Why Hate White Zin?
It's valentine's weekend around the Door. It's hard to avoid bumping in to heart shaped food and a classic combination of strawberries and chocolate. We think about reds and pinks.
The wine world is no different with bottles of soft, pink blushes making their way to romantic endeavors, unless you're a wine snob. Why all the hate on White Zinfandel? If you ask a master sommelier, most pros will tell you they can't stand the stuff. It's not one of their personal selections, but you can't deny that its always a core selection from store shelf to restaurant wine list.
Truth be told, it's not my favorite either. White Zinfandel has a bad reputation at times because some people believe it's the wine people drink when they don't actually like wine. It's often made with relatively low-quality grapes and blended into a consistent house style that can mask the types of grapes it's made from and where the grapes are grown. It's also on the extremely affordable end of the wine-cost spectrum, which some people will only see as cheap. Plus, sweetness can take the edge off of a simply wine, and it can also mask a wine's flaws, if it has any. If you are a sweet wine hater, I'm here to tell you to GET OVER IT!
I was looking for a Valentine's gift, a pink wine, when I stopped at the Door 44 tasting room just north of Sturgeon Bay to find Shelia at the tasting bar. Of course she invited me to taste. I was in a hurry, but thought, "Why not? It's wine... twist my arm." I'm glad I did! Listed as a semi-sweet rose wine, the Frozen Tundra Original from Door 44 just became one of my favorites. This wine is made from cold-climate grapes, the varietal Frontenac, from their estate just south of here, grown on the frozen tundra (can't dispute that this winter). This brightly hued blush is crisp. Indicative of cold climate grapes, a green tartness and crisp fruit note gives a gentle attach to the front palate, followed by a light sweetness and a bright, clean finish. Plus, for a blush, the finish lingers briefly like eating a tart cherry and the acidity makes your mouth water for another taste.
Door 44 will have two new releases hit the tasting room this spring. Make a point to try more of their cold climate varietals, like Seyval Blanc, St. Pepin late harvest, La Crescent, and Frontenac Gris (those are all the names of the grapes for those of you unfamiliar with varietals around the Midwest). The vines are young and the growing season it tough for these grapes, but the Door 44 winemaker is doing a great job of convincing them to be delicious wines. Door County has some terrific, well-balanced wines and I found my new favorite blush this week. Keep on tasting!