Experienced wine lovers often look down on inexpensive sweet wines. (OK gloves off, I’m talking about wine snobs.) I read a blog this morning that disparaged Sutter Home White Zindandel as a syrupy rosé wannabee. Well, maybe it IS a syrupy rosé wannabee, but these types of wines have an important, often unacknowledged, place in our wine world.
They introduce the novice gently into the wonders of wine.
My first tastes of wine were sips of Charles Krug Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon from my parents’ glasses when I was a kid. (Sorry for ratting you out Mom, but I’m pretty sure the statute of limitations is up on that.) Not surprisingly I liked the Chenin Blanc but hated the Cab. It tasted harsh to my young unformed palate. The Chenin Blanc, while by no means syrupy, was softer and much more approachable.
I’m not alone. Many people learn to love wine by starting with the sweeter types, usually whites. I have heard very few tales of people trying a young Cab early on in their wine tasting journey and loving it. In fact, I’m guessing many wine lovers would be embarrassed to admit an early favorite to their oenophile friends. (A jug of Carlo Rossi? A bottle of Boone’s Farm?)
But wherever we start, eventually most of us progress on to more adventurous tasting and an ever widening appreciation of wine in general.
So, even if you wouldn’t drink it on a dare today, don’t make fun of those fruit punch wines. They have started many a wineaux on the road to greatness.