A nose of aromatic Star Anise, Black Licorice with rich coffee.
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sangria…the perfect wine for summer celebrations!

Sangria. In Spain and Portugal, it’s as commonplace at meals and gatherings as water. Usually made from a base of red wine blended with a mixture of chopped fruit, plus a sweetener like honey, sugar or simple syrup and then brandy, seltzer, lemonade or orange juice to finish things off. The mixture is chilled while it steeps, anywhere from minutes to days!

An integral part of sun, fun and beach days, most Sangrias have a relatively low alcohol content by volume (usually less than 12%) so it can be enjoyed on hot days without getting that dehydrated feeling.

In Spain each household has their own take on Sangria—a secret blend that’s unique to them—specific fruits, different amounts of sweeteners, the addition, or not, of seltzer for a bit of fizz. And, there’s no reason why you can’t create your own take on the absolute perfect Sangria. The key is to start with the right wine. For white sangrias, we like Dry Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc, for red we gravitate towards Tempranillo or Grenache, but in either case you don’t need to use pricey wines for making your homemade mix.

Not into making your own? Luckily, there are some really great premixed sangrias on the market today that are every bit as good as the ones you make at home—just without the work. We love Elvi Wines Sintonia Sangria, a red-wine based mix with 100% fruit juices and not a single artificial additive or preservative. Totally ready-to-drink right from the bottle, but even better when you pour over ice and add a slice or two of your favorite summer fruits. It’s a poolside essential for any summer party—and it has a flip-top that’s easy to reseal, for mess-free storage in your fridge or on ice.

corks vs. screw caps…the great debate!

Ah, that beautiful sound. You know, the sound you hear when the cork twists and turns and makes that lovely pop right before the first whiff of the wine’s bouquet hits your nose. For us, it’s a part of the experience. One of the things that makes drinking wine, different from drinking anything else.
But wait, what’s happening lately? Why are so many wines topped with screw caps? And not just “wine by the gallon” type of wines, but some really great wines.

Screw Caps: New Kid on the Wine Block

Technically, screw caps have been around since the late 1950s, but until about ten years ago, they were used almost exclusively for bargain-level jug wines. But then, something interesting happened. Winemakers in New Zealand and Australia began using screw caps for all types of wines, including some of their premium ones, and the results were pretty impressive.

Screw caps will likely never be used for all wines; however, for white wines and reds that are meant to be enjoyed while young, screw caps make absolute perfect sense and here’s why. Screw caps keep the bottles sealed and prevent oxygen from entering the bottle. And, keeping oxygen out ensures that the wine will stay crisp and well preserved.

And, of course, there is the convenience. No awkward wine opening mishaps, no broken corks floating in your bottle. Just twist, pour, enjoy.

Corks: A Part of the Wine Tradition

But…there’s nothing that quite compares with that beautiful ritual of twisting the cork, hearing the gentle pop and sniffing the luscious bouquet of the wine inside. After all, you can’t exactly sniff a screw cap to get a sense of the wine inside the bottle, can you?

Winemakers have been using corks as bottle stoppers as long as we have had wine. Not only do they keep the wine protected, but bigger, full wines and those meant to age for a while, actually benefit from the tiny amounts of oxygen that the cork naturally introduces to the wine over time. That little bit of oxygen helps to oxidize and soften the tannins in the wine to make the wine smoother and more enjoyable to drink.

There is; however, a downside to corks. According to experts about 3 to 5 percent of all bottles with natural corks display some spoilage. It’s that nasty, moldy smell of spoiled or “corked” wines. And, it’s definitely a bummer. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen all that often and to many, the pros of the whole “uncorking” experience far outweigh the risk of an occasional corked bottle at dinner.

But, whether it’s corked on or screwed on, the one thing we can all agree on, is that nothing, and we do mean nothing, compares with sharing a bottle of wine with the people you love.
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