Parties are always a fun time to try new wines. My husband’s surprise birthday bash was no exception. I enjoyed a full bodied Simi Cabernet Sauvignon that my girlfriend Lori brought over. Our friend Bob introduced us to Red Guitar, a yummy fruit-forward red from the Navarra region of Spain.
Several party-goers were horrified by the poor quality of a 2006 Frey Organic Pinot Noir (“I paid $16 dollars for that!” my friend Lauren gasped). The pale color was evident even in the bottle. In the glass, the sickly cast of the wine indicated a lack of ripeness when these delicate grapes were picked. Finicky Pinot Noir is now grown in many regions it shouldn’t be, thanks to the burgeoning demand after the film Sideways. This one had a sour taste that everyone hated. It might have tasted better when fresh: the wine lacked the preservative of sulfites and could have spoiled along the way.
At the end of the night, things got interesting. Our Spanish friend Antonio is known for his wonderful Sangrias and his facility in the kitchen. This night he showed his flare for improvisation. He mixed 2/3 Mike’s Hard Lemonade (like alcoholic Cool-Aid) with 1/3 Conha y Tora Cabernet, unearthed some oranges that he quickly cut into wedges, and voilá—Sangria. I was amazed at Antonio’s MacGyver-like ability to invent something out of the materials at hand. O.K., so he wasn’t dismantling a bomb with bubble gum and paper clips. But Sangria-In-A-Pinch is a little more useful, don’t you think?