Best Grenache: Clos Figueras Serras Del Priorat 2018
Courtesy of Vivino
Region: Spain, Priorat | ABV: 14.5% | Tasting Notes: Blackberry, Raspberry, Cherry, Cassis.
The Priorat region of Catalonia experienced a new revitalization in the past 30 years after going dark as a center for wine production. This was an unfortunate oversight, but youll be glad it’s made a comeback because the area is a hotbed for some of the best grenache-based wines in Spain. To sweeten the appeal, many of its wines offer an incredible bargain. If you want to get acquainted with the Mediterranean zip of Priorat, this 2018 bottle from Clos Figueras is a great place to start.
Best Wines For Beginners
After learning how to taste wines and what to look for, lets explore wines that many beginners enjoy. Dont let the wine snobs intimidate you. Wine is delicious and meant to be enjoyed by everyone. Turn everyday meals into extraordinary events or make long-lasting memories with friends just by adding a bottle of wine.
The first decision is whether you want to try red or white wines. Both are made from grapes, but the difference in color comes from the skins and the production process. Another notable difference is the tannins. Tannins give red wines texture and, generally, the darker the wine, the more tannin it possesses. White wines have some tannins, but they are usually described more in terms of acidity. Rosé wines are pink-hued and achieve this color by fermenting for a short time with the red skin of the grape. Rosé generally has light tannins.
Red wines are normally served at room temperature as the tannins can taste bitter when chilled. White and Rosé wines have low tannin contents and taste delicious when served at the proper cool temperature .
In addition to Red, White, and Rosé wines, there are also dessert wines and sparkling wines. Dessert wines tend to be sweeter, are fortified with alcohol, and served with dessert. Sparkling wines have significant carbonation which can happen naturally during the fermentation process or be added in by the winemaker.
Popular wine varieties for beginners include:
What Is The Famous Wine
Cabernet Sauvignon. With flavors of black currant, anise and black pepper, cabernet sauvignon is the most popular red wine. Bold and rich, cabernet sauvignon is grown in almost every wine-growing region in the world. Most famously coming from Napa and Bordeaux, cabernet sauvignon is also widely grown in South America.
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Good Wine For Beginners
You have probably heard from both friends and experts many times that any wine you like is a good wine. This is true if simply enjoying wine is your goal. You dont have to do more than take a sip, give it a swallow and let your inner geek decide yes or no. The end.
Its true that figuring out what you like is an important component of wine tasting, but its not the only component. Quickly passing judgment about a wine is not the same as truly understanding and evaluating it. If youre tasting properly, you will be able to identify the main flavor and scent components in every wine you try you will know the basic characteristics for all of the most important varietal grapes, and beyond that, for the blended wines from the worlds best wine-producing regions. You will also be able to quickly point out specific flaws in bad wines.
Dipping Your Toes In The World Of Vino These Bottles Are Where To Start
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Learning to love wine doesnt have to be intimidatingin fact, it shouldnt be! Wine is fun, especially when you learn how to choose the right bottles. But which bottles are the right bottles, you ask? Its simple. The right wines for you are the wines that taste good to you. The ones youd be happy to drink again. It doesnt matter what the critics say, or what your best friend says, or what your server in a restaurant says everyones palate is unique and there are no universal rules.
That said, there are some guidelines that can be helpful to follow when youre just getting started. Many beginners tend to prefer wines with straightforward fruit flavors, low tannin , and moderate acidity, as these tend to be the easiest wines to drink. As you explore, youll learn more about what you like and dislike, which will help you select the best wines for your personal preferences. In the beginning, you might want to stick to inexpensive wines in case you buy something thats not quite right for you. As you get to know your palate, youll be more confident in picking out special-occasion splurges.
To kick start your journey through the wine world, here are the best wines for beginners to drink right now.
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Light Red Wine For Beginners
Lighter red wines that are medium-bodied work well for those who are newer to reds. The selections highlighted below are a safe bet if you want to avoid the sweeter options and simply enjoy a bottle that fits the middle ground varietal scene:
- Merlot Fruity, spicy, very soft, and less tannic than Cabernet sauvignon
- Pinot noir Delicate and fresh, characterized by very soft tannins with fruity aromas
- Zinfandel Typically zesty, this varietal ranges from medium- to full-bodied and dry to off-dry
Benefits Of Diving In At The Ground Level As A Wine Beginner
World-class vineyards like Brooks see terroir as the guiding principle to making exquisite wines, expressive of the land from which they come.
These vineyards prioritize land stewardship and soil health through their biodynamic and regenerative organic practices to make sure expression of the land is uninhibited and preserved for generations to come.
These responsible growing techniques not only propagate the healthiest vines and produce the richest wines, they also protect their growing region from erosion and climate change, ensuring wine-production well into the future.
To learn more about how to discern responsible growing practices and the characteristics of great wine, be sure to check out our complete guide on how to choose a good wine!
When your quest for new wines starts at ground level , youre opting for the best of the best in quality and sustainability. Heres our case for why farming practices are the best Northern Star you could have next time you take to the wine aisle:
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Three French Red Wines To Open In A Couple Of Months
6 & 7. Chinon and Bourgueil
Often over-looked for red wines, parts of the Loire Valley are committed to the Cabernet Franc grape variety. Wines from appellations such as Chinon and Bourgueil are considered to be the benchmark for this distinctive red grape. Savory and earthy, Cabernet Franc is less tannic than its offspring and is quite versatile when it comes to wine and food pairing.
Malbec is the star of Frances Cahors appellation. South of Bordeaux, Cahors is the birthplace of Merlot. The wines of Cahors are surprisingly different from popular Argentinian versions. Deeply pigmented and full of flavor with polished tannins, these wines are perfect for cold weather fare.
Best Merlot: Ck Mondavi Merlot
Courtesy of Drizly
Region: California, Napa | ABV: 13.4% | Tasting Notes: Plum, Cocoa powder, Blackberry, Oak.
Look, merlot is the one grape that suffered a disgracing setback for an entire two decades, all because it got disparaged in a movie. Some people are still out there giving merlot the stink eye. But you wont. Oh no. Youre going to try a glass of this sustainably farmed, Dunnigan Hills AVA-sourced bottle of merlot from CK Mondavi, one of the most respected names in wineand youre going to understand and appreciate merlot for the silky deliciousness that its always been. Just one taste, and as if by magic, youll know more about merlot than some experienced wine drinkers.
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The Modern History Of Wine
From 1492 through 1600, the wine was brought to Mexico and Brazil by the Spanish conquistadors and spread across South America. Chiles first winery was established in 1554 by Spanish missionaries. In 1556, the missionaries traveled to the Mendoza region of Argentina and began to plan the regions first grapes.
Wine production started briefly in Florida from 1562 through 1564. The French Huguenots used native grapes around the area of Jacksonville, but they did not like the taste and ceased production.
The 1600s witnessed the first attempt at using glass wine bottles. The bottles were unfortunately stored upright which caused the corks to dry out and lose their seal.
In 1619, France imported French grapevines to Virginia and began cultivating wine there. Wine spreads over the eastern seaboard, but it is not immediately popular due to the areas Puritanical roots.
Around 1650, in the region of Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc naturally cross-pollinate and Cabernet Sauvignon is created.
As the Dutch East India Company colonized South Africa in 1659, they needed to supply wine to sailors for the long trip back to Europe. They planted vines and started wine production.
In 1740, wine bottles were redesigned to be laid flat. This created the ability to age wines longer.
Discovering Different Wine Types
A wine beginner might know the basic differences between a red and a white, but its also important to learn all the wine types and varietals. You can explore everything from Chardonnay to Viognier and Cabernet Sauvignon to Zinfandel in our guide to the most important red wine grapes and white wine grapes.
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Sweet White Wines For Beginners
Here’s a fascinating fact: the world’s first designated wine region wasn’t Bordeaux or Champagne it was Tokaji , a region in Eastern Hungary specializing in sweet white wines. In 1737, people gave it official recognition.
Rutherglen Muscat is considered one of the sweetest whites in the world! Late in the season, when the grapes are dry and somewhat brown, they are harvested to concentrate the sweetness.
The result is a hauntingly sweet wine with rich scents of caramel, dried strawberries, and hazelnuts. Despite its excellence, this wine is incredibly inexpensive. A bottle costs roughly $18.
How To Know Which Sweet Wines Are Good
Some more experienced wine drinkers might turn their nose up at certain sweet red wines. This is completely understandable: in recent years, the market has become saturated with cheap, low-quality sweet red.
Look past the top shelf, though, and there are plenty of sophisticated sweet wines that can go head-to-head with prestigious vintages in taste, aroma and price.
We will list some of our top picks below, but first, heres some tips on how to know a good sweet wine when you see it:
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Best Ros: 2020 Pratsch Ros
Courtesy of Wine.com
Region: Austria | ABV: 11.5% | Tasting Notes: Strawberry, Watermelon, Peach, Raspberry
Rosé has been having a moment for a while now, so there are many great options to choose from in a wide range of styles. For beginners, we recommend a light, dry style with lots of fresh, vibrant fruit, like this high-value gem from Austria.
Its made from the zweigelt grape, a locally popular variety that is known for bright berry flavors accented with a hint of black pepper, reminding us a lot of pinot noir. Succulent strawberry, watermelon, raspberry, peach, and pear notes are lifted by vibrant acidity and a hint of hibiscus perfume in this refreshing pink wine that makes a perfect companion to parks, picnics, and pools.
Marqus De Riscal Rioja Reserva 2012
Aged wines at meager prices are what makes buying from Rioja so good. Their Rioja Reserva 2012 spent three years aging in the winery before bottling.
One of the oldest wineries in Spain, Marqués de Riscal, has been producing quality wine for over 150 years. The region where it sits is ideal for making wines that immensely improve with age. Its high mouthwatering acidity levels have created an environment perfect for crafting these fantastic wines that can only get better as they sit on your shelf.
The remaining 10% is made up by Graciano and Mazuelo, making for an exquisite final product with beautifully rich colors and crisp tasting notes. All the time and care put into its creation results in superb red wines full of body and flavor that can please everybody.
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What’s The Difference Between Red And White Wine
Okay, you probably dont need any help recognizing a white wine versus a red wine. They look different and they certainly taste different as well. But its worth your while to understand why these types of wine look and taste so different. The culprit in both cases: the skins, and a little something they bring to the party called tannins. Remember the word tannin and what it means, because wine people talk about tannins a lot.
Best Sweet: Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Port
Courtesy of Wine
Region: Portugal, Douro | ABV: 19.5% | Tasting Notes: Cherry, Chocolate, Raisin, Red plum.
If youre going to go with something sweet, the best place to go to is Portugals Douro Valley, home of its world-famous national treasure, Port wine. Not only is Grahams Six Grapes Reserve super tasty, but its also an excellent example of the heights Port wine can reach. Tip for beginners: In part due to the sugar content, a little Port goes a long way, and it retains its flavor for a couple of months after popping the cork. Just store it in a cool place. Its a great wine to savor over time.
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The Best Wine For Beginners
Every wine drinker needs a launching pad, and we think the vineyard is the best place to start. So the question then is what are we picking up once weve found the winemaker we trust?
Often, a wine for beginners can be synonymous with a wine thats basic in quality and complexity. The idea is to ease you into the good stuff which will save you splurging on a fancy bottle before you are ready to appreciate each taste, tone, and texture the bottle has to offer.
As you get started , price is determinative. When the story behind the wine is so interesting and world saving, and the process behind each bottle involves attention to every single detail, price and quality arent necessarily at odds.
This is another reason we love Brooks. Accessibility to high quality wines is their forte.
If you want some guaranteed bang for your buck, consider less common wine varieties. We also highly recommend a wine club if you have the option. Wine club members get discounts on vineyard inventory and they often get access to more obscure, limited edition, or specially procured wines. You find a vineyard you like and trust, and they will take care of you. This makes for a spot-on gift for a wine lover.
Understanding Wine Is A Process
Take the next month to buy one new bottle of wine a week . Uncork and take a few moments to taste and describe it using the descriptors above. Make sure you try a different type of wine each week and repeat the same process. At the end of the month you’ll start to feel more comfortable with the vocabulary of wine, which can have a profound effect on your enjoyment.
At the end of the day, you really cant make a wrong choice. As long as you pay attention to what it is that you dont like about a wine, each bottle will get you closer to what you do like. Take it one glass at a time and dont be afraid to admit it if you cant quite put your finger on something. Focus on enjoying your winethats the entire point.
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Laurent Perrier Cuvee Rose
First off, the gift cages are gorgeous. The cuvee rose brut is delicious. It is a very delicate taste and very enjoyable. Created in 1968, this is the rose that put pink on the map for both men and women. Great taste, colour, aroma. Full richness of flavour, you cant go wrong with a bottle of this classic.
Vasse Felix Filius Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
The Vasse Felix Filius is an affordable wine with an earlier drinking style. It has the structure, power, and tannins of traditional Cabernet made from fruit sourced from each vineyard at Vasse Felix.
This dry red wine is vivid maroon in color. The aroma has rich blackcurrant and cherry notes complemented by damp earthiness and the vibrant Malbec.
Alongside this fruity distinction, there’s an excellent depth in flavor from savory beef stock and dried herbs like cedarwood that offer texture on the palate and a dry finish reminiscent of classical Cabernet style wines.
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Antinori Villa Toscana 2015
This wine combines mostly Sangiovese with minor additions of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and syrah. It offers a deep ruby color, with complex aromas of red fruit, sweet spices, and dried fruits.
Antinori Villa Toscana IGT is full-bodied but round and supple in the mouth, with rich tannins that leave you wanting more after each sip.
This dry red is rich with dark fruit flavors that are perfect for a chilly night. It’s still light enough to be refreshing, adding to its appeal. Cherries and plums give it just what you need on those nights where comfort food fits best. This would make an excellent pairing when served alongside lamb sausage or pasta.