As suggested by my equally cheapskate friend, Jan Roberts, I finally located the J.W. Morris Gewurztraminer at Trade Joe's (I had to ask a clerk--you know how we guys hate to ASK). It was also $2.99 (!) and the verdict: YUM!
It's off-dry -- actually, it's sweet, which is JUST the way I like my Gewurz!
Which makes me wonder: Why is there such hostility to sweet wines? Anybody making a wine that can sometimes be sweet, such as Gewurz, Reisling, or rose, feels compelled to point out that their wine is DRY! NOT SWEET!
They'll even give you the specific residual sugar content to PROVE that it's NOT SWEET! NO, NOT AT ALL!
If you think you taste the forbidden sweetness, it's because of the wonderful fruit they've managed to retain in the wine. That's fruit there, buddy -- not sweetness!
Even a wine that is indisputably sweet is described as "off dry." Never as "a little sweet."
Yet another crime to lay at the feet of White Zinfandel, no doubt.... A hundred times I've had to endure my (non-wine-professional) friends airily announce that they don't like sweet wines.
When pressed, they often reference their youthful indiscretions with White Zin.
Saying you don't like sweet flavors in wine because you drank White Zin when you were a kid is idiotic. It's like saying you don't like red wines because you've tried Mogen David, or Thunderbird. Or that you don't like white wine because you were once offered a Carl Rossi boxed Chard. ("Only once, and I didn't swallow.")
Idiotic. Any experienced wine drinker can point to sweet wines guaranteed to knock the socks off anyone with taste buds and a pulse. When I point out that some of the most expensive wines in the world are "stickies," people are dumbfounded -- and don't believe they'd like them anyway.
But try whites like Thomas Coyne's
As to Rose's, the recent RAP rose-wine festival in San Francisco illustrates my point exactly. Many of the makers, anxious to avoid being linked to the notorious White Zin, make a point that their wines are dry, dry, dry. Most are, of course, but the French importers had lined up their two-dozen roses along a table, on display from left to right, from driest to sweetest -- and it was an amazing education in the range of roses! The dry ones were wonderful, the off-dry ones were wonderful, and the lightly sweet ones were WONDERFUL!
Please, before you next dismiss sweetness as a flavor characteristic worthy of fine wines -- educate yourself beyond the cheap sweet junk wines of your youth (or the influence of your friends), and give you taste buds a chance to discover yet another world of wine you've overlooked.
Then, the next time you say you don't like sweet wines, you'll at least know what you're talking about. Not that I'll believe you anyway....