An easy Fall Sangria recipe made with Champagne grapes, Mission figs, crisp apples, and blackberries mixed with luscious Merlot.
Recipe first published on August 20, 2020 and last updated September 7, 2022.
If you’ve been lucky enough to visit Napa, or any California wine region during harvest season, you will instantly recognize the fragrance. The intense aroma of fermenting wine grapes fills the air and everywhere you go seems steeped in the rustic smell of wine-in-the-making.
This being harvest season, I wanted to create an autumn sangria reminiscent of Napa Valley, full of fall fruits and that sweet aroma of grapes being turned into wine.
What is Sangria?
If you’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying this fruity, colorful wine cocktail you are in for a real treat!
Sangria is originally from Spain and Portugal. Classic Sangria is made with Spanish Rioja red wine and fruits like sweet apple, pears, orange slices, and lemons.
It occasionally has additional spirits and spices added like brandy, cinnamon, or clove. In addition to the wine, apple cider is sometimes added to sangria in the fall and a splash of club soda is frequently mixed in for its bubbles.
White or Red Wine For Fall Sangria?
If you want to keep it authentic, you will use red wine but I think it really depends on what type of fruit you are using.
In the summer when light, juicy fruits like watermelon, strawberries, and plums are in season I think the flavor of a refreshing white wine or rosé wine is best.
For this Fall Sangria recipe I wanted to go with something more lusty and rich. I wanted a red wine that will hold its own with autumn fruits like red grapes, mission figs, and blackberries.
For this sangria I used a Merlot but Syrah or Pinot Noir would work. There’s a huge selection of California wines made using these varietals.
What Fruit Is Best?
Again, if you are a traditionalist, you will stick to the basic fruits of fresh apple and oranges, but really where’s the fun in that?
The joy of sangria is it adapts with the seasons, so while I will gladly tell you what I used, it is more of a suggestion than a hard, fast rule.
The most important thing when it comes to the fruit is that whatever you use, make sure it is the most luscious, ripe fruit you can find. Some people are tempted to add cranberries to their fall sangria but the chances that someone would bite into that fruit is high and raw cranberries are not that tasty.
I personally love this combination of figs, petit champagne grapes, apples, and blackberries because it screams California and reminds me of that intoxicating aroma of wine harvest. The champagne grapes are kind of hard to find, a good substitute would be pomegranate seeds.
Other Ingredients For Fall Sangria
Aside from the fruit and the wine there are some optional ingredients I like to add to make it extra special.
- Sparkling grapefruit juice or blood orange juice. Other options could be 2 cups of apple cider or skip the juice all together
- Apple brandy, bourbon, or Ventura Spirits makes a Prickly Pear Brandy that tastes amazing in this delicious cocktail.
- Flavored simple syrup. I didn’t do it for this recipe but you could experiment with adding an herb simple syrup. Boil equal parts sugar and water until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add 1/4 cup fresh herb leaves like rosemary or basil and let it steep until cool. Strain and add to taste to each pitcher.
How To Make Fall Sangria
Muddle the fruit. Combine all the fruit and wine in a large pitcher. Stir and break up some of the fruit with a wood spoon. Cover and chill in the fridge until cold, about an hour.
Serve. Add the juice, brandy, and simple syrup if you are using and stir. Pour into glasses over ice cubes and garnish with extra fruit.
More Fall Cocktails To Try!
- Campari Wine Spritzer (make with your next bottle of Pinot Grigio)
- Cucumber Mezcal Margaritas (so refreshing)
- Spicy Raspberry Margarita Recipe (what I always make for guests)
- Classic Michelada (awesome for game day)
- Minty Refreshing Mojitos (super easy to whip up)
- Pomegranate Tequila Sidecar (so good they’re dangerous)
- Pitcher-Perfect Sour Orange Margaritas (excellent for entertaining)
Apple Sangria With An Upgrade
It’s super easy to take your fall sangria beyond apples and cinnamon sticks. Just grab a bottle of your favorite California red and give it a whirl! When you try it, let me know how it goes by snapping a pic and tagging me on Instagram @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno so I can see or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating) ! Also, make sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!
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