For as many wine lovers as there are, there are just as many who are too intimidated to dip their toes into the world of wine. With endless options of varietals, brands and bottles, it can be incredibly daunting to start your journey.
Sip & Savor is here to walk you through the defining characteristics of wine and which varietals are perfect for beginner. Let’s start by laying out some of the common terminology and what you should keep an eye out for.
What To Look For In Wines
The taste of wine is based on its body, flavor, and aroma features. All of these depend on the blend of grapes used, the vintner’s method, and how the wine is stored while it is aging. For beginners, we advise to stick with simple, less intricate wines so your taste buds can get a good sense of what you enjoy.
As a base point, most red wines have flavors such as:
- Dark fruits
On the flip side, most white wines have flavors such as:
- Citrus fruits
Debating the aromatics of wine tends to be reserved for the more astute wine drinkers, but it is an important aspect of the wine world. As you experience more and more wines, you will start to notice the subtle differences in aromatic notes.
There’s no denying that many beginners tend to drift towards sweeter wines. That’s not to say the lack quality or that they’re designed for new wine drinkers. In fact, many sweet wines like Rosé or Moscato are some of the most expensive wines in the world.
If you’re looking for sweeter wines while you’re shopping, keep an eye out for wines with a higher alcohol content as more alcohol will make the wine taste sweeter.
Wine grapes are like any other fruit in the fact that they contain acids that make them refreshing and crisp. From wine to wine, the acidity levels vary. The higher acidity a wine as, the sourer and tarter it will taste.
Keep note of what your palate enjoys and use it to decide what you’ll like moving forward. However, most new wine drinkers tend to enjoy wines with lower acidity.
Tannin is found mostly in red wines and sticks to your teeth and gums. This can be an unpleasant feeling for some new wine drinkers, and many tend to avoid wines with high tannins. Like many things in the culinary world, you might get used to the tannins the more you drink red wines and come to prefer them.
As your taste buds evolve, be sure to keep sampling different varietals to learn what you enjoy.
Best White Wines for Beginners
- Pinot Grigio: Pinot Grigio is one of the most popular wines in the world because it is very easy on the palate. These wines are light bodied and very crisp. While it’s not defined as a sweet wine, it does have a mild, fruity flavor that is great for drinking on its own or pairing with seafood.
- Chardonnay: These wines often are characterized by having apple or pear flavors with hints of toast, oak, or butter. It is typically a dry wine but can be fruity.
- Riesling: Rieslings have high acidity levels and can range from dry to sweet profiles. They often start with intense aromas of fruits like apricot, nectarine, peach, apple, lime, and pineapple.
- Sauvignon Blanc: Another crisp, refreshing wine with a light body and simple flavors. Often characterized by their kiwi or citrus notes, which makes it a great summer wine.
Best Red Wines for Beginners
- Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir is one of the best wines to pair with food. It’s often light to medium bodied and is a favorite red wine among many drinkers.
- Syrah Blend: Syrah wines tend to be on the fruitier side of reds. It is the most planted grape in Australia and is a rich, powerful, and sometimes even meaty red wine.
- Cabernet Sauvignon: Often a richer and fuller wine, Cabernet Sauvignons have high tannins and acidity which could be a turn-off for new wine drinkers. However, they also feature plenty of fruity flavors like berries and plums. They also have features of vanilla, chocolate and coconut depending on the vintner and place of origin.
- Zinfandel: Zinfandels are lighter in color than Cabernet Sauvignons and falls more in line with a Pinot Noir. They often have moderate tannins and high acidity, which makes for a bold taste profile. The primary flavors are jam, blueberry, black pepper, cherry, plum, boysenberry, cranberry, and licorice.
How To Start Your Wine Journey
If you’re looking for an easy way to delve into the world of wine, there’s no better solution that joining a wine subscription or wine club. These will do all the hard work for you and deliver quality wines right to your doorstep.
Sip and Savor’s quarterly and annual wine subscriptions deliver handpicked wines that are specifically chosen to help you enjoy the special moments in your life with loved ones.