It’s Time for Another Installment of Wine on Wednesday! This Week’s Featured Wine: White Zinfandel
In last week’s installment of Wine on Wednesday, we learned about Red Zinfandel. This week our Wine on Wednesday focuses on the other Zinfandel…White Zinfandel. As we discussed in our discussion of Red Zinfandel, White and Red Zinfandel are made from the same grape; the difference in the flavor and color of the two wines is all about the way the wine is made. White Zinfandel is created by peeling the skins off of the Zinfandel grape; this is what gives White Zinfandel its characteristic pink color as well as its flavor.
Red and White Zinfandel are born from the same Zinfandel grape, but that is virtually the only similarity between the two wines. Red Zinfandel is a bold, full bodied wine with a rich, dark red color. White Zinfandel is completely the opposite on all accounts; this wine is a sweet, fruity wine with a light pink color and a low alcohol content.
White Zinfandel is often described as having flavor similar to fruit punch; some White Zinfandel wines actually have fruit juice added to create new flavors of wine. Other flavors you might find in White Zinfandel include strawberry, raspberry, cherry, vanilla and orange. White Zinfandel is typically a wine consumed “new”, meaning it doesn’t really age before being bottled or served like other varietals. Because of this as well as the winemaking technique, White Zinfandel does not typically have the “bouquet” of flavor and complexity that other wines have. White Zinfandel is best known for being a very sweet, fruity wine.
Wine enthusiasts often refer to White Zinfandel as “the wine people drink when they don’t actually like wine”, and this may be due in part to the notion that White Zinfandel can resemble fruit punch in flavor. Many also consider White Zinfandel as a “starter wine” for those who want to begin drinking wine but aren’t ready to dive into the more tannic wines.
Food pairing for White Zinfandel has quite a variety. White Zinfandel can pair well with light meals, fish, chicken, and fruit or citrus dishes. It can also be a good balance for spicier foods, like Thai cuisine. White Zinfandel can be a great, refreshing summer time wine as well.
We’ve learned a little more about the White Zin varietal, so just like other Wine on Wednesday installments, the next question is…will this be the wine for you? The main thing to keep in mind with White Zinfandel is that it tends to be a very sweet, sugary wine. If you like sweet drinks and typically don’t enjoy tannic wines that leave a pucker in your mouth, you may enjoy White Zinfandel. And as previously mentioned, if you are new to drinking wine and want to ease your way into the flavors of wine, White Zinfandel may be a good starter wine. And while White Zinfandel has a lot of sweet, fruity flavor, it tends to lack the complexity of other varietals, so if you enjoy wines with many different notes of fruit, oak, vanilla or spice, white wine varietals like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc might be a better choice for you.
Here are a few popular White Zinfandel winemakers: