Updated April 12, 2012
Miranda asks Tim:
Rose wines seem to be the trend when the temperature warms up. What do these wines pair well with? What makes them different from the infamous 'White Zinfandel'?
Rose wines are a great alternative to both red and white wines because they have the best characteristics of both wines. They have the fruity characteristics of red and the dry, crisp consistency of whites. Rose wines get their pink hue from the skins of the red grapes in which they are made from. Whether it is rose of malbec, merlot, zinfandel, etc., the grapes only have contact with the skins for 2-3 days, rather than a number of weeks as red wines are made. Rose wines pair exceptionally well with light salads, cheeses (especially goat cheese), fish, grilled meats and spicy dishes.
The infamous "White Zinfandel" was created in Napa Valley back in the 1970's when some wineries had an abundance of Zinfandel grapes. The more popular white wines were on the rise and winemakers didn't know what to do with all the extra Zin grapes. So, Sutter Home created the first "White Zinfandel" with the extra juice and added Muscate grapes for sweetness. Most White Zinfandels have more of a "punch-like" flavor to them rather than the balanced and structured rose wines.
Though white zinfandel could be called a rose, rose wines are NOT white zinfandel.
Hope this helps! Cheers!