Often called simply White Zin, this rosé is perfect for casual sipping and is a remarkably popular wine in the United States. Get to know White Zinfandel, and discover the perfect pairings for this cool, refreshing wine.
What Is White Zinfandel?
White Zin is a wine that defies preconceived notions — sort of. Given its name, you might think White Zinfandel is a white wine. In reality, it's a pink-toned wine that's part of the rosé family. It gets this pink color from red Zinfandel grapes with relatively limited exposure to the dark red skins.
Many assume White Zinfandel is a blend of reds and whites, but most wines that boast this label aren't technically blends. After all, labeling laws dictate that bottles must contain at least 75 percent Zinfandel grapes to wear the White Zinfandel label.
What's the History?
In the world of wine, White Zinfandel is a baby -- don't worry; you won't have to change its diaper. Many wine varieties date back centuries, but White Zinfandel's history is just a few decades old. In fact, White Zin is a uniquely American wine. A winemaker at Sutter Home developed it in the early 1970s after fermenting some of the free-run juice from a batch of standard Zinfandel.
Originally intended to be a small-batch wine that visitors to the Sutter Home tasting room could enjoy, White Zinfandel found its niche completely by mistake. After a stuck fermentation episode in 1975, the yeast died off before converting all the sugar into alcohol.
That year's batch of White Zinfandel had about 2 percent residual sugar, which is much higher than the norm. Sutter Home bottled the sweet pink wine, and it turned out to be a surprise hit, becoming the most popular premium wine in the nation by the mid-1980s.
Where Is It Produced?
Today, Sutter Home still produces White Zinfandel in California. The winemaker has begun growing grapes specifically for White Zinfandel in California's Central Valley, and many others also produce this variety from the older Zinfandel vineyards around Napa Valley.
How Does It Taste?
Perfect for any sweet tooth, White Zinfandel is one of the sweeter types of rosé. It's known for its delightfully fruity flavors, and a cool glass of this rosé often features hints of strawberry and melon.
If this sounds pleasantly refreshing, millions of wine drinkers around the nation would toast to that. Many people pursue a lifelong love of wine after first trying White Zinfandel, thanks to its supreme drinkability.
What to Pair With White Zinfandel:
White Zinfandel enthusiasts would argue that you don't need to pair it with anything; just enjoy a glass on its own. However, this sweet rosé does pair well with lighter proteins such as chicken, fish and lamb. It goes well with vegetable-based dishes and cream-based pastas, too. With its sweeter profile, White Zinfandel also complements spicy flavors typically found in Mexican and Asian cuisine.