Date: June 27, 2011 05:21AM
First off, make friends with your local wine store guy or gal; go in frequently, even for just one bottle, and ask lots of questions when they're not busy.
Go to free or low-cost wine tasting events there; check wine tasting meet-up schedules listed in local papers and online, too.
Do you know what you want to serve the wine with? Dessert, or a main dish? Is it for drinking after dinner, or giving as a gift to someone else? Wine is paired/chosen with the food or purpose in mind.
Have you tried Rioja (Spanish), or Malbec (Argentinian), or an Australian Shiraz? A New York (Niagara area) red, maybe a Syrah or Cabernet-- or a California Burgundy or Claret? I love French wines, too, it's just that when sampling, sometimes you want to go cheaper until you find just what you are looking for.
Do you know if you like sweet or dry wine, sparkling or not? It should be fun trying to find out!
Sampling led me to the whites, instead. I like those wines better, unless I am cooking with wine, or making Sangria out of it. Have you tried the whites and discarded them---or is that an area still open to you? If not, try halb trocken (German or Austrian semi-dry whites); a white burgundy or a picpoul de pinet from France; or prosecco (Italian) or Cava (spanish) for sparkling whites.
DO try Sangria, especially in Summer. Can be made with the mixed leftovers of any reds you've got (I like those from Portugal or Spain), but premade mixes/bases are everywhere. Lots of good recipes for Sangria online.
If Sangria turns out to be too sweet for you, try what they call a Pimm's cup, made with British Pimms (it's gin-based, a great mixer with ginger ale). Add optional lemonade, some do some don't. Add a small quantity of each of the following: diced apples, strawberries and cucumbers. Serve with a lemon wedge, mint sprig and ice.