Want to guess what our bestselling wine is? This winemaker's heart breaks a little bit each time she tells you it is not my Garry-oak aged Orange wine, which is something folks either love or just can't get the head around. Nope, it's my "Saanich Sangria," which everyone loves. Technically, this is a red fortified aromatic wine, but it's really our take on memories of Spanish Sangria, with a local twist. We take our Foch red wine, fortify with B.C. craft spirits, and infuse with orange peel, mint, and elderflower aromatics. It's a ready-to-pour base for making your Saanich Sangria at home, and, because it's fortified, a litre will last a month or more in the fridge after opening. Think of its shelf-life as something like a port or sherry.
We get asked about recipes and often hand out our recipe cards at the tasting room and Moss St. Market, but at the moment we're all limiting the circulation of paper for obvious reasons. So here are our recommendations for Saanich Sangria, with a couple of variations.
Parsell's Saanich Sangria
The ratio is 2/3 Parsell Saanich Sangria wine and 1/3 of something sparkling, over ice.
The central question is what's your sparkling going to be. My girlfriends (and this is why they are my besties LOL) swear that it has to be prosecco, obviously. And, indeed, it is the perfect way to use left over sparkling wine at brunch the next day or to use up that bottle of cheap sparkling wine someone brought to your last party (remember those, back in the mists of time in January?). There's no point in busting out the vintage champagne. You won't taste it. But an inexpensive sparkling wine is the purist choice.
At home, I'll confess, we are not purists, or at least not often. We generally prefer things lower in alcohol (and while the Sangria is fortified, the alcohol is obviously reduced by that 1/3 sparkling something and the ice). My tastes for Saanich Sangria run to a bit of sweetness, so I like the orange San Pellegrino as my sparkling. If you like it a bit sweeter, you can also use Sprite, 7-Up, or ginger ale, according to preference. Rob's tastes run to the dry, and his go-to is sparkling mineral water or club soda, and that works too if you want less sweetness.
From there, it's your choice of fruit garnish. I know this is a controversy in the bourbon world, but, what can I say, I drink my Old Fashioned cocktails muddled, and that's how I make my Saanich Sangria too: some lightly muddled fresh mint and fresh orange in the bottom of the glass, a slice and a spring on the top to make it look pretty. But you can use any fresh fruit of your choice, and you can either add it fresh (muddled or whole) or you can soak it for a few hours in a bit of vodka if you want an extra zing. We've sampled great glasses recommended to us by regulars with fresh cranberries, frozen blueberries, apples, fresh peaches, and all manner of citrus.
If you've got the perfect concoction, share it with us for sure. #parsellvineyard / @parsellvineyard