White Zin in South Africa. Argh.
Why in the world would I make up something like White Zin in South Africa? Actually, it’s been around for a while. But, as in many traumas that we experience in life, I had blanked it out of my memory. A series of events over the last several weeks brought this dismal (my opinion) fact back to my consciousness, and I’m finally addressing it head on.
When the Wineaux Guy and I went to the Paso Robles Zin Fest last month, the one wine that we didn’t taste was the Zinfandel Rosé. And it’s not because we turned up our respective noses to it; it’s because we just didn’t get to any of them in the crush (haha) of people and while tasting the wines of some fifty-plus wineries. Even our livers are limited.
Being in the middle of all of that Zin and all of the followup postings reminded me of a South African wine writer who visited the United States some time ago and was enthralled with a new, slightly sweet, refreshing wine made from uniquely American grapes. You guessed it. White Zinfandel. What? You didn’t hear my scream of anguish as I read those words?!?
Well as it turns out, Zinfandel is a new star in Africa and as of two years ago, one producer began making White Zin as a serious part of their very respected portfolio of wines. Not only that, but apparently there are a bunch (haha) of up-and-coming young South African winemakers who are doing to White Zin what we wish that American winemakers had done years ago; they’re tackling it head on to make it a serious contender in the Rosé – and overall wine – world.
Let’s go back to the first winery I was speaking of just a minute ago. Its name is Blaauwklippen, and they began their White Zin experiment with the 2007 vintage. What’s interesting – at least to my eyes and is the complete antithesis of American White Zin producers – they are using a green bottle and though I’ve only been able to look at it in pictures, the wine actually looks, well, *white*! One more bit of trivia is that while the words “White Zinfandel” appears on the label, they describe it as a “Zinfandel Blanc de Noir” in their written material.
All of my searches could find only this one winery with a current vintage, but more are certain to follow if the success of Blaauwklippen is any indication.
And I’m going to do the unthinkable – tell the story about the Rosé tasting that theVegas Wineaux Wine Club had last year. I know I had it *somewhere* in the lost files , but I’m writing this as a reminder. We had a Sunday brunch blind tastingof six different pink wines, one of which was a (aieeee!) White Zin. It’s pretty fair to say that quite a few of the members of the club are palate snobs…myself included. So the pressure was on. Without naming names, less than half of the participants figured out which one was the White Zin. ’Nuff said.
Tonight I’m going to be enjoying turkey breast, a salad, and a nice, budget-friendly Pinot Noir. Not a drop of White Zin in sight. But that doesn’t mean that it’s the end of America’s best-selling wine varietal in this blog.
Later on I’ll tell you about the site that has many recipes based on White Zin. Oh the humanity!
Oh! I almost forgot! I got some of my information from this really terrific little site calledStellenbauchery, a South Africa Wine Adventure, the diary of a young American woman named Julia Burke who relates her adventures living in South Africa during the current harvest season as an intern. This story is South Africa’s take on White Zin – Zinfandel Blanc de Noir – is a terrific read, as is the rest of her blog. Too bad her internship is coming to an end. She makes the adventures there fun. I’m telling you – it’s a movie in the making!