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According to Decadent Saint co-owner Michael Hasler, his products are “a little revolution in a bottle.” An accomplished oenologist with a degree in wine science from Australia’s prestigious Charles Sturt University, Hasler has worked vintages in Australia, France, California, and New Zealand—which is where he produced numerous award-winning wines, including NZ’s first gold-medal syrah. While on a break from winemaking, Hasler also built and operated a luxury ski lodge in New Zealand’s Southern Alps, before settling in Boulder and starting Decadent Saint with his wife and co-owner Carolee Corey.
After I arrived at Decadent Saint’s comfortable North Boulder tasting room, Hasler sat at a rustic wooden table surrounded by bottles, glasses, cans, and mixers, enthusiastically explaining to me why he’d switched from acclaimed chardonnay to sangria—and why I would absolutely love it. “It’s the best-tasting sangria on the market,” Hasler drawled in his Aussie accent. His products are high-proof concentrates averaging about 20 percent alcohol. As such, he explained, they need to be mixed, and they go with darn near anything.
Hasler began by mixing some of Decadent Saint’s White Sangria—which he makes from Florida-grown passionfruit, citrus, white wine, and fresh ginger—with four times as much cold water. With my first sip, I was impressed with the lush, fruity flavor, especially for a concentrate that, according to Hasler, will stay fresh for six months without refrigeration. “It’s made from real fruit and isn’t filtered,” he eagerly explains, “so it really keeps its flavor.”
In the second glass, Hasler added seltzer to the White Sangria, and the result was a refreshing beverage ideal for sipping on a hot summer afternoon. The next combo, tonic and White Sangria, creates what he calls a “Decadent Tonic.” And Hasler was just getting started; he began mixing up a slew of tempting concoctions with his other concentrates, including Red Sangria—made from flash-frozen raspberries grown in the Pacific Northwest—as well as my favorite, the Spiced Sangria, a hearty mix of red wine, plenty of cinnamon, and plump blackcurrants. I was impressed by its versatility; Hasler added boiling water to make a soothing mulled wine; champagne to create a bubbly Bellini; and ginger beer for a Moscow Mule. Best of all is the price: Each $20 bottle is enough to create a dozen glasses (or one gallon) of sangria.
The ultimate taste test, however, came when Hasler pulled out a bottle of the market-leading brand of sangria so I could compare it in a side-by-side taste test with his products. With the very first sip, the competition fell flat; compared to Decadent Saint’s flavorful blends, it tasted like uninspiring freshman-year alcohol. I was now convinced that Hasler was right about Decadent Saint being the best, and that was before he pulled out the Spiced Mocha, an indulgent, dark chocolate-forward concentrate that made me feel like purring every which way I tried it, but especially mixed with cream and water to create a White Russian.
But don’t take Hasler’s word for it. Stop by the tasting room and try a flight for $10, ask for it in a restaurant or bar, or pick up some concentrate at one of the hundreds of vendors that sell Decadent Saint products. You’re likely to agree—he’s made a revolution in a bottle.
If you go: Decadent Saint’s tasting room is located at 1501 Lee Hill Drive, Unit 14, Boulder; 303-775-4200