White zin riffs

Wine drinking dramatically increases with harvest holidays.

Wine lovers open more bottles and shift from fresh and flighty summer whites to serious stuff. At the same time, folks who do not drink much wine get caught up in the autumnal Zeitgeist. What can you do to accommodate those casual wine sippers? What if you are one of them?

Wine writers go for easy punch lines with white zinfandel. Badda-bing: “White zin is wine for people who don’t like wine.” “White zin: wine with training wheels.” “France raised its terror alert from white zin to merlot.”

White zin often is made using low-quality grapes blended into a simple, fruit-punch style with a sweet, low-alcohol finish. It’s not for those who crave complexity and nuance, but wine’s beauty is its ability to bring pleasure to a plethora of people and palates. For one out of 10 Americans, white zin is their wine of choice. If you host a party, white zin has added benefit of being inexpensive.

White zin pairs well with Asian and Latin foods, so instead of a muscular cab getting into a mud wrestling match with your Mexican meal, give white zin a try. You could be in for a surprise.

Coming months should be full of fun: carved pumpkins and masks, festive family feasts in thanksgiving for the passing year, celebrations of lights and a savior as we move into the embrace of winter and the birth of a new cycle.

If you have friends who enjoy white zin, pour it for them without condescension. If you enjoy it yourself, quaff without shame.


• Sutter Home White Zinfandel. Blush of pink; strawberries, melon. Sutter Home invented white zin and remains the leader. $5

• Llano Estacado Blush. Zin-chenin blanc blend; Texas winery’s biggest seller; fresh & fruity. $6

• Beringer White Zinfandel. Red berry, citrus, melon; light, refreshing. $8

• Beringer White Zinfandel/Chardonnay Premiere. Blended with 20% barrel-fermented chardonnay to add creamy texture and roundness. $10