White Wine Stigma – A Newbie Signal
Updated: May 19
Have you felt the white wine stigma? Well, I can tell you it’s real and I’ve been “accused” of being a white wine lover. I may have even found myself on the accusing end of the stigma – shamefully I might add.
So, why the big deal of liking white wine? *Gasp*
As many of you know, our tastes evolve. As kids, we like very simple flavors like hot dogs and mac n cheese. Delish! Then our tastes evolve to much more complex food. To the point where chefs challenge themselves to come up with even more complex food fusions to entertain our taste buds.
Wine is no different. Most of us come up through white wine make our way into the light reds and then eventually land on the granddaddy of them all – Cabernet Sauvignon. Which I have to say, it seems that some only order Cabernet because that signals they’ve arrived!
As you can see there are a lot of misnomers out there.
Wine Lover’s Journey
Part of a wine lover’s journey is to start with white wine because it’s light, there are sweet options, and it’s an easy transition into the wine world. At one time, the entry point was White Zinfandel. I must admit that I specifically don’t order it because I don’t want to look like a newbie and unsophisticated in the ways of wine. However, White Zin is basically a Rosé. That beautiful pink drink that is taking on the world. Everything comes back around, doesn’t it!
Even Riesling has a newbie, white wine stigma because it’s made with a variety of sweetness levels which again signals you must be new to wine. However, just because it’s white doesn’t mean it can’t be complex. Riesling is one of the most sophisticated types of wine out there. It can be made from sweet to purely dry, able to age for decades, and pairs well with a wide variety of food. Not all wine is this versatile.
White Wine Stigma Played Out
I was recently at a wine dinner where our table mates were relieved to find that I liked red wine. It signaled I was “in the club.” Typically, at a wine dinner, they’ll start out with a few appetizers paired with different styles of white wine, then move to the entrée which is typically paired with red wine. It’s the perfect way for the wine producer to showcase their wide selections of wine. It’s also the perfect way to ease your palate from light flavors to bolder flavors.
Our table mates actually asked if I liked red or white wine. It was an either-or question. Interesting. Why can’t I like both? So, I told them I like a variety of white and red. They responded that they only like red wine. And it’s not just that they like red wine, they made it clear they don’t like white in a way that thumbed their nose at the idea. Oh, how pedestrian. (Must be said holding red wine with a pinky in the air while looking down the nose with the air of royalty.)
Another time, I was at a wine tasting at Binny’s (our local liquor store) and I had interacted with a few other patrons while we made our way around the different tables of wine. I was very excited about a Sancerre (aka Sauvignon Blanc – white wine) that I tasted and decided to purchase along with a red blend.
As I was leaving, one of the other wine tasters asked about my choices. When I showed him, he said in a very disappointing way, “Oh you like white wine.” (Que up the loser music.) Then to save face, I showed him the red blend I was purchasing as well. Shameful I didn’t stand up for my white wine selection!
White Wine vs Red Wine
Honestly, we all have different tastes. And it really is okay to only like white wine or to only like red wine. If that is where you’ve landed, then more power to you! Also, remember that our tastes evolve and if you get a chance to experience a broad spectrum of wine styles, go for it. You may be surprised where your taste buds take you next but don’t forget your roots.
Those “new-to-wine” options are no slouches and are still deserving of attention. Make sure to keep them in the mix. You may find new ways to appreciate them.
White Wine Lovers Unite!
If you like it, own it! There are so many fantastic types of wine out there, both white and red. Discover, evaluate, enjoy and remember white wine isn’t just for newbies! Cheers!