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Dear Dr. Vinny,
What are the differences between white Zinfandel and French rosé?
—David P., Los Angeles
Most rosés, French and otherwise, are dry wines made from red wine grapes with white winemaking practices. By limiting the juice’s exposure to the grapes’ skins, where the pigment is found, the color stays pale. (Some rosés are also made by blending red and white wines together.) Most rosés are dry and crisp, and my favorite thing to pair with French fries.
White Zinfandel was a happy accident. A batch of Zinfandel rosé that was intended to be dry suffered what’s known as a “stuck fermentation,” when the sugar doesn’t completely convert to alcohol. The slightly sweet result has become a huge success, even if it’s not appreciated by the wine-snob sect. That sweet note in white Zinfandel is the big difference between it and most other rosés.
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