Since we were discussing adapting A Discovery of Witches for the TV screen, we decided we needed a wine note that fit the adaptation. Time for Sangria!

In each podcast episode, we bring you a note about wine because wine is a main form of sustenance for vampires when they’re not drinking, you know, blood. It also happens that Deborah Harkness, Renaissance woman that she is, is an award-winning wine blogger and wine enthusiast. If you’ve never read Deborah’s wine blog, “Good Wine Under $20,” you should have a look. While she doesn’t write it now, it is a reminder that apparently there’s nothing this woman can’t do.

We have two more reasons we like to include a wine note in each episode. We really like wine; we like it a lot. We also happen to have our own personal sommelier, Bayard. This man knows his wine and he loves sharing his knowledge and making wine accessible to everyone. Bayard is a founding partner at Crafted Brands and we love learning from him.

So without further ado, it’s time for some sangria. Take it away Bayard…

Tonight we are going to be talking about adaptation, namely adapting wine for something else like Sangria. That’s right. Most of you are probably thinking, “No, I don’t drink Sangria. I did that in college. I don’t need a repeat,” but I have to tell you there’s some phenomenal Sangria out there.

Sangria started in Spain in the Rioja region with tempranillo, which we’ve talked about previously. But do not discount white Sangria or if you want to kick it up a notch, sparkling Sangria.

The biggest key with making great Sangria is to have a nice balance of wine and fruit. You want to make sure that you have good acidity, you have good fruit notes, you don’t have anything too dry or too sweet. When you’re making Sangria, now is not the time to bring out that wine that you’ve been keeping in your cellar for 10-15 years.

Go for a value priced wine when making Sangria. That said, just keep it simple. Start with a great red wine. You can go tempranillo if you want to go from Spain. If you’re going to do something from the United States or from France, I would say look at something right in line with a Merlot or maybe a Syrah. That would be fantastic. If you’re going to do a white wine, look at doing an un-oaked white wine, not necessarily Sauvignon Blanc. That might have a lot of tropical fruit flavors that might overtake the fruit flavor, so look at an un-oaked Chardonnay instead. You do not want anything too creamy or too buttery or too oaky. You can also look at a Chenin Blanc. That would be a fantastic white wine. Also, if you’re going to be doing a sparkling, I highly recommend a domestic sparkling wine from the United States or even better, Cava.

For those of you that enjoy Prosecco now is not the time to utilize Prosecco. Usually Proseccos are overly sweet and will overtake the taste of any fruit, thereby masking it and there really would be no need for even make a Sangria. Just drink the Prosecco straight.

All that said, have fun with it. When you start out making your Sangria, be sure not to make a full batch. Try something in a small glass or a cup first and make sure that the flavor profile is exactly what you want. I also highly recommend making multiple Sangrias. If you’re going to have a party that’s big enough and you can make a red and a white or a red and a sparkling, that would be a great idea and a crowd pleaser for sure. Enjoy.