘Rhone varietals’, such as Syrah, are a great bet for quality and value,” according to Erica Nonni of Nonni Strategic Marketing. “They have broad appeal without the high prices that Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir can command. In Italy, Sagrantino is a star grape that’s gaining renown (and higher prices) in the USA, while its ‘sibling’ Rosso di Montefalco is a steal.”
“The Anderson Valley, California is a hidden secret for those who love Burgundy, but are looking for wines with tremendous value,” says Darrin Low, winemaker at Domaine Anderson.
“Don’t just ask for a Cabernet or a Pinot Noir,” suggests Luigi Capasso, Senior Beverage Manager at il Vino EATALY, Los Angeles. “Tell us the occasion, who is coming, what you are serving and your budget and we can recommend a wine you will love.”
Don’t Only Choose Award-winning Wine
“Not all wineries can afford to enter their wines to be judged,” advises Ann Arnold, owner of OrganicWineExchange.com. “There are many wineries that do not get the recognition they deserve. In my opinion, the best judges are at home exploring organic and biodynamic wines and finding gems that suit their individual palate.”
Explore your Palate at Free Wine Tastings
Most cities have a plethora of boutique wine shops and larger wine stores – most of which offer free wine tasting. For example, Il Vino at EATALY Los Angeles offers free wine tastings every day in the early evening where you can chat with a knowledgeable wine representative – and even sip wine while you shop.
Invest in a Coravin
If you’re serious about starting an organic wine collection, Coravin allows you to pour wine through the cork without actually opening the bottle. Which means you can have a glass of Chardonnay one day and a glass of Nero d’Avola the next without ever wasting wine that you can’t finish. Many restaurants use Coravin for their library wines to keep them fresh and ready to pour. This also makes luxury wine more available by the glass. It’s a brilliant solution when you want excellent wine – but only a glass.
Consider Quality/Price Ratio – Instead of Just the Price
“Price (high or low) doesn’t necessarily equate to quality, says Callahan. “There are too many outside factors that affect quality to narrow it down.”
“You can get fantastic quality at $30 retail. Even at $15 retail the quality available is better than ever,” says Nonni. “In the USA this is a golden age for price/quality ratio in wine and the sheer selection to which US wine lovers have access. You generally find better quality/price ratio at many price points from Chile, which is a viticultural paradise thanks to ideal climates and conditions for organic and sustainable winemaking and thankfully hasn’t seen marketing-driven inflation but still remains a bit under the radar.”
Organic and Biodynamic Farming Enhances Your Tasting Experience
“Biodynamic and organic wines allow you to better taste the terroir where the grapes are grown that give the wine its unique characteristics,” says Giacomo Zondini, Wine Store Manager Il Vino, EATALY Los Angeles. “It allows the maximum expression of the wine.”
According to Federica Mascheroni Stianti, manager of the Prelius estate and global representative for Castello di Volpaia, organic farming is “not an option, it’s a requirement to produce better wines. Every day you delay the organic conversion is a day you’ll erode your business value rather than creating it.”
“Wine taste and how the grapes are grown is dependent on everything from rainfall to irrigation and whether or not the soil has chemicals in it,” says Callahan. “For example, biodynamic farming in D.O.’s Ribera del Duero and Rueda, involves managing a farm utilizing the principles of a living organism and pursues the balance of the land where the vines are grown to promote its health.”
“I strive to create terroir-driven wines with a sense of place, showing the uniqueness of the Anderson Valley. This region was chosen by the House of Champagne Louis Roederer in 1981 for Domaine Anderson as the ideal location for spectacular Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays,” says Darrin Low, winemaker at Domaine Anderson. “We follow biodynamic principles, treating our grapes with care, and are always guided by our philosophy of minimal intervention throughout the winemaking process. These principles are used by many famed Burgundy producers.”
2018 Organic Wine List
This list of organic, biodynamic and wines made with “organic grapes” features unique varietals from around the world, excellent value wines, and emerging wine regions along with traditional ones. You’ll also find three delicious biodynamic orange wines to try. All the wines are numbered for easy reference but do not reflect ranking as you’ll find a variety of wonderful wines from all over the world at every price point.
Author, journalist and publishing consultant, Donna Sozio has been featured in 200+ media outlets including the Tyra Banks Show, Early Show, Fox News, Good Day LA, Seventeen Magazine, Yahoo! Personals, Match.com, Lavalife.com, EcoSalon.com, OrganicAuthority.com and many more.
Her books The Man Whisperer (Adams Media) and Never Trust a Man in Alligator Loafers (Kensington) were Amazon.com bestsellers, had TV/Film options and were translated into German, Portuguese and Czech.