Venturing into the world of wines for the first time can be an exhilarating yet confusing experience. For most people, wine is an acquired taste. It takes time for a person to be able to fully appreciate the various flavours and fruit characters that a wine incorporates. Newcomers to this world should start slow, feeling out lighter wines first and gradually moving on to more complex and full-bodied wines. Luckily, there are a host of break-in wines of different styles and flavours that have been crafted specially for wine beginners.
There is no specific wine that every beginner would love. It usually involves a period of trial and error before one finds a wine that matches with his particular taste preferences. There are various factors that affect a person’s wine preference, some of which are mentioned below –
Taste:Essentially, wine is simply fermented grape juice. The taste and flavour profile of a wine depends on the variety(s) of grapes used to manufacture it. Red wines usually contain dark fruit, leather and tobacco characters while white wines tend to depict apple, pear and toasty notes. Pinot Grigio and Barbera wines are apt for first-time wine drinkers.
Body: The body, or viscosity of a wine is a key factor in the making of a wine. It basically refers to how light or heavy the wine feels. Wine-beginners should always go for lighter-bodied wines like Sauvignon Blanc first.
Aroma: Newcomers to wines might completely ignore this factor at first. But as one probes deeper, the truth of the matter is that different fragrances and aromas definitely enhance the pleasure of wine-drinking. Grenache and Viognier are extremely fragrant wine varietals.
Sweetness: Wines can broadly be categorized into two categories – dry and sweet. Most wine beginners tend to like wines that lean towards the sweeter side, rather than wines that feel dry and acidic. Off-dry wines such as Pinot Noir and Moscato d’Asti are perfect for first-time wine drinkers.
Best Australian Red Wines for Beginners
Uninitiated palates should always start out with simple red wines that are light or medium-bodied, and contain vibrant fruit flavours and aromas. A few suggestions include –
Shiraz: Shiraz wines are slightly spicy, which is an absolute delight for people whole enjoy peppery flavours. Containing dark fruit, red berry and cherry characters, these wines are integrated with light oak and spice characters. Heathcote Estate Single Vineyard Shiraz 2014 and Plantagenet Three Lions Shiraz 2014 are excellent Shiraz wines for first-timers.
Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir is a delicious and food-friendly red wine variety that is easy to like and appreciate. It is generally light to medium-bodied, with abundant berry and tropical fruit characters. Suggested Pinot Noir wines include Ninth Island Pinot Noir 2016.
Best Australian White Wines for Beginners
Although it depends upon a person’s preference towards red or white wine, it is usually advisable to try out white wines first. This is because white wines are light-weighted and easy-drinking. Some of the best white wine grape varieties for beginners are –
Pinot Grigio: Crisp, light and elegant, Pinot Grigio wines are delicious and pleasing, with fruity flavours of pears and apples. Norfolk Rise Pinot Grigio 2017 and The Black Chook Pinot Grigio 2016 are great choices for new wine drinkers.
Riesling: Rieslings range from dry to very sweet, but are appreciated world over for their crisp flavours, minerality, zingy acidity and light body. Try out Taylors Promised Land Riesling 2016 or Peter Lehmann Art 'n' Soul Riesling 2016.