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Aromatized Wines: Can we protect the “style” Sangria in Spain?

Best-Premade-Cocktail-MixesThe levels of stupidity attained by my fellow man rarely fail to amaze me. Granted, I occasionally feel hopeful that logic will creep into the fold, but as you’ll quickly read, I’m still not holding my breath.

On Tuesday, January 14th, 2014, the European parliament – in the middle of saving the whole of Europe from collapse – took it upon themselves to protect the term “Sangria”. From what I can tell, they gave geographical protections to a host of aromatized wines, including: Clarea (a drink I’d never heard of) along with Vermouth, Glühwein, etc . By a vote of 609 to 72 and four abstentions, we are now safe to say that the term Sangria must be reserved for Spain.

According to El Pais, the rules state, “The limits on the use of the term sangría do not prevent it from being produced in other countries, but in such cases it has to be sold under a different denomination and the word sangría can only appear as a complement of the denomination “aromatized wine-based drink.” Such products also have to clearly indicate their country of origin.”

Look, I understand that we need to protect regions and styles that depend on consistency of style. Take Rioja. The average consumer should feel confident that when they open a bottle of Rioja, it will meet a certain criteria. Now we can argue whether the regulations are implemented correctly, or if the results are what we want; but in the case of Rioja, there is a geographic place where the grapes are grown and strict set of rules on how you can make your wine. Understandably, this stops people from creating the next Zinfandel rosé from Rioja! I’m more or less happy with this.

But sangriá is a cocktail! Next thing you know, Mayor Cuomo will bust through my door here in Porto and say, “Hey, you can’t call that drink a Manhattan! You’re not in NY! What you made is a Bourbon based aromatized cocktail associated to a neighborhood of NY!” On the flipside, a Manhattan has a somewhat agreed upon mix of ingredients, while sangria is a forever changing recipe in the making. Let’s be honest, Sangriá is more of an idea than a drink.

Unfortunately, this is going to have drastic consequences for US based chains like TGIF’s. What will college girls do if they are forced to drop the name “Ultimate Sangria” from their list of “Cocktails and Coolers”? Disaster! Begin the stockpiling!

So I would love to help out. What I think we need is a new name for sangriá, just so that we may save the aromatized wine industry before disaster fully strikes; before the goons start breaking barrels of sangriá causing floods of stickiness to stop bartenders everywhere in their tracks. Help Catavino to rename this summer favorite! Do it for the children. Do it for the college kids. Help us before we are left calling it wine with fruit and brandy, or worse: Sticky fruit drink.

This is a noble mission, I hope you will join in and help us.

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