Mailbag Monday: Suggestions for a Wine Newbie?

While talking about my blog at physical therapy, one of the PT assistants asked me this question and I thought it was worth sharing:

Dear Alleigh—
I grew up in a household that doesn’t drink wine.  However, my friends are starting to order wine when we go out for dinner.  I want to join them, but the red wines they order taste bitter, and I don’t enjoy them.  Do you have any recommendations for ways to branch out into wine and away from my usual vodka and orange?

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about red wine recommendations for a Pinot Noir drinker who was looking to try other lighter red wines, but that doesn’t really address the how a new wine drinker starts out.

My recommendation for people who are just starting to experiment with wine is to go with something light and white.  And, if you tend to prefer sweeter mixed drinks, you might also want to try a white wine that has a touch of sweetness.  That said, I wouldn’t go with something that is going to feel like the syrup bottle has been added to the wine.

Starting off with a good Riesling is probably a good bet, and you can’t go too wrong with one like the Sawtooth Riesling, for example.  It has a touch of sweetness, but is still very food friendly and, at $10, it isn’t going to break the bank.  So, if you if it’s not your thing, you don’t have to feel guilty about not finishing the bottle.

Another option is to try a Verdejo or Sauvignon Blanc.  The Shaya Old Vine Verdejo and the Edna Valley Vineyard Paragon Sauvignon Blanc, for example, are both affordable, easy to drink wines. The Verdejo is mostly lemons and granny smith apples, and the Sauvignon Blanc has more tropical fruits like pineapple and mango, but they’re both light with some great fresh flavors.

I actually discovered my love of wine by drinking both the red and the white Mouton Cadet.  Admittedly, I haven’t tried the wine in more than 10 years, though, so maybe it’s time to revisit my wine roots a little.

Question of the Day:  Do you remember what wines you were drinking when you first started to enjoy wine?

Cheers!
-Alleigh

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