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This is my first wine review on Ciao and could be my last if any of you wine buff's out there slaughter it. By the time this review is finished, the bottle probably will be too, especially with my two fingered typing technique, which might soften the blow. But I'll try anything once, so here goes.
To all extents and purposes rose wines are pale red wines made from red grapes. The exact colour is determined by how long the grapes are left to macerate (soak) and the judgement of the winemaker. Other rose's are actually just white wines that have red grape juice added during production, that's cheating if you ask me. White Zinfandel itself is an anachronism. It's neither a white nor a rose, but what is called a 'blush' wine. Probably the only American wine making term in wine vocabulary
Zinfandel, or vitis-vinifera to give it it's latin name, is a red grape variety grown almost exclusively in California. Research shows that it originated in Croatia and was taken to California by Austrian immigrants in the 1800's. Recent DNA testing has also revealed it to be identical in genetic make up to the Italian Primitivo grape, yet the two can produce vastly differing wines.
The Sutter Home was founded in the 1800's by a Swiss-German called John Thomann. Since 1947 it
has been owned by the Trinchero family. The winery is situated in the heart of California's Napa Valley. Probably the best known of California's wine producing areas.
WHERE FROM AND HOW MUCH?
Sutter Home White Zinfandel is widely available in most supermarkets and decent off licences. When it's not on special offer it retails for between £4.99 - £5.29. So far I've tracked it down in Safeway, Morrisons, Co-op and Somerfields. Several local off licences stock it too, one even has brown bags available if you know where there's a decent park bench nearby. Without spending all night looking I've located it on a couple of internet wine e-tailers as well;
www.everywine.co.uk £60.07 per 12 bottles www.websitewines.co.uk £4.99 per bottle
So it is out there!
CUT THE CR*P WHAT'S IT LIKE ?
It's available in a standard size and shape 75cl clear bottle with a white and pale brown label. The wine is pale pink colour, probably one shade lighter than salmon pink for want of a better description. Alcohol content is a relatively modest 9.5% so it may not be suitable for all you hardened drinkers out there. The upside of this is, that you can drink more. What's it taste like you ask. Well without lapsing into Jilly Goolden / Oz Clarke speak its a little something like this. Firstly it has a watermelon like aroma (I much prefer that word to boquet) On first tasting its quite sweet, however, this is soon overtaken by a taste of raspberries and strawberries. Watermelon then comes into the equation, followed by what can be best described as a creamy sensation. A crispy finish follows which does not linger too long in the mouth, basically leaving you wanting more and soon. I love this wine. The only wine I can compare it to is Blossom Hill Rose but this ones a modicum sweeter without being sickly in any way.
WHAT'S IT GO WITH ?
Anything you want really. I'm not one of those people who says you can't have red wine with fish ( if you want a big Barolo with your cod and chips you have it) and must only have white wine with chicken etc.. Have it with whatever takes your fancy. My recommendations are with pizza, tomato based Italian dishes and Chinese food (especially chicken chow mein). Sutter Home White Zinfandel is equally suitable for quaffing all on its own as well, as I am now (that's the wine not me - my wife is waving an empty glass at me right now).
However, you want. Strictly speaking rose's should be treated as reds and served at room temperature, but it's probably better served chilled. Twenty to twentyfive minutes in the freezer if you're in a hurry, otherwise 2-3 hours in the fridge if you have patience.
Best consumed within a year of purchase !!!! More like on day of purchase in this house. I'm considering putting our wine rack on e-bay as it's still in pristine condition. Seriously though, rose's are best drunk young and should you find a bottle made before 2000 it may not be very palatable.
I KNOW IT'S A ROSE BUT HERE'S THE GREEN BIT
Sutter Home wines may be neither organic nor fair trade, but I believe they do champion the green cause. The vineyards use what they call intergrated pest management technologies to minimise the use of pesticides. This basically involves planting crops alongside the vines which attract pest killing insects, such as ladybirds, which are partial to those pests which attack vines. The winery uses the latest technology to minimise water use during production. Normally 3-5 gallons of water are used to make 1 gallon of wine, Sutter Home use less than 10% of that. Moreover any waste water from the winemaking process is used to irrigate the vines. Recycling is a big thing at Sutter home too. Their cases contain 43% recycled material. So not only does it taste nice, it's doing it's bit for the environment too.
For more details log on to the Sutter Home website at;
DON'T WORRY I'M GOING NOW
Well the wine has gone now. Either I'm a slow typist or a quick drinker. It's the former, hic, honest. All in all a good value, nice tasting wine or as in the slightly mutilated lyrics of a Neil Diamond song a 'Cracklin Rose'
Nooooo, it's a myth. This wine should be well chilled. Chilling tones down the tannic taste and yet you will still be able to enjoy the fruitiness.
(If you like Rose then French is better value for money because of the export taxes the Yanks have to pay. Did you know that of a bottle of USA wine sold in the UK at least £2.20 of the purchase price tax?)