For decades, Zinfandel was the most widely planted red grape in California until cabernet sauvignon surpassed it in 1998. Now number two in acreage, zinfandel is a chameleon. It can be made into everything form white wine to sweet port style wine.
But the zinfandel knowledgable wine drinkers rave about- true zinfandel- is a mouth filling dry red wine crammed with jammy blackberry, boysenberry,and plummy fruit. Made in this traditional style it can be thick, chewy, and notorious for staining one’s teeth the colour of cherry Kool-aid.
Until 1972 zinfandel was always a hearty, rustic red wine. But in that year, the large California winery Sutter Home made the first white zinfandel- actually light pink- by quickly removing zinfandel;s red skins before much colour was imparted to the wine. Today white zinfandel outsells true red zinfandel. Yet, because it is often slightly sweet and almost always mass produced from less than top-quality grapes, white zinfandel is considered a beginner’s wine by serious wine drinkers.