I never really fancied myself a wine person, but as I became older, I started liking it. Now I know that the concept of wine can be rather daunting and complicated for some and you can look like a down right idiot if you don’t know what you are talking about so hopefully this offers a bit of guidance. Think of this as a good place to start learning the very basics of wine. The key is to always be willing to try something new. All of the flavours are so different and you need to be willing and prepared to try them to find out which of them it is that you like. Think of it as discovering your favourite kind of cold drink or juice. It is all about preference which you developed over many years of your life and the same concept applies to your preference in wine. Don’t throw in the towel just because the first couple of wines you tasted weren’t to your liking.
Disclaimer: I am by no means a wine expert and no views shared below are professional by any means. It is some lessons and tips which I have learned in my experience with wine. There are also many elements to take into consideration such as temperature, wine region, how to properly taste wine etc. which I will not be covering in this post. If you want, I could do a longer post on this, but this is simply a guide to explain the basic flavours to those who have no clue and would like some help selecting their first bottles of wine. In addition I will not be using the proper “lingo”; instead I will use terms which the ordinary person can understand.
I would suggest starting with white wine as a beginner because the flavours tend to be more subtle (I find) in comparison to a red wine. Some of the important words which you need to know in connection with white wine are:
Chardonnay is one of the most versatile types of wines. It typically has a rather sweet fragrance and flavour (in comparison to other white wines); ranging from honey to fruity. A Chardonnay typically pairs well with a seafood dish.
A crisp flavour, Riesling is often paired with spicy food such as Thai or Indian. It contains more fruity flavours such as apple and pear.
A Sauvignon Blanc is typically known as a dry wine and pairs well with a variety of dishes such as seafood and more spicy dishes. Sauvignon Blanc tends to have a more grassy and sharp taste
In general, I tend to find red wine to be slightly more overpowering than white wine. They do tend to have stronger, richer flavours in comparison.
I would suggest a Merlot for beginners because it does tend to have a softer, more delicate taste. The flavours of a Merlot ranges from fruit flavours (such as blackberries) to chocolate and mint.
Consider a Cabernet Sauvignon to be the older brother of a Merlot. Because it has a longer time to mellow, this red wine is much stronger than the Merlot. However, they do tend to have similar flavours. Both a Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot tend to pair very well red meat dishes such as lamb and beef.
A Shiraz has very bold and spicy flavours and can sometimes be too overpowering for someone who is just starting out. The most common flavours one would find in a Shiraz would be a darker or deeper fruit. It also pairs excellently with red meat dishes, especially grilled dishes