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Cheap Buzz: Zin went the strings of Buzz's heart

Pink wines are a serious wine that’s gotten an unjustifiably bad rep.

Buzz: Hey, Marnie. My wife sent me to the store to stock up on white zin for Mother's Day. How can people drink that stuff?

Marnie: What's wrong with white zinfandel, Buzz? It may not be a "serious" wine, but there's nothing wrong with wines that are more fun than fancy. White zin is one of the top-selling wine styles, so a lot of people obviously like it. It's perfect for when you want something affordable that's lightly sweet and not too strong, such as at brunches and picnics.

Buzz: Ugh. I wouldn't be seen dead drinking something pink.

Marnie: Aha! So you condemn a wine you haven't even tried because you don't like how it looks. I'm sure there's a word for that.

Buzz: I don't like sugar in my wine, and pink wine looks like it belongs in Barbie's Dreamhouse.

Marnie: If sweet wines aren't for you, Buzz, that's fine. But don't write off rosés just based on color. Outside of white zinfandel, pink wines are more often dry. Look for pink wines with 13-percent alcohol or more, and they're likely to suit your drier tastes. It might be better for you to think of them as pale red wines, because that's essentially what they are.

Buzz: Really? I thought pink wines came from different grapes, the ones that look more reddish than purple.

Marnie: No, pink wines are made from the same dark-purple grapes used for red wines. The difference is that red wines ferment in contact with their grape skins for weeks, while pink wines are separated from their skins earlier - usually after only a few hours and no more than a couple of days.

Rosé wines were originally made in European regions where summers were too hot to grow green grapes or make good white wine. Winemakers still wanted something they could serve chilled in hot weather and with lighter foods, so they made a mashup - a wine made more like a white but with red grapes.

That's why you can find white zinfandel and red zinfandel wines at the store. The raw material is the same; the winemaking method is what makes them different.

Buzz: OK, Marnie, this week I'll think pink.