Farewell, White Zinfandel
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Well, so this is it. This is the first story that I am writing for my wine review site, and I guess the first thing with any new relationship is to start off by saying goodbye to the past. Actually, itís been quite a while since I have drank white zinfandel, but I guess that in my quest to get people a little more educated, and a lot more exposed, than the first thing to do is to actually look back from whence I started.
I am calling out white zinfandel not because I hate it, loathe it, or abhor it, but because in the least, it was itself in the least nothing more than a starter wine; a quasi-exposure to the world of wine. White Zinfandel in itself is like the bastard orphan that will never really be adopted into a family, left to grow up in the care of cruel orphanages and crueler foster parents. Itís the kind of wine that has no future, and itís past is one that can make you shed some tears.
Now, this is not to say that white zinfandel should be drawn and quartered, or that people that like to drink it are some Paleolithic Neanderthals, without even the ability to walk erect (I actually donít know in which age the Neanderthals existed). However, in the world of wine consumption, they are not viewed too far from it. White zinfandel is kind of like owning a hooptie; itíll get you there, but it might be a rough experience (shout out to all the hoopties and buckets, and please play Sir Mix-a-lotís My Hooptie, itís the bomb).
In the wine community, I would say the in a way, itís the equivalent of a hot dog on several levels. On one, once you can afford hot sausages and kielbasa, youíll never eat it again. On another, once you find out how itís made, youíll never eat it again.
And in reality, we all drink wine not only for the taste, but also for how it makes us feel. The main problem is that you have some people who believe that the actual effects of what we are drinking is determined by the label, cost, and assumed prestige that comes from drinking a particular brand or beverage. A cheap bottle of Booneís Farm will get you just a tipsy [or more] than a bottle of Dom Perignon 1992, though of course the ride will be rougher.
And I guess that in the real case of wine consumption, we are more or less comparing the quality of wines to automobiles. Different people swear by different cars, and in most cases, the people who are the most ardent enthusiasts either canít afford the vehicle, the insurance, or the upkeep. But life is like that; we covet the things that impress us that we canít haveÖ to the degree of our knowledge of whatís out there. I have heard that the ride of a classic Jaguar is smooth and legendary, and that it is easily surpassed by a Rolls Royce, which is almost never heard of not to start. However, at the same time, a [true] Cadillac or a Lincoln Continental, can offer comfort, luxury and dependability. And in the end, what counts is what you like, and at what price point you are willing to deal with. As I write this, I am drinking a Crane Lake Chardonnay (2005), which is greatly priced at only $4.99 a bottle, which is less than the average white zinfandel.
And back to white zinfandel, itís one of those wines that shows how much you actually have been exposed to, and how much you possibly know. Usually, I do a quick gauge of people by what they drink, and when they order white zinfandel, my first move is to expose them to something else. If after trying something else that they stick back with the white zinfandel, I tend to just leave them alone. Hey, donít get upset with me, I feel the same way about people who believe that they know beer and have a preference for Heineken or Guiness Stout.
But more to the point, if you are going to embark on a path of exposure to wine, good, bad and indifferent, then the first thing that you need to do is to say goodbye to white zinfandel.
Sure, it was a good friend that didnít burn through your pocket and was good enough for the lovers that you had in your life. But now, itís time to upgrade, and in that, there is no looking back. That friend that you had of yesteryear you have grown beyond. It had no future, and in that, it sealed itís own fate.
I am going to nirvana. Or Xanadu. Or wherever this path will take us.