Showing posts with label Sangria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sangria. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Highs And Lows Of Fun Wine

Most wine lovers feel that wine is a fun hobby, and the fun increases the further one goes on the journey.  Does wine need flavoring beyond that which the grapes accomplish?  No, it does not, unless one is seeking a wine-like beverage that does not necessarily have to be wine.  That is usually where the fun ends.

In my younger days in the radio industry, I worked for an owner who wanted to call the radio station "Class FM."  He said he wanted people to know that the station was classy.  I lobbied against the move, explaining to him that the very second you call yourself classy, the class evaporates.  The same principle is at work with the company which calls itself Fun Wine.

Fun Wine has a line of three flavored wines: Sangria, Strawberry Rose Moscato and Coconut Chardonnay.  They are all billed as low-calorie, low-alcohol and budget-friendly beverages that will help get us through the COVID-19 quarantine with some relaxation.  The wines were launched six years ago as Friends Fun Wine, presumably as an alternative to beer.

Inspired, says the website, "by the hip vibes and sultry breeze of Miami," Fun Wine claims their juice is award-winning, and they even come packaged in a fun, also award-winning, way.  The striking label art was created by New York City artist and designer Miguel Paredes, who also appears to be the public face of the company.

As for the origin of the wine - something given at least a passing interest by wine lovers - the labels say only that the juice was "produced in the European Union," and imported by Friends Beverage Group of Miami.  We all know that there isn’t much wine being made in south Florida, but fun is king even if it is imported from Europe.  Forbes cites Germany as the source of the wine.  All three wines contain a modest 5.5% alcohol by volume and sell for less than $10.

The Sangria's Pretty Good

I usually have sangria heavily iced, and I sampled the Fun Wines version at room temperature.  It was just as fruity as it should be, if not quite as fresh.  It actually reminded me a bit of a Lambrusco, slightly fizzy and earthy with a grapey overlay.  Not complex, but who’s complaining?

The Strawberry Moscato's Not Bad

The Fun Wines Strawberry Rosé Moscato does contain wine made from grapes, but there is a lot of other stuff at work, too.  Grape juice, flavorings, water and sugar are all listed in the ingredients for all three of their varieties.  It's more like a spritzer than a wine.  It's nothing like a beer.  It has a nose resembling that of a wine made from hybrid grapes, earthy, herbal and grapey.  That good start continues on the palate, soft and earthy, fizzy, dry and uncomplicated.  It's perfect for poolside.

The Coconut Chardonnay

This is where Fun Wines stops being fun.  The Fun Wines Coconut Chardonnay smells overpoweringly like piña colada mix and Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil.  It rather tastes like a piña colada, too, only somewhat watered down, like it has been sitting in the poolside sun a bit too long.  There's a fizzy nature to the sip, which no doubt adds to the fun.  I can see this wine being fun for someone who is not too demanding about what they drink.  It's not a beverage for someone who wants a wine.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Sangria: Wine Concentrates From Colorado

Decadent Saint describes themselves as "Colorado’s Craft Winery," and they claim to be pioneering the American craft wine market with a revolution in a bottle. Small batch produced, their 20.5% abv wine concentrates can be diluted to make up to five bottles of a wine and fruit juice mix. Retail is about $20 each, so you’re making sangria for $4 a bottle. The concentrates are made with wine, real fruit and fresh spices, and contain no flavorings. They say they stay fresh for six months after opening without refrigeration.

Enologist and owner Michael Hasler says, "nothing on the shelves compares with them for taste, value or utility."

Decadent Saint was formerly What We Love, The Winery.  The concentrates come in three flavors: White Sangria, Fire or Ice Sangria and Mountain Rescue. based on a homemade recipe that Hasler created while he owned a ski lodge in New Zealand.

Decadent Saint White Sangria

This one features "White Wine, Real Fruit, Fresh Spice," as the label says. ."Tastes like freshly blended tropical fruits!" That’s truth in advertising, right there. They promise aromatics of mango, passion fruit, peach, guava, grapefruit and spice, and it's all true. Just add water, although I liked it better with seltzer. Prosecco makes a nice mix, too. The bottle of concentrate makes three to five bottles of white sangria.

It’s really viscous right from the bottle, more so than orange juice, but about the same color. The aroma, undiluted, is like a concentrated orange/tangerine/pineapple juice blend. It tastes like OJ, as well. I did a one-to-one mix with seltzer water and found it was still fairly thick and very much like a mimosa, with a little alcohol at the back end. So, they really do mean it when they say to dilute three to five times.

Decadent Saint Fire Or Ice Sangria

As the name suggests, you can drink it hot or cold, like a sangria or a mulled wine, depending on which holiday you’re celebrating.

Decadent Saint Rocky Mountain Rescue

This concentrate includes red wine, dark chocolate, decaf coffee, berries and spice. Again, there’s no stipulation on temperature. Drink it hot or cold, they say. The Rocky Mountain Rescue leads off with a dark chocolate raspberry note, smoothly transitioning to a rich mocha before giving way to the full spice cacophony.

While sangria is nearly always a limited color in my wine palette, I can say these concentrates make some decidedly good ones.  I found that I liked them best with one-to-one or two-to-one dilution, but at that point they are still very viscous and concentrated. Follow the recipe and you'll have enough refreshing sangrias to get through a good part of the summer.

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Friday, July 30, 2010


White Sangria

I have mentioned before that Los Angeles Argentine restaurant South Point  has a tendency to store their red wines in the attic rather than the cellar - at least that’s the impression I get from the rather warm serving temperature .  Their whites, happily, do not suffer the same fate.  Just to be safe, on my most recent visit there, I took advantage of the hot summer weather and ordered a white sangria .
Our waitress explained that she would be back after she made it.  It didn’t take long before she brought a beverage that looked like a pink lemonade to the table.  The tint comes thanks to a dash of grenadine.
The white sangria features the Trapiche  Torrontes and lemonade, along with small chunks of orange, lemon and strawberry.  She also added a little sugar, which I felt was unnecessary and I will ask her to skip next time.
It’s a refreshing drink with tartness from the lemon, brightness from orange and sweetness from the strawberry.  I left the sugar at the bottom of the glass.  Oh, and there’s plenty of ice, so it’s nice and cold, no matter where the wine is stored.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Sangria wine

With summer here and patio parties no doubt on your agenda, I've been writing a lot about some nice white wines and rosés that are so good for warm-weather outdoor get-togethers.  These are fantastic summer drinks, and for my money, whites and rosés can get me through any summer, with a few hoppy beers along the way.  There are a couple of other items on the summer beverage menu into which we should take a look.  One of those is sangria, a wine punch that originated in Spain.

Sangria is usually made with a bottle of red wine, thin-sliced fresh fruit and sparkling water, soda or ginger ale.  For every bottle of wine used, use about half that amount of the other liquid.  I've noticed a lot of restaurants that serve sangria are also serving a version made with white wine.

It's made by the pitcher, and most people use either wine that is already open or what we'll generously refer to as "bargain wine" to make their sangria.  As for the fruit, oranges, apples, pears, peaches and grapes are always good, but one of the beauties of sangria is that you can use whatever fruit you like or happen to have around the house.  A tropical sangria, with pineapple, passion fruit or mangoes is a nice twist. Strawberries are good, too.

You can't go wrong with a nice Spanish wine - I'm thinking Tempranillo for red Sangria or Albarino for white - but feel free to try a wine that's a favorite of yours, or one with a flavor profile that will bring out the taste of whatever fruit you are using.

Here's the basic sangria recipe:

1. Cut the fruit into thin slices to maximize the surface area.  Two cups of fruit per bottle of wine should do it.

2. Pour the wine into a pitcher and put the fruit into it.  If you are serving it right away, cut the fruit into wedges and squeeze the juice into the pitcher, tossing in the squeezed rinds as you do.

3. A lot of recipes call for a half cup of sugar, but if you are watching your sugar intake, you can leave it out.  The fruit itself contains enough sugar for me.  If you do use sugar, use simple sugar, not granulated.  The simple sugar will dissolve, granulated won't.

4. Try to make your sangria ahead of time so the fruit and the wine can marinate together.  Keep it in the fridge for a day, if possible.

5. When you are ready to serve it, then add the sparkling water, soda or ginger ale and serve over lots of ice.
There you have it - instant party.  That was easy.

Sangria always seems to be a real crowd-pleaser, and it's a taste treat which should be enjoyed often throughout the summer.  You have the basic steps, now start experimenting with your own personal twists.  Leave a comment here and tell us how you do sangria.