DCFoodies.com Roses - Part 2 - DCFoodies.com

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Jul 24, 2008



Do you know the actually difference between a White Zinfandel and a Rose? A staff member at Veritas winery explained it to me, but I forgot. I do recall him saying that White Zin was actually an accident and sold so wine makers kept repeating the mistake. I really don't like White Zin, and as a result have been turned off by Roses as well.

Rob Rutledge

While White Zin is technically still a rose, the purpose behind it is so different from that of most other rose that drawing a comparison between the two is problematic. The most obvious difference is that the former is usually sweet, the latter usually dry. Modern White Zin is also likely to contain a portion of sweet white grapes like Muscat, and is not meant to represent any real varietal flavor from any of the grapes-- producers are going for smooth, sweet, and simple. Traditional roses usually exemplify the qualities of the grapes used, just as a red wine will, but on a lighter scale.

White Zin wasn't a mistake so much as a marketing ploy-- back in the 70's, there was a lot of Zinfandel planted in California, which no one was really sure what to do with (this was before the days when it was known for making the high class stuff). People were crazy for white wine at the time, so winemakers decided to start vinifying this problem grape like a white, just for the hell of it. Bob Trinchero of Sutter Home was the first to put any real volume behind the effort, and it was quite a success. Supposedly, the first real sweet White Zin was a result of stuck fermentation (yeast death) in the fermentation of some first press juice, but I'm not 100% sure on the veracity of that-- as far as I'd always heard, it was totally on purpose.

In the glass, "real rose" is a totally different animal, SB, and if you enjoy other dry wines, you should give it another shot. Get the right one with the right food, and it will totally change your opinion. I hope.


Thanks for the insight! Brings back memories of me and my college roomate getting toasted off of Sutter home White Zin. I've never been able to drink it since! My husband has gotten into the Roses recently, so I'll sip on his.


A rose is a great summer wine. A while ago, I gave them a try and I haven't looked back. In the summer (and sometimes in the winter too if I'm in the mood) roses are on my rotation frequently. I particularly like the Eye of the Toad Rose from Toad Hollow Vineyards which is available for $10 to $14 a bottle depending on what state you buy it in.

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