White Zinfandel is something of a “bridge wine” for many wine drinkers. Known for its relatively high residual sugar and unique pink color, the wine is one of the most popular styles sold in the United States today. This is due in part to a fortuitous accident; in 1975, Sutter Home was making a batch of White Zin when the yeast died out before the sugar was used up (known as a “stuck fermentation”). They kept the batch and sampled it, and it turned out to taste even better than the intended version.
Of course, these were the years when wine was finally starting to come into its own in America, and as a result White Zin quickly became an in-demand item. To this day, many wine drinkers start with White Zinfandel in the same way that many beer drinkers start out with Coors or Miller Lite.
The flip side of this situation is that many experienced wine drinkers tend to look down their noses at pink wines like White Zinfandel once their palates have developed and they’ve explored further wines, disassociating themselves from their roots. Unfortunately with this transition, a lot of wine drinkers who have moved away from pink wines – called “blush” or “rosé” wines – still see pink wines as sweet. These wines have their particular color because the skin of the red grape is given reduced exposure during the process through any of several methods, giving the finished wine an almost white aspect even though it’s from red grapes. Rosé wines like White Zin are often lumped together and viewed as sub-par and overly sweet. Hence the saying “friends don’t let friends drink White Zinfandel.” But that’s bull! I say “friends don’t judge friends that drink White Zinfandel.”
The truth is, rosé wines make a great summer wine, and they can be just as serious as any other type. Some of the most interesting wines from around the world are rosés. So keep an open mind when you’re tasting – don’t judge a wine by its color!
Until next time!
(photo credit: shutterstock)