Drinking Outside The Box

With Simon Woods – wine for people who have a life

Day Three – handbags at dusk March 15, 2008 at 9:48 pm

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White Zinfandel… For a wine enthusiast to confess to drinking it is like a music critic saying they like James Blunt, or for a film fan to put Porky’s II at the top of their all-time must-watch list. But it does have its advocates.

Long ago, before he gave up drinking, Tim Hanni used to spin a great yarn about the 100-point wine scale. His line was that all marks ran from 50 to 100 – but what were the first 50 points for? He reckoned for the occasion on which you drank the wines. So, for example, the wine is the legendary 1947 Cheval Blanc, surely a wine that deserves it’s full 50/50. But you’re drinking it with your bank manager, who has just called in your overdraft – a situation meriting just 2/50. Total score, 52/100. Tim at the time worked for Beringer, from whom he’d get White Zin at an extremely favourable price. And on a summer day, well-chilled (both the drink and the drinker), it merited maybe 20/50. But said Tim. ‘I’m drinking it with four Finnair stewardesses – 50/50!’ Total points 70/100 – better than the Cheval Blanc, in other words.

Sadly, I don’t have a quartet of trolley dollies this evening to help me polish off two best-selling White Zins (indeed, take this pair away, and both rose and American wine sales would plummet). So with just a keyboard and a mouse for company, let’s see how they fare…

Gallo White Zinfandel 2006
This is simple stuff, slightly sweet and confected, but there’s a gentle bramble flavour (bit like the purple ones in Opal Fruits/Starburst), plus a finish that, while not dry, manages to be sappy and refreshing rather than flaccid.

Blossom Hill White Zinfandel 2006
Paler than the Gallo, but more interesting? Not really. This is more in the fruit jelly mould of wines, with a touch of elderflower, but ultimately it’s rather too sweet and vague where the Gallo has some boldness.

However for wines I’m not supposed to like, these are certainly not undrinkable. Match of the Day’s on in a couple of hours and you know what, I’m even tempted to chill the Gallo down and have another glass later – in the meantime, I’ll just sing along to ‘You’re Beautiful’…

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