Lose the intimidation and start your wine journey
The first bottle of wine that I bought was a bottle of Barefoot Pink Moscato that was on sale for $5 at the liquor store down the street from my apartment. It was inexpensive, pink—and the label said it was “deliciously sweet.”
And it was “deliciously sweet” to me, a 21 year old who hadn’t, at the time, much experience when it came it to drinking wine, and didn’t know where to begin.
All I knew was that there were white wines, red wines, and pink wines. Now, two years and several glasses of wine later, I can say that I like the wine my dad orders when our family goes out to dinner, that I favor white wine slightly more than red, and I’m not as lost in the wine section of a liquor store as I once was.
With the variety of wine available, finding a good bottle of wine to start out with can be a little intimidating. A good way to start working your way toward becoming the wine aficionado in your group of friends is to go to your local liquor store and ask for a recommendation. Those who work with wine know what’s popular and can help you find a bottle based on what you think you might like, what you’ve had, or the price range you’re aiming for.
What’s important to remember is that wine, like beer, is an acquired taste and that even the same varietal of wine differs from vintner to vintner, and from palate to palate. Recommendations can get you started, but your taste buds will make the ultimate decision.
With that being said, most wine drinkers recommend starting off with white wine and working your way to red. More specifically, those new to the wine club are recommended to start with sweeter wines such as a Moscato or a Riesling.
If you’re looking for a white wine that isn’t as sweet, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay are high in popularity. A Pinot Grigio, such as Rex-Goliath (a favorite of mine) is a good, dry-ish summer wine with a tangy bite left as an aftertaste. Also dry, Chardonnays are often described as having a rich and buttery, or even an “oaky” flavor, depending on how long they are fermented in oak barrels.
Red wines are frequently even drier and have darker, fruity flavors like cherries, blackberries and plums. Blended reds, such as Apothic Red, have zoomed up in sales. A blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot (some of the big names for red wine) this wine brings a mix of fruit, such as rhubarb and cherries, with spices and flavors like mocha and vanilla.
For those interested in trying one of the most popular red wines, Cabernet Sauvignon, one of my favorites is Dreaming Tree Cabernet Sauvignon, with flavors combining blackberries, cherries, and vanilla. The label is made with 100 percent recycled paper, the cork is recyclable (and has a cool poem printed on it)—and Dave Matthews is one of the winemakers.
Ultimately, the best way to figure out what you like in wine is just to try a little bit of everything. After all, most wine improves with age—and so does your knowledge of wine.