Not so long ago, most Americans would see something pink in a wine glass and assume it was sweet white zinfandel. It makes sense, because in the mid 1980s, Sutter Home white zinfandel was the number-one selling wine in the United States.
This version of pink wine is the result of a wine-making snafu. In 1972, winemaker Bob Trinchero at Sutter Home was fermenting zinfandel grapes, and while trying to produce a dry zinfandel, a “stuck-fermentation” occurred—leaving the alcohol low, the sugar higher and the wine pink. Trinchero decided to bottle the sweet wine and labeled it white zinfandel. But here’s something that may surprise you: white zinfandel is not rosé.
Rosé is a wine that has been around since ancient Roman times vs. disco times. It is traditionally dry (not sweet!), lower in alcohol, light and refreshing. It’s perfect for entertaining, as it is served cold like a white wine but usually made with grapes traditionally used for red wine.
Want to dip your toe into the world of rosés? It’s the perfect time to try, as the second Saturday in June is National Rosé Day. Here are some great pink picks under $20 available locally: A to Z, Alexander Valley Vineyards, Chaval, The Beach, Pratsch and Scaia Rosato.
Contributed by Alison Perrier Briggs, a level two sommelier and Edina resident. She grew up in the wine industry, has worked vintages on three continents and has hosted over 200 wine classes and events.