Born by accident in the 1970s as the result of a stuck fermentation at Sutter Home Family Vineyards, white Zinfandel was a natural outlier in the wine world. Casually referred to as white Zin,” it comes as no surprise that those who typically didn’t care for wine were enjoying it at every opportunity, and it soon began popping up in homemade Sangria, at cocktail parties, and even on the menus of upscale restaurants.
Often looked down on by serious wine drinkers and connoisseurs, white Zinfandel sales have declined in recent years — possibly as a result of its own overwhelming marketplace success in which it brought wine to the masses. Easy to drink and with perfectly pleasant, if not complex, notes of sweet summer strawberries and ripe melons, the original white Zinfandel provided non wine-drinkers with an excellent introduction to wine. Many moved on to explore more adventurous and complicated wines, and today, white Zinfandel is mostly maligned as a generic, candy-flavored concoction with more resemblance to Kool-Aid than to anything else.
But 21st-century vintners have lately been infusing old-school white Zinfandel with new school twists and turns. Here’s what you need to know about today’s white Zinfandel and why you should try it.
At the end of the day, white Zinfandel is Rosé wine that just happens to be made from Zinfandel grapes. Rosé is produced when the skins of red grapes are left in the not-yet-fermented, freshly pressed juice just long enough to leave a tinge of color behind. Although some are single varietals, such as Pinot Noir Rosé, most are blends of several red grapes, including Zinfandel.
Possibly riding on white Zin’s fading coattails, or it’s the result of lighter consumer preferences in food that call for lighter wines — and most likely a combination of both — Rosé has become astoundingly popular in the past decade. Everyone’s drinking Rosé these days, and many of them are the same people who turn up their noses at white Zinfandel.
Related: The Zinfandels of California
Today’s white Zinfandel is likely to have more nuance than its 20th-century counterparts — it’s typically drier and has more body as vintners stray from old production formulas to get more creative end results. It’s still a good introduction for novice drinkers and a popular choice for the cocktail or fruit course of a summer meal. Some white Zinfandels make good pairing partners for grilled salmon, baked ham, and crab cakes. Let the color of the wine be your guide when pairing — pair white Zinfandel with a barely-there apricot hue with a white cheese course. Save its sunset-colored counterpart for when smoked sockeye salmon is on the table.
As for old-school white Zin? It’s still there. You’ll see it in unpretentious steak houses on the off-ramp, in a country tavern here and there, or in a supermarket cooler next to the quart bottles of domestic beer. Maybe there will be a bottle next to a bowl of ripe fruit on your grandmother’s porch when you come to visit. Uncork it, pour it, and get a taste of what life was like in the 1970s and 80s.
Oct 23 – 30, 2021
6 nights, 7 days
Milan, Barolo, Alba, and Turin
Join us for a Virtual Food & Wine Pairing with Brooklyn’s Kotti Berliner. Explore delicious döner kebabs paired with wine. Meet Kotti founder, Erkan Emre.
Join us for a Virtual Tasting with one of America’s leading importers of high-quality Portuguese wines.
Join us for a Virtual Tasting with the maker of the #1 selling Sicilian wine in the U.S.
Join us for a Virtual Tasting. The Kunde family has farmed an 1,850-acre estate in Sonoma Valley for 100 years.
Join us for a Virtual Tasting. Great wine starts in the vineyard.
Join us for a Virtual Tasting. Distinctive and hand-crafted wines produced from award-winning vineyards.
Be your own winemaker for a day — guided by a professional on Zoom video!
What’s better than great wine and artisanal pizza?
This tasting will be epic.
The New York Times described Ridge Monte Bello as “America’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignon.”
Very special tasting. Don’t miss it!
Four Generations of Family Pride at Pedroncelli Winery, since 1927
The best rosé in the world comes from Provence.
Voted “#1 in America” in 2013 and 2015 by Open Table customers.
The New York Times described Ridge’s Cabernet Sauvignon as America’s greatest.
Visit the famous wine-growing region of Lodi County, California – virtually!
Visit Sonoma County – virtually!
Hudson Valley’s yummiest wine and food tasting event
Enjoy a winter getaway without even leaving the city.
Join RG|NY winemaker Lilia Perez, for a unique tasting and blending session.
Don’t miss the ultimate holiday wine tasting event in the Hudson Valley. Sales end Thursday, Dec 12 at 11:59pm!
Experience a global tasting in 2 hours with award-winning artisan cheese and charcuterie
® I LOVE NEW YORK is a registered trademark and service mark of the New York State Department of Economic Development; used with permission.
© Crush Wine Experiences 2023. All rights reserved.
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-analytics||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Analytics".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-functional||11 months||The cookie is set by GDPR cookie consent to record the user consent for the cookies in the category "Functional".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-necessary||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookies is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Necessary".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-others||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Other.|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-performance||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Performance".|