Best Wine for Beginners: Start Your Wine Journey Here

By Tammy Wunsch, Expat Writer

Wine, at its most basic, can be described as an alcoholic beverage produced from fermented grapes. Different varieties of grapes are used with various yeast strains to produce a wide array of wines, from red to white to rosé.

Perhaps you have recently decided to see for yourself why so many people are so particular about their wine. Where do you start? What should you know about wine? How do you decide if you like a specific type of wine or not?

These questions and more will be answered by the time you reach the end of this article, as well as a guide to the best value wines for beginners. Dive in and begin your exciting journey to becoming a wine connoisseur, or at least someone who enjoys wine.

History of Wine

Modern man may mistakenly view themselves as the first true wine connoisseurs, but wine has been around in some form or another since about 7,000 BC. Tribes from the Yellow River Valley of China in the Henan province produced a fermented rice/honey/fruit wine that was then stored in earthenware jars. The fruit used may have been wild grapes species that are native to China – there are nearly 50 different wild grape species which originate there.

In 4100 BC, the oldest winery was founded in Armenia. Winemaking facilities with earthenware vessels buried in the ground have been discovered from around 4000 BC in Israel, Georgia, and Iran.

As the Pharaohs rose to power in Egypt in 3100 BC, red grapes were used to produce a wine-like substance. Due to the color resemblance to blood, the wine was used in many ceremonies. The Egyptians introduced the Phoenicians to wines and the Phoenicians began to cultivate the grapes and spread the vines around the world.

A wine cellar dating from 1700 BC was discovered in Northern Israel. Archaeologists determined that more than 500 gallons of wine were stored in the cellar – enough wine to fill 3,000 bottles.

In 1400 BC, the Canaanite and Mycenaean used Amphora, a tall jar or jug with two handles and a narrow neck, as the primary method to ship wine.

From 1200 BC through 539 BC, the Phoenicians started trading across the Mediterranean, including the Middle East. They traded with current day Israel to North Africa, Greece, and Italy. The Phoenicians traded goods, but they also introduced wine and grapevines to these cultures.

In 900 BC, barrels became the preferred container to store and ship wine in Northern Europe, particularly Gaul (France). The barrels were used to season and oxidize the wine.

Commencing in 800 BC, Greeks began perfecting wine. It became a symbol of trade, health, and religion. The Greek god Dionysus is named in honor of wine. As the Greeks colonize around the Mediterranean, their armies traveled with wine. When the Greeks settled an area, they brought grapevines with them, notable to Sicily and southern Italy. Wine traveled north from there.

To maintain good health, Roman soldiers were encouraged in 200 BC to drink between two and three liters of wine per day.

In 146 BC, the Romans named Bacchus as their god of wine. They formalize cultivation methods and develop the concept of terroir. As the Roman Empire expands across Europe, they plant vines in France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and central European nations.

In 380 AD, as the Romans adopt the Catholic Church, drinking wine becomes central to the sacrament. The Catholic Church decides to focus on wine cultivation and production so monks in Italy and France begin working as vintners and perfecting winemaking technology. Vines and wine spread across Europe with Catholicism.

In 1000, Château de Goulaine was built and it is perhaps the oldest operating winery.

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. Chile’s 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 region’s 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 Dutch East India Company added alcohol to wine in the late 1500s to preserve it for long journeys. Fortification occurred and Port, Madeira, Marsala, and Sherry were created for the first time.

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 area’s 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 1718, the abbey in Champagne published Dom Perignon’s winemaking rules for quality winemaking. The rules warned against using white grapes as refermentation could occur causing the wine to become sparkling, which was considered a fault at the time.

In 1740, wine bottles were redesigned to be laid flat. This created the ability to age wines longer.

In 1769, a Spanish missionary traveled to California from Mexico City. He opened a mission in San Diego and planted grapes to create the region’s first wine. As Spanish missions spread across California, the Franciscan monks brought the art of making wine and established the first winery in Sonoma in 1805.

In 1776, at the signing of the United States Constitution, the Founding Fathers enjoyed Madeira wine.

Thomas Jefferson was appointed as the Minister to France in 1785. He fell in love with French wine, especially Bordeaux and Burgundy. He returned to the US with French grape cuttings and a wish to see wine thrive in Virginia.

Due to the consistency in wine bottle manufacturing, sparkling wines became popular in the Champagne region in the mid-1800s.

In 1832, James Busby was appointed to the position of British Resident of New Zealand. He traveled from Australia to New Zealand with grape cuttings and established the first vineyard in 1836.

The California Gold Rush from 1848 through 1855 brought more than those seeking wealth west – the travelers also brought with them vines from the east coast which were mostly indigenous to France. They also brought the Zinfandel grape which originated in Croatia.

The Buena Vista Winery started operations in 1857. It was the first commercial winery operation in California, located in the Sonoma Valley.

Louis Pasteur discovered oxygen’s harmful effects on wine in 1862. This caused the whole winemaking industry to adopt the use of wine bottles.

When the French wine industry was nearly decimated due to phylloxera from the 1860s through the 1870s, wine production soared in the French colony of Algeria. They had replanted vineyards in 1830 which had originally been planted by the Phoenicians, and Islamic rule had destroyed. Wine production has been on a long decline in Algeria since the French ceded control in 1962. By 1900, nearly 70 percent of vineyards in France were killed by phylloxera.

Wine Nowadays

The United States’ consumption of alcohol and wine declined during Prohibition, from 1920 through 1933.

French wines became popular in the USA in the 1950s.

In 1964, the first bag-in-a-box wines were introduced to the world.

The first mechanized grape harvesters were commercialized in New York in 1967.

In 1978, Robert Parker started “The Wine Advocate” which used a 100-point wine rating system that is still used today.

After China opened up its economy in 1980, French wine began to be imported. The French followed and worked with local partners to plant vineyards. China is now one of the largest consumers and producers of wine in the world. France and Italy are the world’s number one and two wine producers in the world.

In 2010, Cabernet Sauvignon became the world’s most planted wine grape.

Now that you understand the long history of wine, enjoy learning how to judge and taste wine like a professional.

The Correct Way to Taste Wine

Now that you know a little bit about wine, you should learn the proper etiquette to taste wine.

First, make sure you are in a good tasting environment – where you taste the wine can have as much impact on your senses as the wine itself. A noisy or crowded room can make concentrating on the wine difficult. There should be no strong perfumes, cooking smells, or pet odors as they will interfere with your ability to clearly smell the wine’s aroma. Different wines should be consumed with the correctly sized and shaped glass.

You should always evaluate how the wine looks.

  • Look straight down into the glass to note the depth of color. As you become more adept at tasting wines, you will be able to identify wines by their color and scent.
  • Hold the wine up to the light and view it through the side of the glass to see how clear it is. Murkiness could indicate fermentation problems, or the wine could just be unfiltered or have some sediment that was shaken up when poured. A positive sign is when a wine looks clear and brilliant.
  • Tilt the glass to establish a wine’s age and weight. Pale and watery colors suggest bland or dull wines. White wines that are tawny or brow and red wines that are orange or rust-colored could indicate older wines or they could be past their prime.

Basic Steps On Wine Tasting

Wine sommeliers, or wine experts, use four basic steps to assist them in refining their palates when tasting wines.

  1. Look at the wine to evaluate the color and viscosity of the wine. Give it a swirl in the glass and see if the wine forms “legs” that run down the side of the glass. Wines with good legs indicate that they are bigger, riper, and more mouth-filling than those with no legs.
  2. Smell the wine to determine the primary aromas first. Hover over the rim of the glass and take a series of short sniffs. Let the information permeate into your brain.
    1. For white wines, do you detect citrus, tropical, or orchard fruits?
    2. For red wines, do you detect red, blue, or black fruits?
  3. Taste the wine and by taking a sip into your mouth and circulate it around your tongue and mouth before you swallow.
    1. Decide whether the flavor is acidic, sweet, bitter, or fruity – all common tastes in red and white wines. You may encounter the flavors of fruit, flower, mineral, herb, or barrel.
    2. Analyze the texture of the wine on your tongue. A wine with more texture usually means it has a higher alcohol content and is a riper wine.
    3. Length is used to establish how long the wine stays with you. There should be a distinct beginning, middle (mid-palate), and end (finish).
  4. Think about the previous three steps while making a decision about wine.
    1. Was the wine balanced or not balanced (too acidic or too tannic)?
    2. Did you like the wine?
    3. Was the wine memorable?
    4. What characteristics did you like about the wine?
    5. Was the wine harmonious, or where all of its flavors proportionately integrated?

How to Judge the Taste of Wine

Now that you have learned how to taste wine properly, what exactly are you looking for when you taste wine? Wines are judged by a number of characteristics, some of which are subjective and some of which are measured by a scale or by scientific methods. We will look at each wine and compare the following characteristics:

  • The flavor is subjective and you will hear wine described with the following adjectives:
    • Acidic – High acidic wines would be tart and citrusy; low acidic wines would be creamy and soft.
    • Oaked – Unoaked wines are fresh, fruity, and floral; oaked wines are rich and spicy with hints of vanilla, chocolate, and caramel.
    • Fruity – Fruitiness depends on climate and grape variety and can be detected on the nose and the palate. A fruity red wine will have a bright red berry aroma and almost a dark cherry or currant taste.
    • Tannic – Provides structure and a highly-tannic wine would be described as heavy and robust.
    • Sweet – Sweetness helps balance the acid and tannin in wines. An off-dry wine would have a hint of sweetness with juicy acidity.
    • Body – This is the overall weight of the wine in your mouth.  A full-bodied red wine would be rich and weighty.
  • Aroma, or nose, can be fruity, earthy, floral, citrusy, vegetal, or any other scent dependent on the grape variety.  The winemaking process and storage conditions can also affect the wine’s aroma.
  • Color – Red wines will have different hues based on the amount of body in the wine.
    • Light-bodied wines will be lighter and translucent.
    • Medium-bodied wines will have a medium-rich color and will not be quite as translucent.
    • Full-bodied wines are deeply colored, probably due to a higher amount of tannins.
    • Old wines that aged too long tend to be almost brown in color.
  • Alcohol By Volume, or ABV, lets you know how much of your wine is alcohol and how much is other stuff, like water. Most wines will have an ABV of between 12.5% and 14.5%.
  • Temperature – Red wines are typically served between 62 and 68 degrees.
  • Age-ability, or how long you can store a bottle will depend on the quality of the wine.
  • Food Pairings – Wine profiles and tastes tend to complement and pair well with certain foods.

Best Wines for Beginners

After learning how to taste wines and what to look for, let’s explore wines that many beginners enjoy. Don’t 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 (more about temperature later).

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.

When first starting out, it is best to purchase wines at about US$10-15 per bottle. It is a matter of taste whether you start with Red, White, Rosé, or Fortified wines. Typically, most people start with white wines because they are lighter and generally easier on the palate, but be a trailblazer and sample the reds, too!

Popular wine varieties for beginners include:

Red

White

Pink

Cabernet Sauvignon – full-bodied with herbal notes

Chardonnay – buttery, fruity, and velvety

Rosé

Merlot – fruity and spicy

Pinot Grigio/Gris – light-bodied and crisp

White Zinfandel

Pinot Noir – delicate and fresh

Riesling – very sweet with intense fruit flavors

 

Zinfandel – zesty

Moscato – fruity and usually sweet

 

Beaujolais Nouveau – fruity and light

Sauvignon blanc – dry, tart, and acidic, tasting of tropical fruit

 

 

Prosecco – sparkling, fruity, semi-sweet

 

Best white wines

Chardonnay is the most famous white wine grape with a distinctive flavor. It is often described as having flavors of apple and pear with notes of oak, butter, and toast. It is usually a dry wine, not sweet, but it can still be fruity. Chardonnays have a complex flavor due to being casked in oak barrels. You may taste hints of vanilla and spices like cinnamon and clove. Chardonnays produced in warmer climates can be marked with tropical flavors such as banana, pineapple, peach, or apricot. As a white wine, Chardonnay has no tannin and the acidity levels vary based on where it was grown and where the wine was produced. European Chardonnays tend to have higher acidity than Chardonnays from the United States. Chardonnays pair well with mild cheeses like gruyere, mild cheddar, and provolone as well as with seafood dishes, chicken, pork, and fruity desserts.

Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris wine (same grape but spelling depends on the country of origin) has a clean, subtle flavor. Pinot Grigio originated in northern Italy (Pinot Gris is from France) and both are now grown worldwide. It is not sweet but tends to have a mild, fruity flavor. Pinot Grigio wines are light-bodied, crisp, with notes of green apples, floral scents, and lemon. It is low in acidity and is usually stored in stainless steel tanks. Pinot Grigio wines are medium- to full-bodied wines and pair well with fish, shellfish, chicken, pasta with creamy sauces, and soft mild cheeses like brie, mozzarella, and gruyere.

Riesling wines can range from dry to very sweet, but it is known for its crisp citrus and mineral flavors. Riesling has bright acidity and is light-bodied. Riesling originated in the Rhine area of Germany. It is rich and complex and can be described as honeyed, nutty, and syrupy with notes of citrus, peach, and apricot. Riesling pairs well with spicy appetizers, salty cheeses like bleu cheese, aged Gouda, or feta, and sweet desserts.

Moscato d’Asti is a slightly fizzy, off-dry wine from the Piedmont region of Italy. It is light-bodied, fruity, and semi-sparkling with notes of citrus, green grapes, peach, apricots, and almonds. Moscato pairs well with antipasto, charcuterie, all cheeses, and it is a great dessert wine.

Sauvignon blanc is a crisp, refreshing, light-bodied wine which originated in the Bordeaux region of France. It is now grown worldwide, most notably in New Zealand, and has simple, straightforward flavors like grass, black currant, asparagus, green apple, gooseberries, kiwi, and citrus. Sauvignon blanc pairs well with fish, shellfish, pork, chicken, sushi, and pasta dishes with creamy sauces.

Prosecco is a sparkling wine from Italy. It is fruity and slightly sweet with flavors of green apples and citrus. There is no tannin and very low acidity. It is a very popular, and affordable, type of sparkling wine. Proseccos pairs well with prosciutto, seafood, fried foods, spicy Asian dishes, and pasta with creamy sauces.

Best red wines

Cabernet Sauvignon is a red grape for a richer, fuller wine. It has high tannins and acidity but features fruity flavors ranging from berries to plums. Cabernet Sauvignon has flavors like vanilla, coconut, coffee, chocolate, toffee, and spices. It is produced worldwide, most notably in Bordeaux, France, and Napa Valley, California. Cabernet Sauvignon is generally aged in oak barrels which gives it a full-bodied, berry flavor such as blueberry or black cherry. It is a dry wine that is high in alcohol. Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with beef dishes, ribs, and roasted potatoes.

Merlot originated in Bordeaux, France but is now grown worldwide. Merlot tastes fresh and fruity at first then ends with notes of vanilla, cloves, and mocha. It is a full-bodied, dry wine and merlot grapes are the fifth most-planted in the world. Merlot pairs well with chicken, fish, and beef dishes.

Pinot Noir is a red grape that originated in the Burgundy region of France and now grown worldwide. It is relatively light- to medium-bodied and low in tannin. Pinot Noir has cherry and fruity berry flavors and is usually dry. It can have flavors of rose and vanilla and oak overtones. Pinot Noir pairs well with salmon, roasted duck, and roasted pork.

Zinfandel has a lighter color than Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, but this light-bodied wine has moderate tannins, a high acidity, and relatively high alcohol levels which provide a bold taste. Zinfandel has flavors of jam, black pepper, cherry, blueberry, plum, licorice, and cranberry. It often has a candied fruity taste ending with a smoky finish. Zinfandel wines pair well with beef dishes, lamb, pork, poultry, pizza, spicy cheeses, and pasta.

Beaujolais Nouveau is a French wine that is meant to be consumed soon after bottling. Every year, it releases in November and is usually sold out before the winter holidays. Beaujolais Nouveau has light tannins and it is fruity, light, and full-bodied. It pairs well with roasted meats and salmon.

Best Pink Wines

Rosé is a misunderstood wine, typically bringing to mind a syrupy-sweet concoction that lingers in the mouth and on the tongue. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rosé can range from the dry Provençal variety to off-dry and semi-sweet. They can be still or sparkling and have flavors of red fruit, flowers, melon, and citrus. The finish can be similar to rhubarb or celery. The best Rosé wines are created in Provençe; however, they can be produced from a wide variety of grapes which are grown worldwide. Typically, Rosé wine is made with a red grape and the skins are removed shortly after pressing, which leaves behind the color.

White Zinfandel is very often the first wine that new wine drinkers will try. White Zinfandel wines are made from the red Zinfandel grape – the most extensively planted grape – and White Zinfandel wines consume about 85 percent of the total Zinfandel production. White Zinfandel is an off-dry to sweet wine with a pink color.

White Zinfandel offers:

  • the low alcohol content of 9 – 10 percent
  • approximately only 125 calories per 6-ounce serving
  • sweet taste

An interesting fact about White Zinfandel is that it saved “old vine” vineyards in California. The popularity of White Zinfandel meant that the “old vine” Zinfandel grape vineyards were not destroyed when newer California grapes and white wine grapes were becoming increasingly more popular.

White Zinfandel complements creamy pasta dishes, mild cheeses, rich pork, or salmon. It is also a good accompaniment to spicy Asian, Mexican, Creole, or Indian dishes.

Overall, the best wines for beginners based on ratings and price are listed below. Wine ratings are based on Wine Spectator’s rating scale, with 100 points possible as the highest score.

Best Under $50

Type of Grape

Producer

Name of Wine

Region

Wine Rating

Price

Chardonnay

Gaja

Chardonnay Vino da Tavola

Piedmont

98

$45

Pinot Grigio/Gris

Weinbach

Pinot Gris Alsace Cuvée Ste.-Catherine

Alsace

94

$48

Riesling

H. Dönnhoff

Riesling Spätlese Nahe Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle

Germany

97

48

Moscato

Cusumano

Moscato Sicilia dello Zucco

Sicily

92

$40

Sauvignon Blanc

Altamura

Sauvignon Blanc

Napa Valley

94

$45

Prosecco

Le Colture

Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Gerardo

Italy

90

$47

Cabernet Sauvignon

Kendall-Jackson

Cabernet Sauvignon California Cardinale

California

97

$45

Merlot

Paloma

Merlot Spring Mountain District

Napa Valley

95

$45

Pinot Noir

W.H. Smith Wines

Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Maritime Vineyard

Sonoma

97

$45

Zinfandel

Carlisle

Zinfandel Russian River Valley Montafi Ranch

Sonoma

96

$47

Beaujolais Nouveau*

 

 

 

 

 

Rosé

Domaine Tempier

Bandol Rosé

Provençe

92

$40

White Zinfandel

Hiyu Farms Smockshop Band

Spring Ephemeral

Columbia Gorge

**

$34

Best Under $40

Type of Grape

Producer

Name of Wine

Region

Wine Rating

Price

Chardonnay

Rochioli

Chardonnay

Sonoma

97

$40

Pinot Grigio/Gris

Domaines Schlumberger

Pinot Gris Alsace Grand Cru Kessler

Alsace

93

$30

Riesling

Joh. Jos. Prüm

Riesling Auslese Mosel-Saar Ruwer Graacher Himmelreich

Germany

99

$31

Moscato

Maculan

Moscato Veneto Dindarello

Veneto

90

$30

Sauvignon Blanc

Araujo

Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley Eisele Vineyard

Napa Valley

94

$32

Prosecco

Le Colture

Dry Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze

Italy

91

$34

Cabernet Sauvignon

Caymus

Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Special Selection

Napa Valley

98

$38

Merlot

Baer

Ursa

Columbia Valley

95

$35

Pinot Noir

Maysara

Pinot Noir McMinnville Estate Cuvée

Willamette Valley

97

$32

Zinfandel

Carlisle

Zinfandel Russian River Valley Papera Ranch

Sonoma

96

$40

Beaujolais Nouveau*

 

 

 

 

 

Rosé

Château de Pibarnon

Bandol Rosé

Provençe

92

$30

White Zinfandel*

 

 

 

 

 

Best Under $30

Type of Grape

Producer

Name of Wine

Region

Wine Rating

Price

Chardonnay

Gainey

Chardonnay Limited Selection

Santa Ynez Valley

98

$25

Pinot Grigio/Gris

Movia

Pinot Grigio Brda

Slovenia

93

$24

Riesling

Joh. Jos. Prüm

Riesling Auslese Mosel-Saar Ruwer Wehlener Sonnenuhr

Germany

98

$24

Moscato

Barberani

Moscato Umbria Passito Villa Monticelli

Umbria

90

$24

Sauvignon Blanc

Merry Edwards

Sauvignon Blanc

Sonoma

96

$29

Prosecco

Bortolomiol

Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore lus Naturae

Italy

90

$28

Cabernet Sauvignon

Flora Springs

Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve

Napa Valley

96

$30

Merlot

Leonetti

Merlot

Washington

96

$25

Pinot Noir

Colene Clemens

Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountains Dopp Creek

Willamette Valley

95

$26

Zinfandel

Turley

Zinfandel Howell Mountain Black-Sears Vineyard

Napa Valley

95

$26

Beaujolais Nouveau*

 

 

 

 

 

Rosé

Beckmen

Grenache Santa Ynez Valley Rosé Purisima Mountain Vineyard

California

91

$20

White Zinfandel

Turley

White Zinfandel

Napa Valley

**

$25

Best Under $20

Type of Grape

Producer

Name of Wine

Region

Wine Rating

Price

Chardonnay

Saintsbury

Chardonnay

Carneros

95

$15

Pinot Grigio/Gris

14 Hands

Pinot Grigio

Washington

88

$10

Riesling

C. Von Schubert

Riesling Spätlese Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Maximin Grünhäuse Abtsberg

Germany

96

$18

Moscato

Maculan

Moscato Veneto Dindarello

Veneto

90

$15

Sauvignon Blanc

Cloudy Bay

Sauvignon Blanc

New Zealand

94

$17

Prosecco

La Marca

Extra Dry Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene

Italy

90

$12

Cabernet Sauvignon

Dunn

Cabernet Sauvignon

Napa Valley

97

$13

Merlot

Belvedere

Merlot Alexander Valley Robert Young Vineyards

Sonoma

94

$12

Pinot Noir

Acacia

Pinot Noir Napa Valley

Carneros

95

$11

Zinfandel

Ancient Peaks

Zinfandel Paso Robles

California

93

$16

Beaujolais Nouveau

Jean Bererd & Fils

Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau Domaine de la Madone

Beaujolais

88

$13

Rosé

Domaine de la Terre Rouge

Vin Gris D’Amador Sierra Foothills

California

92

$16

White Zinfandel

Coastal Vines Cellars

White Zinfandel

California

**

$16

Best Under $10

Type of Grape

Producer

Name of Wine

Region

Wine Rating

Price

Chardonnay

Corbans

Chardonnay

Marlborough

92

$10

Pinot Grigio/Gris

Infernotto

Pinot Grigio Grave del Friuli

Friuli

75

$6

Riesling

Leasingham

Riesling Clare Valley Bin 7

Australia

92

$8

Moscato

Brindiamo

Moscato Aromatico Sand Diego County Limited Bottling

California

80

$6

Sauvignon Blanc

Chateau Ste. Michelle

Sauvignon Blanc

Columbia Valley

91

$9

Prosecco

Ca’Furlan

Extra Dry Prosecco Cuvée Beatrice

Italy

87

$10

Cabernet Sauvignon

Buena Vista

Cabernet Sauvignon

Carneros

94

$10

Merlot

Shafer

Merlot

Napa Valley

93

$10

Pinot Noir

Carneros Creek

Pinot Noir Carneros Fleur de Carneros

Carneros

92

9

Zinfandel

Gundlach Bundschu

Zinfandel

Sonoma

92

$10

Beaujolais Nouveau

Georges DuBoeuf

Beaujolais Nouveau

Beaujolais

86

$10

Rosé

E. Guigal

Côtes du Rhône Rosé

Southern Rhône

90

$10

White Zinfandel

Beringer Vineyards

White Zinfandel

Napa Valley

**

$5

*Please note that this vintage does not currently have selections offered in this price range.

** Please note that Wine Spectator does not rate this wine varietal.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 5 classifications of wine?

If you go to a liquor store, you might have noticed the wines shelves full of all kinds of wines, and different names. And it is because there are hundreds of wine varieties, but all of them, are categorized in one of these 5 categories: Red, White, Rosé, Sparkling, and Dessert.

What is the most popular red wine?

There are plenty of red wine varieties, but the most well known and loved by everyone is hands down, Cabernet Sauvignon.

Is Pinot Noir sweeter than Merlot?

Both Pinot Noir and Merlot are red wines varieties. Merlot has a fruity and sweet character, whereas Pinot Noir, has a less sweet flavor.

Conclusion

As you progress on your wine journey, expand your horizons and explore new and diverse wines. Don’t listen to the wine snobs. Wine, tastes, and enjoying life are personal and subjective aspects. The best advice is to taste many bottles and choose what you like best. Read reviews and listen to suggestions, but make your own choices. Soon, friends and family may ask you for advice on choosing a wine. To your health!

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Tammy Wunsch

Tammy Wunsch loves wine, vineyards, and travel. Her blog, ExpatWriter.com, prominently features these three topics, as well as information about living the digital nomad life. Tammy is the author of "The Navarre Brotherhood," an adventure novel about a search for the Knights Templar treasure. She lives in the Quiet Corner of Connecticut and spends her free time working on a sequel, planning her next trip, and seeking out new wines to share with friends.

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