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Posted by: possiblypagan ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 12:15AM

Now that I live in Nevada instead of Salt Lake City and can buy a bottle of wine at the supermarket, and have read of the health benefits of a bit of red wine for women, I need suggestions for a starter wine.

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Posted by: Pista ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 12:32AM

What kind of tastes do you like? Do you tend to like really sweet things more than less sweet things?

Do you like very strong flavors, or lighter flavors?

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Posted by: MiaBella ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 12:33AM

Ahhhh talk to Beulahland!

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Posted by: Glo ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 12:37AM

Try Sangria.

It's a naturally sweet red wine in a gallon bottle you can buy in grocery stores.

Great for parties too.

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Posted by: BadGirl ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 12:44AM

Traditionally it includes brandy also.

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Posted by: Itzpapalotl ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 09:20AM

Sangria is really good. I tried some Real Sangria last night and loved it! It's in a dark bottle with a lable that has fruit on it. It's about 5-7 bucks for a bottle.

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Posted by: BadGirl ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 12:48AM

Riunite Lambrusco is very nice and drinkable Italian red wine.
Pinot Noir is pretty mellow, but more of a traditional red wine.
The true "beginner" red wine is actually a rose' == White Zinfandel. It's not white, it's really pink and quite sweet and drinkable as a cocktail wine.

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Posted by: BadGirl ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 12:52AM

are actually the cheaper blended wines.
Look for brands like Alice White or Charles Shaw.
I have found those to be consistently good.
I prefer Shiraz or Merlot to the drier Cabernet.

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Posted by: MJ ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 12:53AM

That is the best way to find one that you like without buying bottle after bottle.

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Posted by: BadGirl ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 12:56AM

Sometime wine shops will have tastings also.
Try before you buy is a great idea.

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Posted by: Raptor Jesus ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 01:10AM

However keep an open mind. The first time I tried wine was a Merlot and I hated it.

Over time I tried a lot if different things and then found what I liked (including Merlots).

So I definitely echo about the wine tastings. You can try lots and lots of stuff.

As far as brands go, I like recommending Kendel Jackson for beginners. They aren't expensive bottles, nor are they cheap wines either. And they are good at getting a rough gauge of what kinds of reds you may enjoy.

One fun thing to do is make a wine journal. What did you drink? What did you eat with it? And how was the experience?

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 11:16AM

I would suggest pinot noir, shiraz, or a cabernet sauvignon blend. I think that many Australian wines offer good value for the money, i.e. Black Opal, Rosemount, or Yellow Tail.

You might want to start with a bottle of somewhat higher-priced California wine, though, to get an idea of what you're aiming for (i.e. Kendall Jackson, which makes consistently good wines, Sterling Collection, Kenwood, etc.)

I'm not as familiar with the French, Italian, or Chilean reds, but I'm sure that there are many good values to be had there as well.

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Posted by: Devorah ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 04:51AM

Some people go for the sweet dessert wines, but I can't think of very many sweet reds offhand. Some like the very acidic, dry wines best.
I love the Menage a Trois collection. This company produces different blends, mellow, somewhat sweet, not too "bitey".
Have fun!

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Posted by: beulahland ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 11:29AM

The desert reds are kind of gross in my experience. You're welcome to try Port if you want, as it's the most popular sweet red, but it is definitely not for everyone. I have it around because I cook with it (port wine reductions are amazing on steak), but I find it tastes like merlot mixed with corn syrup.

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Posted by: beulahland ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 11:33AM

I'm going to agree with everyone that suggested sangria. Remember that true sangria is not something you're going to find in the store though. You need to buy a good sangria red (yes, they make wine just for this purpose) and then add tons of fresh fruit and leave it to soak for a day or two. Some add brandy or vodka, but I never do when I make it. Just wine and fruit and I'm a happy girl.

If you want specifics, I love the Seven Deadly Zins, which is a red zinfandel. I find it not too harsh. I think it's around $20 a bottle, and it's totally drinkable for a beginner. Gnarlyhead makes a really good Pinot, however I can't stand their red zin. Try a mix wine too. I think they're called "Table Reds" and you should be able to grab a decent one under $20.

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Posted by: bookratt ( )
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.

Have fun!

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Posted by: axeldc ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 06:17AM

Before I started drinking wine, I thought reds were going to be overpowering, so I tried whites and roses. I found them too acidic and unappealing. I assumed that I would hate red if I found whites unpalatable.

I didn't try red until I went to Italy and we toured a Chianti vineyard. I loved the full bodied, well rounded test of red. I also love the way red wine relaxes me more than any other alcohol, although it also makes me sleepy.

Personally, I love Bordeaux the most. I'm partial to French and Italian wines, like Chianti, San Giovese, Cotes du Rhone, Chateau Neuf du Pape. Spanish rioja is also good and makes excellent Sangria. I love Sangria as well, especially on a warm summer day. You can get all of these for less than $10 a bottle at Trader Joe's.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/27/2011 06:20AM by axeldc.

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Posted by: ExMormonRon ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 07:17AM

Try Sterling Collection Cabernet. Not real bold, lower on tannins, nice finish, oaky, raisins, blueberries... and a price you can afford.

It's our "House Wine".

Just sayin'...


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Posted by: NYCGal ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 08:25AM

Or, as in Sideways -- "nobody better order merlot".

There are some Pinot Noirs that are lovely -- especially from Oregon -- we love Penquin Creek.

Unfortunately, I find that one often has to move up the price ladder to find really good wines. It's hard to argue with Opus One as a really great red Bordeaux-style blend, but one pays dearly for it!

One reasonably priced red that we like is Penfold's Kunoonga Hill Shiraz/Cabernet blend. Well priced and very drinkable.

If you want to try a sweet dessert wine, try Rosa Regale -- it's like raspberries with bubbles -- quite tasty with chocolate desserts.

I would stay away from things like white Zinfandel, but that's just me.

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Posted by: ExMormonRon ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 08:51AM

I've had that Kunoonga Shiraz/Cab. It's great, but it suddenly disappeard from the shelves here in Tex.

+1 on the White Zin too. Yuck.


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Posted by: BadGirl ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 12:49PM

If somebody really hasn't drunk wine before, the wine-snob suggestions really aren't going to help.
You and I might not like White Zinfandel (actually a red grape) but beginners often love it, often it's the only wine they really can stand.
Just let the person find out what they like.
Some of the WORST f'n wines you will ever taste are in wine country in CA, but everyone's afraid to point out that the emperor has no clothes.

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Posted by: Stray Mutt ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 09:49AM

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Posted by: axeldc ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 10:28AM

No, there really are good wines and bad wines. Some of that is taste, but much of that is quality.

The most expensive wines are not always the best tasting wines. They are just more rare or have particularly developed flavors that some people really like.

Wine can be intimidating, but a good wine shop will help you out. A good wine shop will also not try to sell you the most expensive wine on the shelf, but the one that best suits your circumstances.

For the record, I buy most of my wine at Trader Joe's and rarely spend more than $10 a bottle. That makes it less expensive per glass than buying a coke at many restaurants.

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Posted by: Elder Roland ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 10:12AM

Concord's always a good first wine.

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Posted by: voweaver ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 11:06AM

Do they still make Boone's Farm, or Ripple?

Personally, I like a nice Reisling, but that's a white wine.

Don't try to discern the multitude of flavors, tastes, or "notes" that the devout wine experts say are in a wine. Find what tastes good to YOU.

And a wee warning: if you are prone to migraine headaches, wine, especially red wine, can trigger them. Be careful!


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Posted by: Tristan-Powerslave ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 11:35AM

I don't want to accidentally buy garbage & have my food ruined!

I'm not much of a drinker (not a teetotaler though, but I have my own reasons).

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Posted by: beulahland ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 11:36AM

What are you cooking? I can definitely help out here. I cook with wine all the time.

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Posted by: BadGirl ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 12:42PM

So try to buy your wine from a place where it is kept in a cool area and out of sunlight.
Seriously -- avoid the grocery store. I have even bought some seriously bad bottles of red wine from a wine shop -- there was a tasting and the winemaker had cases of the wine just sitting in the sun pouring through the window. What I tasted was great, what I bought and took home was vinegar.

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Posted by: Molly Misanthrope ( )
Date: June 27, 2011 12:51PM

Rioja - it's a soft Spanish red used to make Sangria, but is one of the nicer drinking wines I've had.

I've had a late harvest Zinfandel which was delightful with chocolate cake.

I've had nice bottles that are around $6, but I usually try to get bottles which are around $15. I don't think I've spent more than $20 for a bottle of wine, but I'm certain once you get into that territory it's all a matter of taste.

I've had terrible luck with Merlot, and Pinot Noir (Pinot Grigio is what I like, but it's a white). Some Zins can be OK, but I prefer Syrah (Sirah) to Zinfandel.

Try adding a little Chianti to your spaghetti sauce or lasagna the next time you make it, and then having a glass alongside dinner.

As far as labels go, I like Rosenblum and Little Penguin.

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