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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2018
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05 Must Try Types of Wines – A Guide for Beginners

Wine is an acquired taste, one that is honed in by experience. In order to appreciate and discern quality, one must sample and offer experience to the uninitiated palate. Here are some recommendations.

1

Consider Taste

Wine, in reality, is fermented grapes; a good wine is determined by body, flavour and aroma. These characteristics are determined by factors such as the vintners' technique, the blend of grapes and how the wine is stored as it ages. A beginner wine drinker should stick to less complicated and simple flavours such as un-oaked single varietal types similar to a Barbera or Pinot Grigio. The flavour of a wine depends on the type; for instance, a red will offer flavours of tobacco, leather, dark fruits, cherries and berries while a white wine offers a hint of citrus fruits, pears, apples, toast and spices.

2

The Body or Viscosity

If you have heard wine drinkers talking about 'the mouth feel' of a wine, they are referring to how heavy or light a wine feels in the mouth; in other words, this is the viscosity of the wine. If you are a beginner, look for a wine that feels light on the palate; a fine example of these include Sauvignon Blanc and Beaujolais Nouveau. These are some of the favourites amongst novice wine drinkers at Colombo hotel bars.

3

The Aroma

If you intend on becoming a professional at the art of wine drinking, aromatics will play a major part. As a seasoned wine connoisseur, one needs to be able to differentiate the subtle note exuded by a wine. Aromatics, as this is called, depending on many factors. These include the terroir or where the grapes are grown, the grapes and also the method in which the wine is aged. Fine examples of very aromatic wines include Grenache and Viognier; easily obtained from restaurants similar to Rare at Residence, where a well-stocked wine cellar is a given.

4

Sweetness of the Wine

Beginner wine drinkers prefer wines with less dryness and more sweetness. It does not refer to a sugary sweet wine; instead, it refers to a less dry wine that does not make your mouth crease. Wines are made to various levels of sweetness and depend on factors such as residual sugar, alcohol content, even when the grapes were harvested and the types used. Sweetness ranges amongst various levels, such as whites and dry reds like Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon to dessert wines such as the very sweet port. Beginners should start off with off-dry wines such as Pinot Noir and Moscato d'Asti.

5

Best Red Wine for Beginners

Start off with simple reds; Pinot Noir is a medium-bodied wine that pairs off well with food. Syrah, as well as its Australian counterpart – Shiraz, is fruity and peppery, in that same order. On the other hand, Beaujolais Nouveau is a red wine that should be drunk young. The wine which generally comes out by November is sold out by the time Christmas rolls in. Favoured by beginner wine drinkers, this is a light fruity wine.

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