Summer sipper

What We Love’s sangria is a good warm weather partner

Courtesy of What We Love The Winery

With warmer weather and longer days well on their way, we start to crave beverage options that are lighter, fruitier and more refreshing. That’s right where Decadent Saint Sangria from What We Love The Winery comes in.

Michael Hasler, oenologist and owner of the Boulder-based winery, has spent the last few years experimenting with flavors to create a refreshing, portable sangria. Hasler used his obvious passion for wine making and decades of experience to create their Red Sangria, the summer companion to the Decadent Saint Mulled Wine, which was the inspiration for the entire business.

Hasler quickly ditched the idea of any artificial or natural flavorings and opted for a drink packed with real ingredients. It’s a red wine base with real fruit, vanilla, almond, spices, orange and black currant juice. Hasler says the result isn’t only a drink that tastes fresh, but a drink that has antioxidants, vitamins and is naturally gluten-free.

At first pour, the wine has a rich red hue and a balanced taste that isn’t overly sweet or acidic as some sangrias are. You can enjoy it straight on the rocks at 20.5 percent alcohol, which actually serves as a digestif with its acidity stimulating digestion. Store the bottle frozen to have it ice cold.

But it’s also made to give you the option to customize it to your liking — add an equal amount of seltzer, or for even more dilution, a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio to tone down the intensity and the alcohol while enjoying a sparkling sangria. Made to be diluted, the sangria offers the opportunity to have fun and play with the dilution to find what you like and experience how the flavors and color change along the way.

Each bottle is adorned with a bookmark that offers suggestions for serving and shows how eclectic it can be. Jazz up brunch with an intense sangria mimosa by adding dry prosecco. Pour it over oranges, berries, pineapple, limes, grapes or other fruit, and let it soak to enjoy an infused fruit as well. Because of the brightness and sweetness of the drink, Hasler recommends drinking it with a variety of foods including specifically a chipotle brie or sweet chutney along with any contrasting spicy cuisines, such as Mexican or Chinese dishes.

This is the first summer you can enjoy the sangria, but it’s already become a favorite at the company’s North Boulder taproom.

“That’s the buzz. People are blown away,” Hasler says of the sangria.

The sangria is available at their tap room and at stores for about $20. With a long shelf life of four to five months and being able to dilute it as much as you like, it makes an economical option as well.

Keep an eye out for their white sangria, which is anticipated to debut in mid-July. The chardonnay base will be a passion fruit forward sangria with a touch of ginger. Visit their winery for tastings Thursday through Sunday 1-6 p.m. or by appointment.