The world of wine can be quite overwhelming. As kids, we are told that we are not allowed wine, that it is for grown-ups. If we do sample it at a youthful age, we are told we will only enjoy the taste of it as an adult. That can often end true for some, and not for others.
Wine can often be portrayed as a high-end product. Often in films when mages of rich and sophisticated people are eating on screen, they are drinking wine. Not only this, but they are regularly drinking wine in quite a sniffly, unappealing way. There is often the implication that it is a drink for the elite, stuff people that have more money than sense.
Winemaking does have roots in affluence. Many famous wines come from Châteaus in France, large estates that have vineyards and produce their own wines. This is how many wines were first created en-masse to the public, and probably part of the problematic perception of wine drinkers in the world today.
For these reasons and more, people can sometimes feel a little bit intimidated when choosing a wine. That, and the fact that there are seemingly endless grape varieties, blends, countries of origin, and styles that makeup wines. What is the best wine to drink, and when?
We will lay out a few easy steps that we think are helpful when getting into wine, some great wine for beginners, and some ways to progress into different wines. Bare in mind, it all comes down to personal preference. We will mention that a few times over this document but just keep this in the back of our heads for now.
Drinking Wine vs Drinking Wine With Food
There is a big difference between drinking wine just to enjoy a bottle and drinking wine to accompany food. Wine has the potential to accompany food from almost every culture, across almost every continent. Certain flavor profiles within wine have been known to elevate the flavor of certain dishes when paired correctly or creatively.
First, we can cover some great wines to drink without food. One that stands out right out of the gate is any sparkling wine. Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, and Sparkling Wine are all fantastic tasting, wonderfully flavorful, social drinks to enjoy without food.
You might be wondering why these varieties all have different names. The short answer is that Champagne is from a specific region in France, Prosecco comes from Italy, and Cava comes from Spain. Any sparkling wine that comes outside of those regions is considered a sparkling wine.
There is a huge range of flavor profiles in sparkling wine. There are more dry options, those tend to be the more expensive. This bottle of Bollinger is a great option if you are looking for a mid-shelf, dry Champagne. This bottle of Louis de Sacy Grand Cru Rose is going to be a slightly sweeter option for those who desire it.
Once you know what wine you like, you can have literally any type on its own, without food. In the meantime though, we should look into the best wine to drink with food. A great red wine for beginners is any Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon. They are some of the most popular in the world and work really well with a lot of dishes.
We think this Kendall Jackson Vinters Reserve Pinot Noir is fantastic. Grown in the Sonoma region of California, this bottle is going to be full-bodied, with deep flavors, and a rich mouth feel. This bottle would go incredibly well with red meat dishes, stews, ragus, tomato-based sauces, or desserts. Pinot Noir in California tends to be richer and more full-bodied than those grown in France.
Here at CWS, we believe that every region has the potential to produce some incredible wine. We stock a huge number of ‘new world’ wines (meaning they were not produced in France, Spain, or Italy).
Another Californian wine that we could really recommend is this Bella Grace Viognier. With some light, zesty flavors, this crisp white is the perfect accompaniment for so many fish, pasta, and rice options. Try chilling this bottle and serving it alongside some grilled salmon.
Lastly, an important piece of information about wine for beginners is the time of day. For lunch, most people drink white wine. People regularly speak about how red wine makes them sleepy, and sluggish, and want a nap when consumed during the day. So, it is probably best to serve up some light, zingy white wine to keep people going throughout the day.
Pairing Wine With Your Surroundings
With many alcoholic beverages, preference can change depending on your surroundings. A nice cold beer at a bar watching some sport is a universal favorite. A cocktail in the sun never goes amiss. A glass of brown liquor after dinner is also a favorite. The same often applies to wine.
Assuming you enjoy most kinds of wines, the best wine to drink will often change. When it is hot people often flock to rose wine. It is often light, works really well when it’s ice cold, and responds the best when you add ice to it.
When it is a cold winter evening you want something warming and full. Red wines work really well here, and syrah/shiraz is often the red wine for beginners in this context. The best wine to drink is always the one that makes you feel the most pleasure and enjoyment, and red wine is sure to do that on a cold evening.
Also Read - Pair Wine With These Special Moments
We don’t always get access to certain countries’ wines in the western world. A lot of amazing countries do produce fantastic products. We recommend that the best wine for beginners when traveling is the local wine. Regional produce in Europe, South America, and Oceania is incredible and suits their climate fantastically. We suggest getting local guidance when traveling.
You don’t always have to try the French wines and always stick to the same, you might discover something new and incredible that might open a whole host of new doors for you.
Essentially, the best wine for beginners is any wine as you will pick up information and discover your preferences by trial and error. It is really rare that any bottle is so bad you actively dislike it, most are at least drinkable. There isn’t really a huge loss to incur by not making the correct choice.
Also Read - 5 Varieties of Red Wine Grapes
Lastly, start with more affordable wines and move up to the more expensive wines so you can taste the difference. If you go in guns blazing choosing the best and most expensive wines you can find, you will be more easily let down when you try a newer, more affordable bottle. Find whatever varieties appeal to you and then treat yourself to an older, more refined version of the same variety.