White Zinfandel was not the first rose to become exceedingly popular in the modern era. GIs returning home from Europe after World War II had developed a taste for European wines including roses. Wine companies in Portugal took advantage and marketed Mateus and Lancers Rose here with great success until they were killed off by the White Zin craze.
White Zinfandel and the generic blush category were a noticeably sweet 2.5% residual sugar which coincided time-wise with a youthful wine culture generationally raised on soft drinks. Packaging of these wines also reflected an immature culture with small four packs of the wines merchandised in stores with another hot category of the times the wine cooler which ironically was usually malt-based...so these were not serious products. Now White Zinfandel has finally fallen in popularity with the rise of drier roses. For even more White Zin irony consider this: White Zinfandel's popularity probably saved a lot of old Zinfandel vines that were slated to be uprooted for Merlot, Cabernet, and other vines that could be more commercially viable twenty-five years ago. Those old vine Zinfandels in the right hands today are proving to be quite delectable in their own right.
So essentially what is it that makes rose popular? For those of us who view wine as food and a part of the dinner table, rose is the quintessential dinner wine, i.e., it goes with anything. You have hot and spicy cuisine? Garlicy Italian? Barbecue? Stews? It's rose. Any kind of salad? Rose. Surf and turf? Rose goes with both. Picnics? Come on.
Now how about as a cocktail? In the nose you may get aromas of grapefruit, banana, red currant, strawberry, raspberry, almond, cut hay, or linden. Common rose flavors may include: strawberry, raspberry, cherry, and maybe, citrus or watermelon. What's not to like about that?