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by Fred McMillin
for September 8, 1999

 

When Bad Is Good

 

Prologue

My panel: This is a BAD wine.
Dr. R. G.: This is a GOOD wine.


The Rest of the Story

My panel includes a professional wine judge, a wine teacher, a sommelier, etc. They rated the wine worst of the tasting because:

IT HAD VERY LITTLE INTENSITY; IT DIDN'T DEMAND ATTENTION.

Dr. R. G. (who wishes to remain anonymous), unlike my panel, has not been busy with wine. Instead, she has been busy establishing the first WOMEN'S college in a certain Middle Eastern country, teaching art at the university level, etc. So, when over lunch she's talking to a book publisher rep, she wants a pleasant wine that...

HAS VERY LITTLE INTENSITY; IT DOESN'T DEMAND ATTENTION.

That BAD and GOOD wine was a White Zinfandel. Since experts eschew it and millions of busy Americans love it, I had Dr. R. G. (instead of my panel) taste an assortment of pink Zins and here is her (and my) favorite.


Wine of the Day

Delicato Family Vineyards 1998 White Zinfandel, California
Delicato Family Vineyards
Producer's Description—A wine for simple pleasure, pale-pink and lightly sweet.
Composition—Additional charming fruit from 11% Muscat of Alexander and 4% Malvasia. Will It Sell?—Delicato has been a White Zin leader for two decades. The 1998 production... 150,000 cases!
Price—$5


Postscript

White Zinfandel appeared on the planet in the 1970s, and enjoyed an enormous boom in the 1980's, all pretty much produced in California. However, its potential was recognized a century earlier. Professor George Husmann is best known for his 1888 comment about the high quality of the BEST samples of California Zinfandel: "Unfortunately, these BEST samples are like angels visits, few and far between."

White Zinfandel-Less known is the professor's comment in the same book that by pressing lightly until the juice assumes a red tinge, the ZINFANDEL can make a delightful WHITE wine.

 
About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

 
 

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