It should be noted that this post is being written by a “wine geek”. True “wine geeks” are convinced beyond all doubt that white zinfandel is NOT wine but some pink, fruity aberration on a level with soft drinks and Hi-C Fruit Punch.
With that in mind, here is a scary fact; according to Sutter Home, the culprits responsible for the “white zin” craze of the 80’s:
One in ten bottles of table wine opened in the USA is white zinfandel!!
Sutter Home, alone, accounts for the sale of 4 MILLION cases of white zinfandel per year. To put this number in perspective, I recently ordered a Pinot Noir from California of which less than 100 cases were made.
In a recently published list of the wines most ordered in restaurants for 2007 Beringer White Zinfandel was 2 and Sutter Home White Zinfandel was 4th.
White Zin begins its life innocently enough from the vines of the noble red zinfandel. The juice sits on the skins just long enough to take on the light pink color and then sugar is added to give it that sweet (no longer tastes like real wine) taste. Apologists claim it has a purpose in life in that it gives novice wine-drinkers a bridge to the world of real wine. My contention would be that white zin drinkers either stay with white zin, or when they do attempt to move up to red wine, they end up purchasing something in the same price range as their white zin and end up with the “plonk” that goes under many names i.e., Turning Leaf Merlot, Hacienda Cabernet, Cavit Pinot Grigio and quickly exclaim “yuck, if this is what red wine tastes like, I’ll stick with my white zin.”
I really wish I was more tolerant of white zinfandel lovers. I don’t wanna be a wine snob, honest. I guess it’s just when you know the pleasure that sipping a great wine can bring you just wanna to share that sensation with the world. It isn’t costly, it isn’t difficult. It just takes experiencing that “wow” moment that will never come from a glass of white zinfandel.