I recently dined at Mochica and was impressed with their fantastic sangria. Unfortunately, I tried replicating the recipe and couldn't come up with a good alternative. Although I have looked online for a variety of add-ins (apples, pineapple, grapes, etc.), I think my problem is with the wine itself.
Any tips on a good wine I can use to make my own sangria?
Ruth, there is no set recipe for Sangria. In fact, Kim Haasarud's 101 Sangrias & Pitcher Drinks has 43 recipes for Sangria, but the one theme running through them all is that a good sangria needs a good rest. Ideally, it should infuse overnight so that the flavors mingle.
If you don't have that kind of time, Haasarud suggests mash the fruits a bit before mixing the sangria, or to sauté the fruits over low heat in a tiny bit of simple syrup, then add the barely cooked fruit to the sangria mix.
In terms of what kind of wine to use, Haasarud says that you should not use anything too expensive because what sets these wines apart from less expensive wines is usually a set of subtleties that will be lost in sangria. Red sangria, she says, is usually made with a Spanish wine like Rioja, but that any hearty, earthy wines like Syrah, Chianti and Sangiovese will be able to hold their own against the add-ins. For white sangrias, she recommends something dry like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.
Mary wrote a good post on Rioja and Sangria that could help you find a nice bottle.
• Refreshing Red Rioja: Sangria and Carne Con Chocolate
We just had a Campo Viejo Tempranillo Rioja that was rich and fruity, but it might be even better as a sangria.
If you're aiming for a budget bottle, also check out Mary's post on good buy from the supermarket:
• How To Choose Good Cheap Wine from the Big Brands: Cabernet Sauvignon
And finally, for inspiration you should definitely check out these reimagined sangrias from New York Mag:
• Drink This! Sangria 2.0 from New York Magazine
(Image: Flickr member licensed for use under Creative Commons)