Wine Time: 4 Tips For Wine Newbies

by Danielle Pointdujour

wine tasting

We’re not quite sure exactly what it is, but there is something about wine that makes most of us feel just a little bit more grown up.  That sexy little drink is perfect for everything from housewarmings and romantic dinners to just lounging around the house with a good book.

We love the feel of a wine glass in our hands and can hardly wait until we have a chance to take another sip.

The problem is most of us don’t know a thing about it!  We just go to the liquor store and pick up a bottle of that stuff we had somewhere that tasted good (and fits our budget!).  But there is so much more to wine than that!  If you’re a newbie just delving into the wonderful world of wine, here are a few tips to help you step your wine game up.  Cheers!

Be Adventurous
The number of wines out there for us to sample is seemingly endless!  From the sparking Cavas of Spain to the romantic reds of South Africa, don’t be afraid to try all the different varieties to find the ones you like.  Sure that Barefoot Pinot Grigio you had at your homegirl’s house was cool, but there are bigger and better wines out there just waiting for you.  Expand your palate, if you try something you don’t like that’s okay, it might take a while for you to find your perfect match.  The point is to keep trying!

Start at the Extremes
You know how they say you need to learn to walk before you run?  Well, the opposite goes for wine: it’s best to run before you walk. People often begin with what they know and build outwards, but that takes too long. If you move from New Zealand chardonnay to South African or Australian, it’ll take you a lifetime to reach Burgundy. But get there and you won’t go back.  Challenge your taste buds by trying something completely out of your comfort zone; this will help you to better figure out what wines work best with your palate.

Learn Wine Geography
Some people use the provenance of wine as a short-cut to thinking about how wines taste, so while the white wines of central Spain have a taste some think is reminiscent of the lemons and pears cultivated there, those made in the warmer south taste more tropical.  Most people incorrectly believe that different varieties of wine will provide the different taste notes, but actually, the same variety will taste different when grown in different places.  Knowing where a wine is from can help you better predict its taste and can also be helpful when buying wine for a dinner party.

Ignore Wine Snobs
The most important tip for wine newbies is this … pay no attention to the wine snobs.  You know, the people who tell you to taste and drink your wine the “right” way and spend more time sniffing their glass than enjoying the wine itself.  Just relax and enjoy the wine and moment for what it is and you’ll have just as great of an experience as any snob in the room.

  • omfg

    even though i am easing back from alcohol, i don’t want to completely give up wine.

    but, if i had to give advice, i’d say if you’re not using a decanter or aerator, open the bottle and let it site uncovered for several minutes. the taste will be different once the oxygen hits it.

    i’d also say that room temperature for red wine is actually cooler than most people think. it’s from 55 to 65 degrees, depending on the variety. red wine shouldn’t be warm or even what most people think of as room temp cuz that’s pretty warm.

    as far as snobbery goes…just remember that the snobbery is mostly for people who people not raised in a wine culture. in places where wine is part of food culture, it’s just the drink you consume with your food. some are better. some are homemade. it’s just another drink. and they even drink it out of homely glass jars. lol.

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  • Mademoiselle

    Wine newbies: make wineries your best friend! A lot of times they’ll have wine tastings that let you sample 5 or more wines for one set price. It’s a good way to figure out what you like without having to make through one bottle at a time. If you can’t make it to a winery (or if there aren’t any in your area), host a wine tasting night with your friends. That way it only costs you the price of one bottle, and you still get to sample several wines. :)

  • dirtychai

    I love wine. I think it’s something that once you get into it, you’ll find that you really enjoy. Another great way to sample different wines for free is to visit wine stores when they offer free wine tastings and discounts on purchases.

  • dirtychai

    My grandmother makes homemade muscadine wine. When I’m at home I just pour my Two-buck Chuck into a juice glass since I break the fancy glasses way too often.

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