Hey, señoras and señores! On May 5, the Round Barn Winery in Baroda, Michigan, pours its latest creation of sangria for its inaugural Fiesta Party & Sangria Release.
You can try the delicious and refreshing concoction at the winery while listening to festive tunes and enjoying the fresh country ambience made all the more unique with the round barn structure.
Round Barn introduced sangria approximately five years ago. "It came at a time when the facility expanded its outdoor seating," says Nicole Moersch, Round Barn's general manager. "It seemed like a logical fit, as it's a favorite summertime drink," she adds. "Our sangria is extremely popular—it's refreshing and fruity without being overly sweet."
She and the staff figured May 5, which is Cinco de Mayo, would be a great date for an event to celebrate sangria. (Cinco de Mayo is a Spanish phrase for "fifth of May" and celebrates Mexican heritage.) A glass of sangria will sell for $7 at the event. "We make approximately 500 gallons and release it just once a year at our Baroda location only," Moersch says.
In the Round
A bit about the barn itself: In 1997, the winery owners (the Moersch family founded the winery in 1992) decided to transport and rebuild a turn-of-the century Amish round barn from rural Indiana, realizing their wish to house a first-class, European-style brandy distillery at their location. The reconstruction proved not only successful by the popular hand-crafted brandies that emerged by 2001, but the beautiful barn quickly became the vineyard's landmark.
Reflecting the growth of the winery and the popularity of their new building, the family changed the facility's name in 2004 from "Heart of the Vineyard" to "the Round Barn Winery."
Matt Moersch has been the winemaker since 2003, and is one of the owner's sons. After apprenticing with his father, Richard, Matt sharpened his winemaking and distilling skills during extensive travels.
As for the garnet-hued, pretty red sangria that the winery family likes to serve over ice, it goes quickly. "When it's gone, it's gone," Nicole Moersch says, "so come and get it!"
Whether you pick up some sangria at the Round Barn Winery in Baroda (Round Barn sells growlers—a growler is the equivalent of about 2-1/2 bottles of wine—for $35; growler refills are $30) or make your own, there are many foods to enjoy with it.
Nicole Moersch says lots of different foods go well with sangria and there's no time like spring or summer to call your friends for a casual gathering of sangria and snacks, which can range from baked Brie with cranberry chutney to grilled ham and Swiss sandwiches.
There are also some great recipes in the Pure Michigan--Eating Fresh and Local in the Great Lakes State cookbook [2011, Midwest Living, copies available at puremichiganstore.org]. One in particular that makes the most of Michigan's summer fruit is for the easy-to-make blueberry cream treats, from the DeGrandchamp Farms in South Haven.
More fresh fruit flavors abound in Michelle White's cherry chutney and Brie recipe. White, founder of Michelle's Miracle, a tart cherry concentrate that features Michigan Montmorency cherries, enjoys serving a special Brie and cherry chutney dish with her sangria. "The dish [which boasts a splash of White's concentrate] is as refreshing as the sangria itself," says White, whose special concentrate features fruit that's been fresh-picked, cold-packed and flash-pasteurized to preserve the flavor and potency.
Blueberry Cream Treats
1 (8-ounce) carton dairy sour cream
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 quart (4 cups) fresh blueberries
Brown sugar (optional)
In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and the 1/4 cup brown sugar until a smooth cream forms.
To serve, divide blueberries among six stemmed sherbet or dessert dishes. Spoon sour cream mixture over blueberries. If you like, sprinkle with additional brown sugar.
SOURCE: DeGrandchamp Farms, South Haven, as published in Pure Michigan--Eating Fresh and Local in the Great Lakes State
NOTE: Blueberries are in season late May through October. Look for a dark blue color with a soft powdery bloom. Blueberry size is an indication of quality; large and plump blueberries are deemed most desirable.
Brie with Cherry Chutney
1 wedge Brie cheese
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 tablespoon sugar
Splash of orange juice
Splash of Michelle's Miracle concentrate
1 cup dried Michigan cherries
Put all but nuts and cheese in small saucepan. Heat over low-to-medium heat, stirring often until the dried cherries get soft and chewy.
Cut cheese rind off top of wedge so that chutney will adhere to cheese well. Heat brie in microwave for a few seconds to soften it. Top with warm chutney and top that with chopped nuts. Surround with Carr's Table Water Crackers or other plain crackers or bread (you don't want the crackers to have a flavor that overpowers the flavors of the chutney).
SOURCE: Michelle White of Michelle's Miracle, Leland, Michigan
Grilled Peaches Wrapped in Shaved Serrano Ham with Mint and Yogurt Dressing
Peaches (however many you'd like)
Extra virgin olive oil
Shaved serrano ham (enough to wrap peach slices)
Cracked pink peppercorns
Pit and slice each peach into 6 pieces. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Brush peaches with extra virgin olive oil and grill.
Wrap the grilled peaches in shaved serrano ham and skewer them. Season with sea salt and cracked pink peppercorns. Serve warm with mint yogurt dressing.
For the mint yogurt dressing:
1 tablespoon chiffonade (shredded or finely cut) of fresh mint
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 cup lowfat plain yogurt
Mix and season with salt and pepper to taste.
SOURCE: Jesse Ziobron, food and beverage director, Garland Lodge and Resort, Lewiston
Grilled Ham & Swiss Sandwiches
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
8 slices white sandwich bread, crust removed
1/2 pound thinly sliced Swiss cheese
1/4 pound ham, very thinly sliced
1/3 cup drained sauerkraut
10 pepperoncini (pickled peppers), thinly sliced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
In a small skillet, toast the caraway seeds over moderate heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes; let cool. In a small bowl, mix the mustard with the honey and caraway seeds.
Spread the caraway mustard on 4 slices of bread. Top with the cheese, ham, sauerkraut and pepperoncini, then close the sandwiches.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the sandwiches, cover and cook, turning once, until golden and the cheese is melted, about 6 minutes. Cut each sandwich in half and serve hot with the remaining caraway mustard on the side.
SOURCE: Round Barn Winery, Baroda, Michigan
Baked Brie with Cranberry Chutney
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup Round Barn Cranberry wine
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/3 cup cranberries
4 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/3 cup dark raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Scant 1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
2-1/4 pound wheel of Brie
1 loaf French bread, cut in thin slices
To make chutney: In a heavy saucepan combine water, wine and sugar. Stir and bring to a boil. Add cranberries, vinegar, raisins, nuts, sugar, ginger and garlic. Boil slowly, stirring until thick, 5-10 minutes. Cool and refrigerate. It will keep in refrigerator up to 1 week or it can be frozen.
To serve: Place Brie in an ovenproof shallow dish. Spread chutney over top of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees 5-10 minutes, watching carefully so as not to melt brie, just to soften it. Serve with slices of bread.
SOURCE: Round Barn Winery, Baroda, Michigan
Visit your favorite gourmet market or find recipes online for the following sangria accompaniments:
Wild mushroom pate
Plate of cold meats
A cheese platter with varied tastes and textures, including gorgonzola, Camembert, smoked Gouda, goat, cheddar, herbed and even fruited types
Bread bites, naan, tortillas, pitas, chips and crackers