White zin & similar - Printable Version

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- Sonflower - 04-20-2012 01:52 AM

I have a dumb newbie question. Tonight I went to a wine tasting. I heard something said that I had also heard on a wine show on tv. I find that people look down on white zin & rose type wines. Tonight the lady from the winery called white zin kool-aid. The show on tv said it takes a shorter amount of time to make it & it's cheap.

Ok, those 2 pieces of info do not seem enough to me to "put down" white zin or rose-type wines. So I'm confused. Just call me a redneck i guess. Are these not real wines, or not classy wines, or something? I like most wine, esp. Pinot noir, but enjoy the sweet wines too. Why do people look down on wine that is not pure "red" or pure "white"?

Thank you in advance.

- Innkeeper - 04-20-2012 02:08 AM

Welcome to the Wine Board Sonflower. There are plenty of rose' affectionados around here, but White Zin is not a true rose'. It is a wine made from Zinfandel in a usually very sweet manner, almost cloying.

- Sonflower - 04-20-2012 01:36 PM

Thanks Innkeeper. What are your thoughts on moscato? It seems to me to be similar to white zin... A sweet wine.

Do you feel that calling white zin "kool aid" was accurate?

I am sincerely trying to adjust my expectations to be more accurate in the wine department. As I grew up in a home with no alcohol, ever, I am fairly uneducated in this area, as you can clearly see.

Also, is it common to look down on "white zin" among wine aficionados? I get the impression it is.


- winoweenie - 04-20-2012 01:45 PM

Welcome to theboard Son.... As you get more bottles under your tongue you'll be able to accurately answer your question yourself. As with everything in life there are all kinds of experts who'll spew theior version of the subject and not charge a penny for their expertise. And that usually is what its' worth. My answer to your question is....I'll ocassionally drink a bottle of John Buehlers' white zin as I find it very refreshing after a strenous nap in these hot Az summers. WW

- Innkeeper - 04-20-2012 03:06 PM

The Buehler that WW mentions does not fall under the "usual" White Zins. It is lovely and you might want to try it. I can understand your sweet tooth. Most people going directly from soda pop to wine are attracted to the sweet ones initially.

Let me give you some history to give you some perspective on why wine geeks feel the way they do about White Zin. Several decades ago Zinfandel in its normal red stage was the most popular red wine in America. Its popularity causes many producers to do exactly what they are doing today with popular red wines; they kept making them bigger and bigger, meaning with more and more alcohol. Then Cabernet Sauvignon, in its then more modest modes took over from Zinfandel in popularity.

Sutter Home, seeing the resulting glut of Zinfandel on the market, bought it up; and produced, you guessed it, White Zinfandel. It was very sweet and became popular with people like you who were just getting into wine. Many other producers got on that band wagon.

Wine geeks, that is people who were used to drinking wines of all kinds were used to almost all of them being dry. Dry means low in alcohol and sugar. Even they would drink a sweet wine that was "supposed" to be sweet such as certain Rieslings and the Moscaoto that you mentioned. Both Riesling and Muscat grapes can be made into wines accross the sweetness spectrum from dry to cloying.

Hope all this helps you. IK

- Sonflower - 04-20-2012 04:33 PM

Excellent. A thousand thank you's.

I guess in my own words - I'm just a simple girl, forgive me - white zin is like Wal-mart. Started out ok in small doses but (to make the almighty dollar) mass produced, one could say even exploited, lost its appeal.

Time to raise my standards. I hope Pinot Noir is not too shabby. At least it's a step in the right direction.

Is there a quick reference wine grade or a scale for simple people like me? I could invent one. "Hick-girl's guide to classifying & drinking wine" - for when she hits her mid-forties & the epiphany hits.

Thank you again. I needed the wake up call.

- Innkeeper - 04-20-2012 10:07 PM

One thing that won't cost you anything is to peruse this novice thread. It goes back decades. There is a wealth of information and a lot of it is from folks just like you. If you are in a buying mood, for reds in addition to Pinot Noir your might also look at Beaujolais. For whites you might look for the afore mentioned Riesling and Muscat. Just be sure for now that it doesn't say "dry" on the label of those whites.

- Thomas - 04-21-2012 09:13 PM


Let me correct the record first: White Zinfandel was born in 1976 when Sutter Home's winemaker was faced with a stuck fermentation. The incident gave the company an idea on how to get rid of that glut of Zinfandel that IK talked about.

White Zinfandel was mass marketed and that's what gave it the bad reputation to the upper echelon of wine snobs and sundry know-it-alls.

As IK said, after a while, a new wine drinker tends to drift away from sweet wine as a matter of course. The thing about wine that makes one lose interest in sweet over time is that while sweet is the simplest of tastes, wine is a complex product. Too much sugar masks wine's complexity, not to mention its affinity with dinner.

As for Moscato: it's a fad that will not last forever. It, too, is generally sweet.

Other than the above, drink what you like and don't give snobs a second glance. If only I had a dime for every wine know-it-all that I've met, I'd be highly paid for the hours I had to spend listening to the blowhards.