10 Easy To Drink Red Wines For Beginners - Wine Turtle

10 Easy To Drink Red Wines For Beginners

This post was updated on: January 1, 2019

10 Easy To Drink Red Wines For Beginners

10 Easy To Drink Red Wines For Beginners

We’ve all been beginners at some point when  it comes to wine, and whether you’ve decided to get into red wine as a newbie, or you’ve been drinking one specific red wine for years and now want to break out to try some new options, it is important to grasp an overview of the different varieties available out there. The easiest way to do this is by trying some easy to drink red wines for beginners.

That is because it’s very unlikely to be able to taste all the insane amount of options available. So, you’ll need to start with wines that give you a good representation of the wide spectrum of aromas and flavors.

Don’t know which wines to start with? You needn’t worry. All the ten wines below are perfect for newbies and inexperienced tasters.

So, read this list, then head to your local wine shop prepared to ask for a sample of one of these wines. It’s guaranteed you’ll immediately fall in love with their balance between acidity, tannins, and body; moreover, you’ll even figure out which styles of red wines you truly like.

Cabernet Sauvignon

The organoleptic characteristics of Cabernet Sauvignon are varied and complex, but all referable to the same geographical zone that is the area of ​​Bordeaux, in particular, the famous areas of the Médoc and Graves-Saint-Amant.

The Cabernet Sauvignon wine possesses recognizable traits, regardless of the territory in which the grapes are cultivated or of the winemaking techniques: it is a very ruby ​​vine, resistant to different climatic conditions and therefore can keep its organoleptic characteristics intact while merging to perfection with the terroir.

It is a complex wine, generally very aromatic, which expresses all the wonders of the forest and the uncontaminated nature.

On the nose, the red fruits (raspberries, blackcurrants, currant) and the vegetal scents of the underwood (pine needles, oak leaves) will emerge, but a more careful analysis will reveal the more material organoleptic characteristics, linked to the minerality.

Cabernet Sauvignon is typically classified as a dry wine, which means that it has no residual sugar and often causes puckering sensations in the mouth. Cabernet pairs well with beef stroganoff, steak, short ribs, and roasted potatoes.

Pinot Noir

The Pinot Noir is a great wine, fine, subtly charming and like few others is likely to be combined with a multitude of dishes, from a simple kebab to a refined dish of duck breast with pomegranate.

The bouquet is enveloping, balsamic, with a bold and sumptuous finesse that few other wines can boast. Lavender, ginger, pink pepper, jasmine, and mint intertwine creating a vibrant freshness and surround delicate, ethereal fruit aromas, based on cherries, currants, citrus, pomegranate, and blueberries. Never miss aromatic herbs, aromas of olive and fennel, but above all the earthy notes like leaves, coffee, and truffles. Synthesizing is a natural symphony of extreme elegance.

On the palate, it is generally medium-bodied, agile, elegant, with good freshness, moderate alcohol, and silky tannins, excellent to accompany white meat roasts, but also fish fillets - and here lies its strength.

The ease with which it manages to cut fat and create a link with many foods without covering even the most delicate flavors. A single suggestion: choose not too elaborate or rich dishes and avoid the spicy that would burn off its discreet charm.

Malbec

enjoying red wine

Malbec is a French variety once very common in the Bordeaux area, while today its cultivation has moved to Charos, in France, and Argentina, where it is the most planted red vine that produces interesting and intense wines. It also finds popularity in the Loire, with good vine extensions.

Many Bordeaux winemakers have renounced to this vine in favor of the noble Merlot, also in consideration of the problems that it involves in comparison to the aristocratic grape spread all over the world. Malbec has problems with leaking, rotting, and downy mildew, as well as having no resistance to frosts. This is why it is grown more in hot climates, where these problems occur less frequently.

It also has less intense aromas compared to Merlot, another reason to replace it. In the calcareous and rocky areas of Cahors, however, on low fertile and high altitude soils, it is able to provide good results, with dense wines and very dark colors, so much so as to have been nicknamed black wine , with good fruity aromas and outstanding tannic structures.

Merlot

The organoleptic characteristics of Merlot are universally recognized by all wine lovers, who consider the vine to be rounded and soft.

Thanks to the great ability to adapt to different climatic conditions and soil, the Merlot grape has spread widely in many parts of the world, with very different results.

In some cases it has given life to real productions of excellence, in other cases it has been used to "tame" the most grumpy wines, giving body and amiability to the most difficult red wines, so as to be considered, in the case of wines of low quality, as an "asleep" of flavor and personality.

For this reason, as we will see later, one of the most important advice when it comes to choosing a good Merlot is to rely on producers of wines recognized in the area and with crystal clear fame .

Returning to the organoleptic characteristics of Merlot, the wines resulting from this vine are velvety, intense, ruby-red; the smell allows to recognize very clearly the red fruits of the forest (blackberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, etc.), all the typical smells of the undergrowth, very grassy spices (oregano, etc.) up to the pine needles.

When tasted, Merlot is a deep, persistent and generally solid wine, often accompanied by grassy and woody notes.

Shiraz/Syrah

The name by which the Syrah grape is identified is quite recent. It was officially adopted in the early 1800s, with the creation of the first French ampelographic collections, made necessary by the arrival of phylloxera.

Previously the vine was known as Serine or Serene and was often confused with the Mondeuse, named until the end of that century Grosse Syrah . Shiraz, however, is the term with which it is called in Australia and South Africa.

Around this grape variety and its origin, many legends have arisen that only recently have found scientific answers, even if not exhaustive, in molecular biology.

Sources say that in 1224 the nobleman Gaspard de Steinberg, returning from the Crusades, brought Syrah from Cyprus to Tain, a town in the middle part of the Rhone.

This is likely if we think that also the Mondeuse and the Altesse-vine very similar to the Furmint arrived in Hungary with the Templars from Cyprus-followed the same path, brought by the Savoy in the thirteenth century.

Recognizing Syrah wine is quite simple. With a little training, you will be able to identify some recurring traits.

The color is intense, dark red and tends to garnet with age, but the pigmentation of Syrah is a first sign to be recognized: deep ink.

The bouquet is characterized by intense aromas of chocolate and pepper like few other wines in the world. Followed by blueberries, berries, currants, spices, tobacco, with a finish of licorice, rhubarb, and cocoa.

On the palate, it is warm, sumptuous, tannic and full-bodied, ample in its expressiveness. In the mouth is dense, you can perceive its bulk, but the tannins are fine-grained, and the finish of plum and chocolate-mint is unmistakable.le to discover some recurring traits.

Primitivo

Central Coast

The Primitivo di Manduria is one of the main red wines of Puglia , a structured and powerful wine, very fruity, but velvety, which although it has a minimum gradation of 14 degrees, manages to be always pleasant and very drinkable.

Everything is in the maturation, which as the name suggests is very precocious, in fact, the Primitivo is harvested even since the second half of August, and despite this, the polyphenolic maturation is already perfect, and the amount of sugar in the berries is noticeable.

It is a warm wine, sumptuous and enveloping, with a fruity bouquet of plum and cherries in spirit, blueberry jam, to which are added dried flowers, spicy notes and unmistakable scents of Mediterranean scrub and salt.

On the palate, it is structured, warm, rightly tannic, medium acid, soft, slightly salty and well-modulated with a depth of sip and good drinkability of sip, despite the other gradation.

In youth it is purple and markedly fruity, with the passing of the years it tends to garnet-brick color and develops classical tertiary aromas.

Lambrusco

We could tell that Lambrusco was a farm wine until a few decades ago, the grapes were crushed, fermented thanks to the yeasts present on the skins, then bottled with still fermented sugar and the fermentation left spontaneously when the winter ended and the yeasts awakened from hibernation.

And then, as if by magic, the wine became sparkling, the so-called ancestral method that is so cool to the present day. There was the bottom; the bottles burst like carnival firecrackers if they were not handled with caution or if they were put in the sun and in the heat.

But the ancestral method of Lambrusco is none other than the old method used to make Champagne when it was not yet outgrown and then adjusted with the liqueur d'expedition.

In fact, once Lambrusco was a slightly sparkling, turbid, fragrant and acid, sharp wine.

Lambrusco has a particularly brilliant and sparkling ruby color. Its foam is particularly rosy and its aroma very fine, fresh and fruity. The taste is harmonious and slightly acidic, absolutely not very full-bodied and delicate.

On the nose, it is also fine and extremely fresh, in some ways with notes of violet flavor that make it truly unmistakable. All these characteristics of Lambrusco, make it particularly suitable to be enjoyed as a young person.

Granacha

Because of the widespread cultivation, this vine has many names: Cannonau, Grenache, Alicante, Granaxa, Navarra, Rivesaltes, Roussillon, etc. The variety of names goes hand in hand with the variety of aromas in the wine.

It is the fourth most cultivated grape in the world. It probably comes from Aragon, from where it first spread to Rioja and then to Navarre.

The Grenache is high yield and grows best in sunny and windy weather. This vine is poorly endowed with colored pigments, so it is particularly suitable for the production of rose wines.

Grenache produces full-bodied and spicy wines with high sugar content. It is very common in Spain and in French Midi. One of the best rosé wines in the world produced with Grenache grapes - the Tavel - comes from the south of the Côtes du Rhône. In Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where it is the main vine, concentrated red wines are produced which can contain up to 90% of Grenache.

In Banyuls, with the Grenache vinified in purity, we obtain a wine similar to the port that bears the same name as the locality.

Thanks to the high sugar content, Spanish wines made with Grenache are more concentrated and stable, but not always more elegant. In Rioja, it is the most cultivated grape variety and is often cut with the Tempranillo. In Sardinia, the grape is called Cannonau and produces vigorous wines.

This vine is very often found also in areas of cultivation overseas. It is the fourth most common variety in California, but it is rarely indicated on the label because it is used for semi-sweet rosés or as a basic component for the Californian port. Grenache is also used in the same way in Australia where the quantity cultivated is second only to that of Shiraz.

Monastrell 

blind wine tasting

The Monastrell comes from Spain. The name may suggest that the variety was first cultivated by the monks. The Monastrell is identical to the grape known in France as Mourvèdre. The vines are thirsty for sun and heat, but they also need a good supply of water. For these reasons, the ideal climate is the Mediterranean one.

The vine is cultivated in many places in Spain but is often found in other parts of the world. It is perfectly suited to warm and dry areas. It is either vinified in purity or used in assemblies, and produces wines with a high tannin with high alcohol content.

Tempranillo

This vine was probably put into circulation by the monks of Cluny on a pilgrimage to the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. Tempranillo is best known as a cutting wine in Rioja wines. Because it has little sweetness and acidity, it is rarely vinified in purity.

Together with Garnacha, it is the most important grape variety of Rioja in northern Spain. It grows in the colder parts of the Rioja Alta and Alavesa and makes up about half of the area planted with vines in the region.

When exposed to high temperatures, the vine produces relatively flat wines. Having a fairly thick skin the grapes of the Tempranillo grape produce in the wine very tannin, which favors aging. The berries ripen early and have little acidity – “Temprano” in Spanish means “early.”

The wines are light and elegant. To achieve longer storage time, the Tempranillo is assembled together with Garnacha and Mazuelo. Geographical spread is limited: it is practically found only in Spain and in Portugal under various names. In Catalonia, among other things, Miguel Torres cuts it with other varieties such as Monastrell and Cabernet Sauvignon. These wines then end up in commerce under the Catalan name Ull de Llebre.

The Tempranillo is also widespread in the La Mancha region, where it is assembled with the white Airén variety.

It is also found in Portugal, particularly in the Alentejo regions and as a port wine grape in the Douro Valley with the name of Tinta Roriz.

Traditionally new barrels of American white oak is used in the Rioja, which gives the wine a special taste and determines its quality.

The strong character of vanilla that the aging in new oak barrels produces in most of the wines of the Rioja, often, unfortunately, hides the specific characteristics of the vine. The elegant and soft fruit of the Tempranillo grape is therefore found in the best bottles that are a real treat.

About the Author

Although not having any formal training in wine, Tim has developed an irrefutable love of wine and interest in anything related to it ever since he was a little kid. Coming from a family of wine lovers, it was from a young age that he got exposed to wine and the culture that goes with it and has been addicted ever since. Having traveled to dozens of wine regions across the world including those in France, Italy, California, Australia, and South Africa and tasted a large selection of their wines, it is with great joy that he hopes to share those experiences here and take you along on the journey.

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