Saturday, December 13, 2008

**+ $ Sutter Home White Zinfandel, CA - Review and Rating

Find today's pricing and retail availability for Sutter Home White Zinfandel  .

Review: The Sutter Home Family Vineyards White Zinfandel from California is the second-most-widely-sold wine in restaurants in the United States, according to Restaurant Wine magazine. It is also very inexpensive and thus infrequently reviewed. Every now and then we perform a "take one for the team" service and provide a comprehensive review of very accessible, inexpensive wines. This seems especially appropriate in tough financial conditions, such as those being faced today.

Sutter Home Winery, based in Napa Valley, CA, was founded in the late 1800's and is best-known today for its ubiquitous White Zinfandel. In fact, Bob Trinchero, winemaker at Sutter, was credited in 1972 for the invention of this style of wine. Made from red zinfandel grapes, pressed early, and finished with residual sugar, White Zinfandel was a sensation with the public; over the next 15 years it became the top-selling premium wine variety in the United States.

The terms "white" (when speaking of a red grape), "blush" and "rose" are used somewhat interchangeably in the wine world, depending upon the fashion of the times. Generally, they refer to a process where red wine grapes are subjected to a very short time in contact with the grape skins. Since the skins generate the deep red color of red wines (the juice itself is clear), this brief contact creates the pleasant pink color of these wines. Similarly, because the skin contact is so brief, these wines are generally not built for age. (Skins impart tannins to the wine, which help make them ageworthy.)

Today, the White Zinfandel wine is one of only a dozen or so varieties produced at Sutter Home, which also produces Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Chenin Blanc, Moscato, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, and "white" versions of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Still, the White Zinfandel is king, representing an estimated 5 million+ cases of Sutter Home production.

In the glass, Sutter Home White Zinfandel is transparent, with just a hint of rose. Its aroma at cool temperatures is bright, reminiscent of chrome steel and fresh grass. Interesting. At cold temperatures, the aroma fades almost completely - just a tiny hint of grass.

On the palate, the first impression is of the broad, smooth and sweet middle. The finish is ripe, quick, with a residual sweetness. Friendly sweetness and mild acids trump any sort of notable flavors, especially at colder temperatures.

For the simple wine that Sutter Home White Zinfandel is seeking to be, it lives fully up to its intentions. For that it earns two stars out of five on the Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for its pleasing accessibility. Good value because of its exceptionally low-price.

Along with Copperidge White Zinfandel, it is one of my top suggestions in the friendly, easy, popular genre of White Zinfandels.

Find today's pricing and retail availability for Sutter Home White Zinfandel  .

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