Wine is a vast world and at a first glance, it might appear intimidating. This is certainly true without the proper guidance.
The good news is that you don’t need to be a master sommelier to appreciate wine. You just need to be pointed in the right direction, know a few tricks and techniques.
We have picked for you a selection of the 8 best varieties for you to start from so that you have ample choice and possibilities to experiment too.
Keep reading if you want to find out:
8 Best Wines for Beginners
You’ll find below a selection of 8 best wines for beginners across white, red, rosé, and sparkling.
They are perfect for those of you who are approaching the world of wine for the first time or are simply willing to experiment a bit with it.
For each of them, you’ll find a link to the best wines guide where you’ll find everything you need to know and our best of list. Enjoy!
Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris (White and Rosé)
Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris is a popular and affordable white wine. It also comes in a Rosé version.
Although Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are made from the same grape, the taste profile is quite different.
Pinot Grigio it’s known for its dryness, high acidity, light-body, lemon, and apple notes. It’s perfect for a hot summer day and it’s very easy to drink.
It pairs very well with salty foods like French fries and salty olives. Go for white meat and shellfish and soft cheese or light cream cheese like Brie.
Pinot Gris, from Alsace in France, on the other hand, has more body, lower acidity, more complexity with honey and ginger notes, and is sweeter than Pinot Grigio.
It’s more of a whole year round-wine.
It pairs well with foie gras, cream sources, white meat, pork, and Gorgonzola or Pecorino cheese for example.
Find more about Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris along with our best wines for beginners recommendations for you.
Pinot Grigio Rosé it’s known for its dryness, medium-high acidity, medium-light, and red fruit notes. Ramato is a famous Pinot Grigio Rosé style and one of my favorites too.
Like Pinot Grigio, a hot summer day is a perfect excuse to have your glass of Rosé.
It pairs well with San Daniele ham , white meat, shellfish, and fresh cheese like Feta for example.
Find more about Pinot Grigio Rosé along with our best wines for beginners recommendations for you.
Chardonnay is the most popular white wine in the world. Depending on the style it can be light, fresh, and crisp if unoaked or rich, buttery and full-bodied if oaked.
Typical flavors for unoaked Chardonnay are lemon zest, peach, honeysuckle, and green fruit or tropical fruit depending on the ripeness.
Unoaked Chardonnay pairs well with salad, veggie risotto, paté, chicken, shellfish, sushi. Cheese wise go with fresh cheese like goat cheese.
Typical flavors for oaked Chardonnay are butter, vanilla, spice, apple, chalk, and citrus fruit for cool climates or tropical fruit for warm climates.
Oaked Chardonnay can be paired with bolder flavors like prosciutto crudo, pumpkin, pork, grilled meat, roast chicken, grilled fish, smoked salmon, and crab cakes.
If you are a bubble lover, be aware that Chardonnay is also used to produce dry sparkling Blanc de Blancs.
Jasmine, brioche, toast, apple, lemon, peach are some of the most common notes you should expect from it, a long with high acidity and light body.
Typical food pairing are shellfish, grilled fish, fish and chips, chicken, salads and creamy cheese like Brie.
Find more about Chardonnay along with our best wines for beginners recommendations for you.
Sauvignon Blanc (White)
Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most popular and affordable white wines in the world.
It’s known for its high acidity, fruity notes of peach, lime, and passion fruit depending on the style.
Like Pinot Grigio and Unoaked Chardonnay, it’s the perfect wine for a hot summer day.
Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with Brussel sprouts, asparagus, salad, white meat like chicken and turkey, and various fish and shellfish including sushi.
Cheese wise go for soft and cream cheese like Philadelphia and brie for example.
Find more about Sauvignon Blanc along with our best wines for beginners recommendations for you.
Pinot Noir (Red)
Pinot Noir is one of the most popular wines in the world. The red fruit is the primary flavor and their intensity and types vary depending on the producer and the region.
When young, Pinot Noir is fruity, refreshing, and easy to drink thanks to its low tannins and medium-light body. If I were you, I’d start with this type of bottle.
As it matures in the bottle, and only the finest bottle achieves this, it evolves into more complex flavors.
So just that you know, Pinot Noir hardly comes cheap, you will hardly find a good bottle under $20. The same goes for Merlot.
Pinot Noir pairs easily with many foods thanks to its versatility. Ratatouille, beans dishes, pasta, and pizza with mushrooms are generally a very good fit.
Pinot Noir is also one of those few red wines that can pair well as well with grilled fish like grilled salmon and swordfish.
Find more about Pinot Noir along with our best wines for beginners recommendations for you.
Syrah/Shiraz is a popular red wine known for its dark ruby color, full body and black fruit flavors. If you like intense fruity and spicy/smoky flavors, this is your wine.
The two main styles are Syrah from the “Old World” and Shiraz from the “New World”.
Syrah has more restrained black fruit flavors with smoky notes. Shiraz has more intense black fruit flavors with spicy notes.
Syrah/Shiraz pairs well with bold flavors like pasta with ragu, grilled veggie, mushroom, game, duck, bbq ribs, burger, grilled beef. Cheese wise go for Cheddar or Gorgonzola
Find more about Syrah/Shiraz along with our best wines for beginners recommendations for you.
Zinfandel is a black grape that comes typically in two red styles: Zinfandel in California and Primitivo in Italy.
Its flavor ranges from red fruits to black fruit depending on its ripening. It has full-body, high alcohol, medium-high acidity, and tannins.
This one is for those of you who like intense fruity flavors without the spiciness typical of Syrah/Shiraz.
Zinfandel/Primitivo offers great value for money, compared to the other reds seen so far.
Zinfandel/Primitivo pairs well with bold flavors dishes like pizza rustica, spice curry, quail, turkey, bacon, and bbq in general.
Some would pair it even with spicy tuna tartare or blackened salmon.
Cheese wise Cheddar, Grana Padano and Gorgonzola are very good matches.
Find more about Zinfandel/Primitivo along with our best wines for beginners recommendations for you.
Prosecco is the most famous sparkling wine in Italy. It is also the Italian wine most exported worldwide, and for a good reason.
It’s easy to drink, it pairs with nearly everything and it’s affordable too!
Apple, lemon, pear, and melon are typical of Prosecco’s aromas. The flavors, intensity, and styles vary depending on the producer and his secret blending formula.
The good thing about bubbles is that they are very versatile and go well with many dishes.
They also clean the palate very well, so you can pair them with greasy and creamy food too.
Classical pairing is french fries, mac & cheese, oysters, lobster, sashimi, fish & chips, fried calamari, and creamy cheese like Camembert for example.
Find more about Prosecco along with our best wines for beginners recommendations for you.
Know your wine and it will taste better
I know, you were not expecting but it’s actually true. There’s some science behind it as well .
In short, if you are able to properly describe your wine by identifying every single subtle flavor, you’ll significantly enhance your wine tasting experience.
You don’t believe me? Give it a go. Read our wine tasting guide and then apply what you have learned. You’ll be amazed.
Why am I so confident? Well, that’s exactly what happened to me a long time ago!
Plus, wine tasting is a fun experience too, I have amazing memories from my wine tasting sessions with friends and have discovered great wines as well.
We have listed for you a selection of 8 different best wines for beginners across, red, white, rosé and sparkling to make you more familiar with the world of wine.
If you want to make the most of it, go through our wine tasting guide and apply what you have learned there.
I recommend doing it with friends, it will be fun and affordable too.
Especially in the beginning, I recommend you start with inexpensive wines, in case it turns out not to match your tastes.
In our best wine guides, you’ll always find great value for money bottles where you start from.
As you develop your taste and palate you’ll be more confident and comfortable in exploring more expensive wines.
Feeling thirsty or are you simply after some recommendations for the best wines you can find right now? Check out our buying guides on wines.
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