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Spain has long, hot summers. Spain also has lots of really cheap wine of all colors. I once had a Spanish friend explain to me that she refused to spend more than 1.50 euros (less than $2.00) on a bottle of red wine because her children (adult) were into the awful, but popular, habit of pouring that American plague, Coca Cola, into it. She was actually being rather nice about it. The cheapest bottle of red wine I found in Andorra was $0.60, and, yes, that was for a regular size .75 litre bottle. One could usually find a rose or white for around $0.50. I'm not saying that they were drinkable, only that they were available. We, being flashy Americans, normally spent at least $3.50, even when we were buying the cheap stuff, except when I made Sangria. I accidentally stumbled on an absolutely atrocious white wine called 'Blanc Pescador' (white fisherman). It was made by one of our favorite Spanish wineries, located in Catalonia, called Perelada. We used to buy a wonderful Chardonnay and lovely Cabernet Sauvignon from them. It was our regular stop on trips to Barcelona. On one visit we saw cases of Blanc Pescador for the whopping price of 13 euros….for a case of 12. We decided that it couldn't be all that bad since their other wines were so wonderful. We were wrong! It had a very faint fizz to it, tiny little bubbles, almost undetectable, and not nearly powerful enough to cover the taste. This taught me one of life's important lessons: to make really good Sangria one has to start with really awful wine…then anything one does is an improvement. If you used a decent wine you would feel guilty about ruining it.
Spain is know for its traditional Sangrias, made from red wine with oranges and brandy added. They are everywhere, all summer long and, in the heat of a long, lazy lunch at a sidewalk cafe, can pack an unsuspecting wallop. That, I concluded after one such lunch, is why naps were invented. With 11 bottles of white #?!$@ on hand I decided a white wine Sangria was in order. This one is light, refreshing, and not so alcoholic as the traditional, which is a good thing as it slips down rather easily. Perfect for hot summer days…and nights!
White Wine Sangria:
2 bottles (.75 litre) cheap white wine (if you can find one with a little fizz, all the better)
1 bottle (.75 litre or equivalent – it's a 2 – 1 ratio) fizzy water – Perrier, club soda,
1/2 cup Peach Liqueur – NOT Eau de Vie or brandy, but lower alcohol, intensely flavored and probably overly sweet, peach liqueur
1/4 cup sugar
In a large pitcher mix the wine, water, peach liqueur, and sugar. Stir well to combine. Slice the fruit and remove pips. Squeeze each slice into the sangria, then drop it in. Stir well to combine the sugar and rest of ingredients. Add lots of ice and serve. Graciously accept praise.