Have you ever come across complex terminology related to wine? The wine industry is flush with jargon that includes descriptions such as ‘strong-backbone’, ‘volatile’ (no, they aren’t more likely to explode), and even ‘tight’. This can be confusing, even intimidating, to know what’s the best wine for beginners.
Fortunately, this article won’t be using any of those terms. If you’ve harbored an interest in what exactly all the fuss regarding good wine is about, we have you covered. This article discusses the basics of wine, some terms you should know when talking about them, and some bottles you might want to consider as a beginner.
A Crash Course on the Best Wine for Beginners
We promised we wouldn’t use any technical terms, but as a budding wine connoisseur, you need to start somewhere. Moreover, studies show that being able to read complex descriptions on wine bottles can actually improve the taste of the drink. Still, we’ll keep things simple. This section covers three common terms related to wine: tannin, acidity, and body.
More than 95% of the wine is just alcohol and water. Tasteless. The real magic is derived from the remaining ~5%, which can contain a wide range of ingredients. These include herbs, aromatics, spices, etc. Variations in production methods are also employed to obtain specific results, such as higher alcohol content, different notes and flavors, and others.
As you begin to learn more about wine, you’ll eventually find yourself searching up the best wine glasses to drink from. Let us make your life easier with these wine glasses, we have some in our office already too!
Wine can be characterized in several ways, based on different characteristics, but the one we’ll use in this article consists of only one major distinction: sweet and dry.
Sweet vs Dry Wines
Sweet wines are generally recommended for beginners since they are easier to appreciate than dry wines. Dry wines contain a compound called tannin which sticks to the roof of your mouth and teeth to give a strong astringent texture. It is also bitter, so if you don’t like bitterness, drink wine with caution.
Fortunately, only red wines usually contain tannin, which is derived from the skin of a grape. White wines utilize only the juice from grapes, leaving the skin and seeds out.
The hallmark of good wine is achieving a fine balance between a sweet, sour, salty, and bitter taste. Of the four, the first two are the more important factors, making acidity an important determinant of fine wine. Besides tannin, you might also want to be careful of highly acidic wine. This can be ascertained by how sour the wine tastes. A good way of judging the acidity of a drink is to notice whether it produces saliva in your mouth. Less acidic wine holds broader appeal among beginners.
Body of Wine
Lastly, the body of wine determines how viscous, or heavy a wine is. It is determined by the glycerin, alcohol, and sugar levels in the bottle. There are three grades when it comes to the body of a wine: strong, light, and medium. Most beginners prefer lighter wines to start with. Some light wines include Schiava wines, Pinot Noir wines and Bobal wines.
Some Versatile Choices for All Newbies
An important thing to keep in mind while choosing an appropriate wine is to pair it well with your usual meals. Some wines are aperitifs, meant to be consumed before the meal begins. Some are table wines, intended to be had alongside food, while others are dessert wines that go best with chocolate. Evidently, dessert wines tend to be sweeter, while aperitifs are generally drier, and higher on tannin. This is merely one in a list of many factors that might be more relevant to you. Having said that, here is a list of some of the best wines you can try as a beginner:
This wine goes against all the advice we presented in the last section. Cabernet Sauvignon is a red wine that can come in a variety of tastes and makes. It is medium to heavy-bodied, and generally features a heavy dose of both, tannins, as well as fruity, aromatic elements such as vanilla, chocolate, etc. The bitterness might make Cabernet Sauvignon unsuitable for some beginners, but it is a classic wine enjoyed by all ages and is definitely one of the first you must try.
Another red wine, Pinot Noir is a light drink that is low on tannins. It also contains fruity flavors, but despite both these factors, Pinot Noir is a dry wine. Still, it is one of the less bitter red wines out there. The Noir is made with some of the oldest grapes that are known to man. While selecting, you might come across names like Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc instead of Noir, but these are all made with genetically identical grapes. As such, they can taste similar, despite the difference in color and names.
Everyones favorite and the first drink on this list with no tannins at all. Chardonnay is both, the name of a grape and of the white wine made from it. Like Pinot Noir, it is a dry wine that comes with many flavors including apple, butter, and many more. However, it is usually a heavy-bodied drink. Like the preceding entries on this list, Chardonnay is a classic and its taste can vary a lot depending on where it was produced, so make sure to read the label thoroughly.
Rieslings can range from anywhere between very sweet to very dry depending on the ripeness of the grapes and the process of production. However, it is generally a light-bodied drink with low acidity and myriad fruity flavors. German Rieslings, in particular, are very famous.
Which Wine Will You Give a Try Now?
Figuring out what you like in wine can be a very intimidating exercise at first. Navigating your way through the terms and names can seem like a chore, but it doesn’t have to be so complicated. Most sommeliers at restaurants and salesman at shops are happy to assist anyone with an interest in the drink.
Thanks for reading with us here on Wine On My Time, if you’d like to see more about wine just view the rest of our articles here. Let us know what you want answered about wine or anything related to it, we’re more than happy to write for you! Also, if you’re interested in more best wines, check out the best wines for cooking here and whip up some delicious meals!
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