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Wine Uncorked

Meet The Decadent Saint

Meet The Decadent Saint

Okay, so Decadent Saint isn’t actually a person, but rather a cheeky little line of craft sangria.

If that sounds a little too hipsterish, well, it might be. The company is based in Boulder, Colorado, after all, and they love a good pun:

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But forget that, because what you really need to know is this: you need to get your hands on some.

Full disclosure: I asked for samples, but was completely skeptical that they would be that good. In reality, they were fantastic!

This was evident one warm, sunny afternoon when ten of us demolished the bottle of white sangria – which makes up to five pitchers – in slightly more than an hour.

Hold up, you’re asking. Up to five pitchers…?

One of the cool things about Decadent Saint is that the sangria is concentrated, one bottle coming to you at about 20% alcohol. All you do is mix it with water, seltzer or your favorite bubbly wine and, voila, yummy goodness in your glass. Once the sangria bottle is open, it will keep for up to six months.

The company currently has three offerings under the Decadent Saint label:

White Sangria: made with white wine, fruit and fresh spices, this wine was light, smooth and very drinkable with notes of mango, peach, guava and other tropical fruits.

Fire or Ice Sangria: this red sangria can be served warm (a la mulled wine) or chilled. It is lush and filling, with notes of clove and cinnamon as well as blue and black berry flavors.

Rocky Mountain Rescue: this beverage combines red wine, dark chocolate, coffee (decaf, the label notes), berries and spice into an all-purpose beverage that can be made into a Black or White Russian, mulled wine, old-school soda (mix with seltzer), marinade for your steak…

michael-BEST-300x298The brains behind this operation is New Zealander Michael Hasler, who, at the tender age of 14, started making wines from fruits like mulberry, apple and passionfruit, and selling them to his friend’s parents.

He picked his high school classes with an eye to getting his wine science degree, which he did in three years from Charles Sturt University, Australia’s equivalent of University of California at Davis, this country’s premier wine education school.

After six years in the wine business, Hasler pivoted, building and operating a luxury ski lodge in New Zealand. He did this for ten years, before life circumstances brought him to America. He fell in love with Boulder and opened What We Love The Winery, a move that made him one of the city’s wine pioneers.

The company produces varietal wines, but Hasler had an ace up his sleeve.

He regularly made mulled wine for the guests at his New Zealand lodge and, with the winery up and running, it seemed like a good time to get it to market. He tweaked the recipe and in 2014, the first Decadent Saint – the Rocky Mountain Rescue – was bottled.

But Hasler’s timing wasn’t perfect: It was just before the Christmas holidays, when no retailer wants to try and market a new product. Getting any on the shelves was near impossible.

Undeterred, he designed the Fire & Ice Sangria, launched in 2015, with the White Sangria released in 2016. Another red sangria is slated for bottling soon, with an anticipated July launch.

Hasler won’t reveal the secret formula, but says he sources the base wine – mostly chardonnay and syrah – from vintners in California and Colorado. Real fruit and spices are used to infuse the wines with flavor and the wine is unfiltered, adding to the juice’s robust flavors.

Production time is quick – he can make a batch in about a week – and production is currently at 10,000 cases annually. The company is also expanding and moving its production facility. (Clearly, missing their first holiday season had minimal impact!)

The bottles retail for about $20 a pop and can be found through their web site, retail locations throughout Colorado, and via partnerships with Davidson Liquors and Westminster Total Beverage, though there are several states where they are not yet able to sell their product.

However, that shouldn’t deter you from finding a way to order some. It’ll be worth the effort.

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