Should I give White Zin another chance?

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Steve Ritchie
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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#1 Post by Steve Ritchie » July 30th, 2015, 8:43 am

I ready a nice (if a bit fluffy) blog post exhalting the virtue of the infamous White Zin. I had a dry version a few years ago (Girard, IIRC) and enjoyed it as a more berry-flavored take on a dry rose, but haven't dared to ask for or buy one since. Is it time to get over my flashbacks of sweet and flavorless Sutter Home and see what Buehler, Broc, and others are doing? Any experiences out there?

Here's the post: http://www.thekitchn.com/why-you-should ... nce-221271
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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#2 Post by J a y H a c k » July 30th, 2015, 8:51 am

No.
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#3 Post by TomHill » July 30th, 2015, 9:01 am


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#4 Post by p a u l b a t t a g l i a » July 30th, 2015, 9:06 am

TomHill wrote:Of course give it another chance. But go for the best...the Turley Smoot-Hawley White Zin:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/787597

http://wineberserkers.com/forum/viewtop ... =1&t=67711

http://www.westcoastwine.net/ubbthreads ... ber=371203

[snort.gif]

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lmao- the best rickshaw in bangladesh is still a rickshaw. $25 for a white zin is just a sucker play.

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#5 Post by larry schaffer » July 30th, 2015, 9:08 am

Try it with Thai food - you might be surprised how good the two pair together :-)

I love talking about white zin - it's one of those wines that folks just naturally have a 'knee jerk' reaction to - in a negative way.

Guess what, though - it continues to be one of the best selling wines in the US to this day. Yep. And guess what - if someone wants to order it and enjoy it, please don't make them feel 'less than worthy' because of their choice . . . It's their choice - like it or not.

The only way the US will continue to grow as a wine drinking community is to accept the fact that others may have different tastes than yours or mine - and that's cool. I embrace the fact that they are enjoying wine - and use it as an 'educational moment' to find out what their likes and dislikes are.

Off my soap box . . . .

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#6 Post by Brent C l a y t o n » July 30th, 2015, 9:21 am

p a u l b a t t a g l i a wrote: lmao- the best rickshaw in bangladesh is still a rickshaw. $25 for a white zin is just a sucker play.
You're obviously missing the point. $25 for a limited production CA dry rose from a well known producer is par for the course. You could then argue that $25 for ANY Rose wine is a 'sucker play' if your subjective taste tells you that you can get a $12 bottle that is just as good.

Now, paying $15-20 for White Girl Rose, whose website tells you all about its social media supporters and how many millions of followers its supporters have on FB, Instagram and Twitter, and nothing about the wine, its composition or how it was made, that is a sucker play. Probably co-op juice they purchased on the cheap that could retail for $10.

As for the OP's question, my biggest problem with sweet white Zin is the lack of acidity. The sweet without the acid just makes the wine flabby and generally unpleasant to drink. That's why German Riesling is so good, the sweet plays off the acid and minerality.
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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#7 Post by Steve Ritchie » July 30th, 2015, 9:21 am

Seeing the range of comments, I guess I have to wonder what makes a (dry) White Zin inherently inferior to a rose of Syrah, Grenache, or even Pinot Noir?
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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#8 Post by Brian Tuite » July 30th, 2015, 9:21 am

The '14 Turley is great if you can find it.
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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#9 Post by Scott Butler » July 30th, 2015, 10:02 am

Dry rose from Zin can be quite good, but I'd never market it as White Zin. Rose of Zin is a better choice.
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#10 Post by Doug Schulman » July 30th, 2015, 10:09 am

p a u l b a t t a g l i a wrote:
TomHill wrote:Of course give it another chance. But go for the best...the Turley Smoot-Hawley White Zin:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/787597

http://wineberserkers.com/forum/viewtop ... =1&t=67711

http://www.westcoastwine.net/ubbthreads ... ber=371203

[snort.gif]

Tom
lmao- the best rickshaw in bangladesh is still a rickshaw. $25 for a white zin is just a sucker play.
Have you had the Turley?

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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#11 Post by Dusty Gillson » July 30th, 2015, 10:10 am

To me, "White Zin" implies a sweet, slightly sparkling, low alcohol porch pounder, that should necessarily be <$10 a bottle, if not much cheaper.

Turley's use of the term is tongue in cheek, and meant to be a bit pretentious, just like their naming their cab "The Label" so you could "drink The Label" instead of the wine.

A well made still dry Rose' made from Zinfandel is about as close to 'White Zin' as Burgundy is to "Hearty Burgundy." But nobody in the Cote d'Or would be disrespectful enough to their own product to call their 1er Cru "Hearty Burgundy." At least not that I know of. newhere
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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#12 Post by Mark B » July 30th, 2015, 10:13 am

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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#13 Post by Berry Crawford » July 30th, 2015, 10:20 am

+1 on the Turley

My own attempts have frankly kind of sucked, but the ones from Turley are nice

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Yup...

#14 Post by TomHill » July 30th, 2015, 10:38 am

Doug Schulman wrote: Have you had the Turley?
If you mean the real Turley White Zin, Doug...then yes. I liked it...thought it a pretty decent rendition of White Zin..but no compelling
reason to buy it again. But there are a lot more others of that genre out there (TrosseauGris/GrenacheGris for example) that I like much more.
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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#15 Post by Chris Seiber » July 30th, 2015, 11:05 am

Dehlinger also made a rose of zinfandel which was good, if a bit on the heavy and dark side for a rose (I think it was a saignee, which is probably the reason more than that it was made from zinfandel). The Turleys I've had were not that way at all - the first and best one I had (2010, I think) was from zinfandel harvested at 18.9% Brix, if I recall correct, and it was very pale, brisk and bony in a good way.

I think you could probably make roses of zinfandel roughly as well as you could make roses of most other red varieties, but the stigma of "white zinfandel" as a cheap, bubble gum tasting jug/box wine probably is enough for most winemakers not to bother. That's just my guess.

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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#16 Post by Scott Brunson » July 30th, 2015, 11:37 am

J a y H a c k wrote:No.
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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#17 Post by Thomas Keim » July 30th, 2015, 1:35 pm

Scott Butler wrote:Dry rose from Zin can be quite good, but I'd never market it as White Zin. Rose of Zin is a better choice.
Pedroncelli makes an awesome Zinfandel Rose from all Dry Creek fruit - and it's 12 bucks a bottle -
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#18 Post by Chris Sihler » July 30th, 2015, 10:30 pm

No.

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Yup...

#19 Post by Doug Schulman » July 31st, 2015, 7:41 am

TomHill wrote:
Doug Schulman wrote: Have you had the Turley?
If you mean the real Turley White Zin, Doug...then yes. I liked it...thought it a pretty decent rendition of White Zin..but no compelling
reason to buy it again. But there are a lot more others of that genre out there (TrosseauGris/GrenacheGris for example) that I like much more.
Tom
Thanks for the input, Tom. I was more interested in whether or not Paul has had it since he referred to it as a "sucker play".

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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#20 Post by Markus S » July 31st, 2015, 8:08 am

No. Nature intended zinfandel to be a RED wine. neener
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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#21 Post by larry schaffer » July 31st, 2015, 8:45 am

Just saw an article today that they Sutter Home is celebrating 40 years of making the stuff - and in that time, they have sold over $6 BILLION worth of it . . . and will make between 3 and 3.5 MILLION cases of the wine this year alone.

Interesting . . . .
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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#22 Post by Doug Schulman » July 31st, 2015, 11:01 am

A few weeks ago, I tasted a poorly made ultra small production, geeky wine (a "natural wine", I am sure), and said it was no better than Sutter Home White Zinfandel. I then changed my mind and said the WZ is better. The sales rep and my boss looked shocked, but both said that they couldn't remember ever having the Sutter Home. I opened a 187 mL of the White Zin, we tasted that, and there was some agreement. It's a boring wine, for sure, but it's well made and not at all unpleasant to most people.

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#23 Post by Scott G r u n e r » July 31st, 2015, 11:23 am

I would try a zinfandel rose if they grapes were grown and harvested to BE Rose in a dry provencal type style, by a serious producer.

It is no accident that my favorite domestic rose's (which are few) are made in this way as opposed to trying to make money off red wine bleed-offs aka "Saignee"
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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#24 Post by Wes Barton » August 1st, 2015, 9:56 am

Steve Ritchie wrote:Seeing the range of comments, I guess I have to wonder what makes a (dry) White Zin inherently inferior to a rose of Syrah, Grenache, or even Pinot Noir?
Exactly. No inherent qualitative difference. My advice to the OP is to explore dry roses more broadly. There's a lot of really good ones being made now in CA. They've come out of the shadows (thanks Randall Graham), so it's no longer hard to find micro batches that winemakers made for themselves. But, the advise is the same: Producer, producer, producer. If you see one from a winemaker you respect, give it a try. There's a lot of good ones from Pinot and Rhone varieties, and occasionally something else.
Scott Butler wrote:Dry rose from Zin can be quite good, but I'd never market it as White Zin. Rose of Zin is a better choice.
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#25 Post by larry schaffer » August 1st, 2015, 11:15 am

Scott G r u n e r wrote:I would try a zinfandel rose if they grapes were grown and harvested to BE Rose in a dry provencal type style, by a serious producer.

It is no accident that my favorite domestic rose's (which are few) are made in this way as opposed to trying to make money off red wine bleed-offs aka "Saignee"
Actually, plenty of great signee roses still being made. This is one situation where, to me, as long as the wine smells and tastes good, I don't care about the method used . . .
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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#26 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » August 1st, 2015, 11:18 am

There is too much good dry rosé out there to bother with white zin.
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Except...

#27 Post by TomHill » August 1st, 2015, 1:06 pm

larry schaffer wrote:
Scott G r u n e r wrote:I would try a zinfandel rose if they grapes were grown and harvested to BE Rose in a dry provencal type style, by a serious producer.

It is no accident that my favorite domestic rose's (which are few) are made in this way as opposed to trying to make money off red wine bleed-offs aka "Saignee"
Actually, plenty of great signee roses still being made. This is one situation where, to me, as long as the wine smells and tastes good, I don't care about the method used . . .
Except, Larry.....the roses that I really like, like Bone-Jolly or Solminer, are harvested early specifically to make a rose, and this have higher acidity
and lower alcohol..which I like in a rose. The saignee roses often (not always, though), come from higher sugar grapes and, thus, often have
higher alcohols and lower acids. Just generalizing, obviously and YMMV.
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#28 Post by lleichtman » August 1st, 2015, 1:17 pm

The Turley White Zin is a Rosé. Why they chose to market it as such baffles me other than the Rosé market is a crowded field right now.
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#29 Post by Steve Ritchie » August 1st, 2015, 2:09 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
Steve Ritchie wrote:Seeing the range of comments, I guess I have to wonder what makes a (dry) White Zin inherently inferior to a rose of Syrah, Grenache, or even Pinot Noir?
Exactly. No inherent qualitative difference. My advice to the OP is to explore dry roses more broadly. There's a lot of really good ones being made now in CA.
Helpful feedback. I have tried, and enjoyed a wide range of roses from all over, including CA. I have found that -- in general -- I prefer roses of Syrah, Grenache, and other "moderate tannin" grapes. I have yet to have a rose of Pinot Noir that does the trick for me, but that could change soon.

I am thinking that the biggest barrier for White Zin is the history of White Zin and all that it connotes. I am no fan of sweet, flat, boring wines, regardless of color, but I am seeing some resurgent interest in roses of Zin and hope to try a few before the weather cools (which gives me a lot of time as long as I live in GA.)

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Probably

#30 Post by TomHill » August 1st, 2015, 3:45 pm

lleichtman wrote:The Turley White Zin is a Rosé. Why they chose to market it as such baffles me other than the Rosé market is a crowded field right now.
Probably, Larry, they sell it as WhiteZin to thumb their noses at the "establishment" and make a little fun of themselves. They don't make enough
that they have to worry about marketing it.
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#31 Post by Berry Crawford » August 1st, 2015, 4:35 pm

TomHill wrote:
lleichtman wrote:The Turley White Zin is a Rosé. Why they chose to market it as such baffles me other than the Rosé market is a crowded field right now.
Probably, Larry, they sell it as WhiteZin to thumb their noses at the "establishment" and make a little fun of themselves. They don't make enough
that they have to worry about marketing it.
Tom
I believe that the white Zin is Larry's daughter's project. I love that it is from Napa fruit too.

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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#32 Post by Scott G r u n e r » August 2nd, 2015, 9:44 pm

larry schaffer wrote:
Scott G r u n e r wrote:I would try a zinfandel rose if they grapes were grown and harvested to BE Rose in a dry provencal type style, by a serious producer.

It is no accident that my favorite domestic rose's (which are few) are made in this way as opposed to trying to make money off red wine bleed-offs aka "Saignee"
...This is one situation where, to me, as long as the wine smells and tastes good, I don't care about the method used . . .
Yep. We are saying the same thing here. (bold emphasis is mine)
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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#33 Post by Brian Tuite » August 3rd, 2015, 6:49 am

lleichtman wrote:The Turley White Zin is a Rosé. Why they chose to market it as such baffles me other than the Rosé market is a crowded field right now.
The label on the bottle reads Zinfandel, not White Zinfandel. The label being white designates the difference. People get too hung up on a name. There is plenty of shitty Rosé on the market so why isn't all Rosé considered shitty. Because it isn't?
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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#34 Post by GregT » August 3rd, 2015, 7:47 am

I am thinking that the biggest barrier for White Zin is the history of White Zin and all that it connotes. I am no fan of sweet, flat, boring wines, regardless of color, but I am seeing some resurgent interest in roses of Zin and hope to try a few before the weather cools (which gives me a lot of time as long as I live in GA.)
You have to remember that they called the white Zins "blush" wine because at the time, the writers and sophisticated drinkers looked down on rosé/rosado. The US wine industry was still more or less in its infancy and in the 60s and 70s people were drinking the Gallo wines like Pink Chablis, as well as stuff like Lancers, and various semi-sweet whites like Blue Nun or Boones Farm, which came in flavors. And the "serious" wine drinkers, such as they were, disdained rosé.

So calling it a "blush" wine meant it avoided the stigma of being a rosé.

Then when it became so popular, it created its own problems. To this day, many people don't know that Zinfandel is a red grape. They say they want "a Zinfandel" and when they get a red wine, they're non-plussed.

And of course, back in the day, once white Zin took off, there were plenty of other wines around to copy. I remember seeing a lot of white Merlot for example. I don't think there was nearly as much PN planted then and it wasn't nearly as fashionable as it is today.

Maybe twenty years hence, people will be looking at PN the way they look at white Zin these days.

In any event, most rosado in the world has historically been made from Garnacha. It was a summer drink in much of Spain for a long time. Not meant to be profound, just meant to be enjoyable. And it was often made by blending with white grapes, which is how producers like LdH and Muga did it in Rioja, although that's not legal now.
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#35 Post by TomHill » August 3rd, 2015, 8:38 am

GregT wrote:
I am thinking that the biggest barrier for White Zin is the history of White Zin and all that it connotes. I am no fan of sweet, flat, boring wines, regardless of color, but I am seeing some resurgent interest in roses of Zin and hope to try a few before the weather cools (which gives me a lot of time as long as I live in GA.)
You have to remember that they called the white Zins "blush" wine because at the time, the writers and sophisticated drinkers looked down on rosé/rosado. The US wine industry was still more or less in its infancy and in the 60s and 70s people were drinking the Gallo wines like Pink Chablis, as well as stuff like Lancers, and various semi-sweet whites like Blue Nun or Boones Farm, which came in flavors. And the "serious" wine drinkers, such as they were, disdained rosé.
So calling it a "blush" wine meant it avoided the stigma of being a rosé.
Then when it became so popular, it created its own problems. To this day, many people don't know that Zinfandel is a red grape. They say they want "a Zinfandel" and when they get a red wine, they're non-plussed.
And of course, back in the day, once white Zin took off, there were plenty of other wines around to copy. I remember seeing a lot of white Merlot for example. I don't think there was nearly as much PN planted then and it wasn't nearly as fashionable as it is today.
Maybe twenty years hence, people will be looking at PN the way they look at white Zin these days.
In any event, most rosado in the world has historically been made from Garnacha. It was a summer drink in much of Spain for a long time. Not meant to be profound, just meant to be enjoyable. And it was often made by blending with white grapes, which is how producers like LdH and Muga did it in Rioja, although that's not legal now.
A bit of history: Actually, the first WhiteZins were made by DavidBruce and Ridge in about the '68 vintage, using their saignee juice from their Zin production. It was a totally dry wine
and very lightly pigmented, nowhere near a rose wine. At that time, "blush wine" had not yet entered the lexicon. The first SutterHome WZ was made in '73 vintage. It was a bit darker in color
than the first two...but still nowhere near a rose. At DarrellCorti's suggestion, BobTrinchero labeled it "Oeil de Perdrix". It was totally dry and actually quite nice drinking (remember...this was back in the
early '70's, when SutterHome was actually making quite good wines). It was only around '75-'76 when they really started to sweeten it up that WZ headed down the road to sin & perdition. They did this
based on their increasing sales out of the tasting room in StHelena. The tasting room was very big on the tour bus stops and serious wine folks shunned the place like a Kansas outhouse on a
hot July day...so it's not a surprise that the sweet ones sold. And the rest is history.
Actually, in the early '70's, SutterHome sold a SutterHome TripleCream Aperitif dessert wine that was amazing. It was based on old cream sherry stocks from EastSideWnry in Lodi.
And they also used to make a SH Red Wine Vinegar out back by the Orleans process that was quite good.
The last time I stopped in the SH tasting room, about 30 yrs ago, the highlight of the tasting was the SH Tomato Sauce.
It's all so sad. But, at least now, the Trincheros don't have to buy their suits from MontgomeryWards...they can fly to Milano to have them tailored.
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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#36 Post by Eric Ifune » August 3rd, 2015, 10:48 am

Just saw an article today that they Sutter Home is celebrating 40 years of making the stuff - and in that time, they have sold over $6 BILLION worth of it . . . and will make between 3 and 3.5 MILLION cases of the wine this year alone.

Interesting . . . .
The last time I stopped in the SH tasting room, about 30 yrs ago, the highlight of the tasting was the SH Tomato Sauce.
It's all so sad. But, at least now, the Trincheros don't have to buy their suits from MontgomeryWards...they can fly to Milano to have them tailored.
I was actually there last month! Was with a group celebrating a retirement, and this was one of the stops. (Not my choice.) They now have a reserve white Zinfandel. It's not too bad. Drier than the regular and from estate fruit. I could drink it as an aperitif on a hot summer day.

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A Bit of History...

#37 Post by Wes Barton » August 3rd, 2015, 11:49 am

TomHill wrote:A bit of history: Actually, the first WhiteZins were made by DavidBruce and Ridge in about the '68 vintage, using their saignee juice from their Zin production. It was a totally dry wine
and very lightly pigmented, nowhere near a rose wine.
Charles Sullivan: I remember a White Zinfandel among your early wines.

David Bruce: My first one was off the Locatelli property in 1964. I also made some in 1967, 1968 and 1971. The first year I called it a Blanc de Noir and then a Zinfandel White.

CS: That was the first White Zinfandel made in California since before Prohibition. In the 19th century it was used in many of the good California sparkling wines, particularly Arpad Haraszthy's "Eclipse".

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Thanks....

#38 Post by TomHill » August 3rd, 2015, 3:03 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
TomHill wrote:A bit of history: Actually, the first WhiteZins were made by DavidBruce and Ridge in about the '68 vintage, using their saignee juice from their Zin production. It was a totally dry wine
and very lightly pigmented, nowhere near a rose wine.
Charles Sullivan: I remember a White Zinfandel among your early wines.

David Bruce: My first one was off the Locatelli property in 1964. I also made some in 1967, 1968 and 1971. The first year I called it a Blanc de Noir and then a Zinfandel White.

CS: That was the first White Zinfandel made in California since before Prohibition. In the 19th century it was used in many of the good California sparkling wines, particularly Arpad Haraszthy's "Eclipse".

http://drbenniontrustfund.org/D._R._Ben ... /Home.html
Thanks for clarifying that, Wes. Sometimes, when relating history from memory, I'm not all that precise. Has nothing to do w/ old age, of course!!! [snort.gif]
Tom

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J a y H a c k
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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#39 Post by J a y H a c k » August 3rd, 2015, 4:03 pm

Markus S wrote:No. Nature intended zinfandel to be a RED wine. neener
If God intended zinfandel to be white, he/she/it would have made it out of chardonnay.

Seriously, though, if I were a winemaker, I would make tons of it if I could sell it at a big profit. It's a business and they are entitled. However, I am not a rose fan. I had one good one last year. It happened to be and SQN, but I might have had it blind. That's a good sign for those who like toes, reduced demand means lower price.
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Should I give White Zin another chance?

#40 Post by Marc Hauser » August 11th, 2015, 7:37 pm

I had a 2014 Broc Cellars white Zin tonight, ordered off the menu at Parachute here in Chicago. It was a tad sweet, and had some interesting funk and heft, lower in alcohol (about 11.5%), it paired really nicely with Korean(ish) food, but I wouldn't drink it on its own, unlike other rosés.
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