The White Zinfandel wine is a well-known gem from Napa Valley. However, there is more to learn about this sweet yet dry blend. Don’t worry! This comprehensive look at what is White Zinfandel wine will give you everything to learn about the drink.
What is White Zinfandel Wine?
California, United States
Commonly made with
Light Pink, Rose
Sugar Content (per liter)
10g to 25g
9% to 10% ABV
Napa Valley, California
When it comes to famous wines from Napa Valley, White Zinfandel might be the one on the top. The sweet and fruity flavor of the wine makes it a perfect pairing with many savory meals.
Its popularity makes it surprising that this wine’s invention is an accident. It came from experimentation from the grape wine innards during the pressing process.
This excess grape skin and flesh is then put into a fermentation process which in turn makes the White Zinfandel a much lighter blend than its standard counterpart. Since then, this light blend has contributed around 85% of the Zinfandel production.
The Sutter Home, the original winery where the blend originated, sold out its White Zinfandel bottles yearly. It makes for an excellent dessert or complimentary table wine.
It’s also on the cheaper end of wine, making it a perfect starter for those who want to delve further into wine drinking without breaking the bank.
What is the Difference Between White Zinfandel and Standard Zinfandel?
Since Zinfandel is still used in the production of White Zinfandel, what is the difference between the two?
The Zinfandel wine is known for its striking deep red color. So, why is White Zinfandel lighter if it uses the same wine grapes as the standard Zinfandel wine?
White Zinfandel uses the excess wine grapes innards that came from the bleeding process of the standard Zinfandel wine. The two also vary a lot when it comes to taste and texture.
The red and spicy Zinfandel oozes with bolder flavors and tannins. The white variation, on the other hand, is lighter in taste.
How is White Zinfandel Wine Made?
White Zinfandel uses the standard wine grapes present in the standard version of the wine. However, it goes in another process, giving it its distinct rose-pink color.
White Zinfandel is born out of the resourcefulness of the Sutter Homes in the Napa Valley region. The blend came from the pressed grape innards that are left off the pressing of the classic Zinfandel wines.
The bleeding process or saignée is an integral part of the standard Zinfandel blend. This French method is an essential part of producing Rosé. It lets the grape skins in the fermentation, yet not enough to allow the mix to be a bottle of red wine.
However, it also produces excess juice, where the white variety came from. The excess grape juice results in a much lighter mix.
After collecting the excess grapes, the blend is pressed and fermented for a short time. The stuck fermentation lasts less than a month, making it have less spicy flavors than the regular variety.
By having a shorter time in fermentation, the number of tannins and alcohol is also lessened. This process leads to a smaller ABV and a nice crisp finish.
Although the White Zinfandel uses the original wine grapes as the regular variety, many wineries and vineyards started to plant wine grapes specifically for White Zinfandel.
History of White Zinfandel Wine
The first rose-style Zinfandel blend came to fruition in Lodi, California, in 1986. This light and sweet blend have become a hit that many viticulturists advocate using Zinfandel as a white grape variety.
However, the White Zinfandel as we know it today appears in the 1970s. The Sutter Home winery is a well-known producer of regular Zinfandel wine from Napa Valley. However, making the standard Zinfandel blend lefts off excess juice.
To use this excess juice and innards, the Sutter Home comes up with a lighter and sweeter blend they aptly named ‘White Zinfandel.’ Since then, the mixture has become more popular, surpassing the standard red Zinfandel blend.
In the 1980s, the blend boomed in popularity, making it more in demand than the original Zinfandel blend. Nowadays, most Zinfandel wine grapes are made into White Zinfandel production.
Taste and Appearance of White Zinfandel Wine
White Zinfandel wine is known for its tinted pink color. Unlike the classic Zinfandel, this white variety sports a clear color, much like a rose. Although it uses the same wine grapes that produce the red Zinfandel blend, the lesser amount of yeast and juice makes the color lighter and more transparent.
When it comes to taste, White Zinfandel is similar to many sweet wines. It has a nice fruity flavor and hints of citrus and berry notes. Many compare the blend to a fruit punch rather than an intense wine flavor.
Wineries also tend to produce a variety of flavors when it comes to White Zinfandel. Some play it straight with solid fruit flavors, while others blend earthy and plum notes with a slight kick. Many notes the sweet taste of the White Zinfandel, yet it has a crisp sour or earthy aftertaste, depending on the winery.
However, despite having a sweeter taste, the wine has a dry finish. A good number of tannins and striking acidity is also present, making it an ideal partner for many savory and spicy dishes. Some blends can also have a bold aftertaste, perfect as a palate cleanser.
The lower amount of alcohol also makes it a trendy choice for those not used to drinking wine. It also has milder wine flavors that are more suitable for those not used to dark bold blends.
How to Drink White Zinfandel Wine?
Drinking White Zinfandel on its own is already good enough. However, we can still elevate your wine-drinking experience by giving these small tips.
Try it Out with Spicy Food
Finding the perfect wine for spicy food can be challenging. Most red wines are too bold and overpowering, while white wines are too sweet. Fortunately, White Zinfandel hits the perfect spot between the two.
Like ordinary Zinfandel wine, you can also use the white variety to compliment your spicy dishes. It has enough tannins and acidity to cut through the spicy flavors of the food.
Mix with Desserts
It might surprise many, but White Zinfandel can be an excellent pair with your dessert. Whether it be chocolates or blueberry cream pie, the flavors from the wine can blend with the sweet food seamlessly.
This excellent mix is due to the dry finish of the wine. Although it’s sweet, the crisp flavors are apparent throughout. So, it has no problem cutting through the sweet desserts.
White Zinfandel Wines You Should Try
Now that we know the information about the White Zinfandel blend, let’s get into the brands and bottles you can try out.
Sweet with Fruit Notes
Sweet with Fruit Notes
Sweet with Vanilla Notes
Best Serve with
Spicy Food, Desserts, Appetizers
Spicy Food, Seafood, Desserts
Aperitif, Seafood, Desserts
$13 to $15
1. Coastal Ridge Winery White Zinfandel
This Californian-style White Zinfandel is an excellent introduction to the blend. It’s relatively cheap yet yields favorable reviews throughout sites.
The hints of strawberries, honey, and tropical fruits appear throughout its description. It also has a unique sweet taste with a sour aftertaste, making it great as a part of the meal. Although being a rose-style wine, there is still a hint of plums in the blend.
2. Sutter Home White Zinfandel
You better try out the original when it comes to White Zinfandel wine. Sutter Home is where the first blend of White Zinfandel as we know it today came from. And surprisingly, it’s also on the cheaper end of the price.
This sweet blend of Zinfandel is perfect for your seafood, spicy dishes, and desserts. It has a nice hint of melons and strawberries that made the mix famous in the first place. So, if you want to try out the authentic taste of the White Zinfandel, then you better try this one out.
3. Sun Gate White Zinfandel
This blend from Sun Gate wineries is known for its hints of earthy and sweet taste. Unlike with most popular White Zinfandel blends, this comes with more than just hints of strawberry and melon.
The bottle contains notes of vanilla, caramel, and oaky flavors. It makes for a nice blend of earthy tones and a fruity taste rare in White Zinfandel. It’s also excellent for desserts due to its more varied taste.
With this exploration of what is White Zinfandel wine, you get to know more about the sweet blend. Starting from its history to how it’s made, you have it all in this article. So, what are you waiting for? Try out a bottle of White Zinfandel today.