Zinfandel: Uniquely and Distinctly American

Posted by | Posted in White's Wines | Posted on 01-22-2013

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As regular readers know, I write a free, twice monthly wine column that’s distributed to newspapers across the country.

These columns are hosted by Palate Press: The Online Wine Magazine. If you don’t see my column in your local newspaper, please send an email to your paper’s editor and CC me (David – at – Terroirist.com).

My latest column, in which I tell Zinfandel’s story, went out this morning.

Zinfandel: Uniquely and Distinctly American

Mention Zinfandel to most wine consumers, and it’s quickly dismissed. It’s easy to see why.

For starters, many Americans associate the variety with the cheap, sweet “blush” wines that became popular in the 1980s, like Sutter Home’s white Zinfandel. This style of wine will always have fans, but to my palate, it’s just too cloying. Most white Zinfandel tastes more like Kool-Aid than wine.

Among consumers who know that Zinfandel can produce dry reds, many believe the variety inevitably produces monolithic, alcoholic fruit bombs. Avoiding such wines makes sense – it’s difficult to find pleasure in wines go down like cough syrup.

It’s unfortunate that so many wine drinkers have these impressions.

Zinfandel can be delicious. The best examples are wonderfully accessible and strike the perfect balance between power and finesse. While certainly robust, they’re marked by fresh, brambly berries and are energetic enough to pair with a variety of cuisines. Plus, Zinfandel is uniquely and distinctly American. It’s well worth exploring.

Check out the rest of the piece on Palate Press: The Online Wine Magazine.

Comments (1)

  1. I do believe California is starting to produce great representations of what Zinfandel has to offer – some of the wineries you mentioned (Carlisle is one of my favorites) are emerging as the premium Zinfandel producers. I still love a big, bold Zin every once in a while but could do without the 16 – 17% alcohol.