Monday, July 4, 2011

Almez Garnacha `09 as Sangria (not TJ's) $7.99 ***

Just a few months ago, in the snowy depths of  February we tried this cheap & cheerful Almez Garnacha  (original review); it made me dream of Sangria. It is good wine.  In anticipation of Summer, S. & JPH laid in a few bottles (ok, half a case, sadly, now down to one lonely bottle). Now, we are in the early days of summer, winter is long gone and this Almez Garnacha is kicking off Sangria Season.

Here is my Almez Garnacha Sangria report:
I've made it three times in the past three weeks using a classic sangria recipe from the Feast of Santa Fe Cookbook.  It is very simple, using just orange, lemon, sugar and triple sec; each time I make it, it gets better and better.

First Batch:  The Great Hudson River Revival, Clearwater.  I made it at home in the morning, put it in a 2 litre plastic carafe then stowed it away in a cooler.  That night, my friends and I  drank it without diluting it (which is a good thing since I had brought sparkling wine to "dilute" it with....)  Even without the added bubbly, it was fruity, strong, and perfect for the occasion.  A friend generously said "it is just like I am back in Mexico".

Second Batch:  We made it one afternoon and started in drinking it before dinner.  We made it lighter by adding seltzer water, but I made the mistake of adding too much citrus, not letting the wine macerate long enough and using lemon flavored seltzer.  All were bad choices.  It made the wine very acidic.  Of course we went through two bottles, but it could have been much better.  On the third attempt, it was.

Third Batch:  The night before, I mixed a bottle with the fruit, covered it with saran wrap and put it in the refrigerator.  The next morning, I added the triple sec and sugar.  In the late afternoon, as we were cooking, I hauled it out, poured a half a glass over ice and filled the other half with plain seltzer water.  It was light, fruity and refreshing.  A perfect spritzer.  By the evening, it had been mellowing for a day, and transformed into a smooth and delicious Sangria.  At dinner, one guest who had been waxing on about Paella and Sangria when in Spain insisted on a glass and decided that she wanted it straight up with  no seltzer water and just a bit of ice.  Her glass was empty quite quickly.  Given enough time, the wine, fruit, sugar and triple sec had mellowed and  morphed into a lush, fruity drink that packed a punch.

Conclusion:  This Garnacha is adaptable.  By varying the fruit, sugar and maceration time, along with how you "cut" it, (I prefer plain seltzer) it can either be refreshingly light, or seductively lush and hangover inducing (so I have been told).  We'll be trying a whole bunch of wines for sangria this summer and this Almez has set the bar pretty high.

I took a lot of pictures at Clearwater, but none of the Sangria. 
Here is one of my favorite memories, 
being barefoot, sailing the Hudson River on the Mystic Whaler
listening to Uncle Tiki's rendition of  "Into the Mystic".

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