Finding the best red wine for non wine drinkers doesn’t have to be tough. If your taste buds are used to beer or some other drink, it can take a bit of experimentation to discover which flavors of wine you like. This guide to easy-drinking wines will emphasize grape varieties that most people will enjoy.
Word To The Wise About Suggesting Wines
Before going onward, there is a word of caution. Non-wine drinkers should never be pressured to have wine. I happen to love the taste of wine, personally. Yet, I recognize that many people don’t like white wines, red wines, or any drink with alcohol content. Please respect the wishes of non-wine drinkers. If you are hosting a party or event, offering multiple options for your guests including a non-alcoholic option is crucial.
3 Questions To Find The Best Red Wine For Non Wine Drinkers
Making a great wine suggestion for another person is one of the great joys of progressing along your wine journey.
1 Does the person like any type of wine?
This guide focuses on the best red wine for non wine drinkers. With that in mind, ask yourself what type of wine drinker they are? Maybe they love sparkling wine, or they are a white wine drinker? If possible, find out your friend’s specific favorite wines or grape varieties. For example, experienced wine drinkers may ask a friend if they like a popular wine variety like Pinot Grigio. By giving an example, it is easier to come up with plenty of choices.
2 Do they prefer dry wines or sweet wines?
Sometimes, your friend may not have a favorite type of wine. In that case, ask them if they prefer sweet or dry wines. As a rule, almost every bottle or glass of wine served in a restaurant or bar will be a dry wine (ordering a whole bottle? Then make sure you know how many glasses of wine in a bottle). You may sometimes see sweeter wines (e.g., port wines) on a dessert menu. Most beginner wine drinkers can tell you whether they like or don’t dry wines, sweet wines or dessert wines. Knowing the types of wine they like makes it easier to give recommendations and find the perfect choice.
3 What are you going to have with the wine?
Whether a wine enthusiast is hosting a dinner party or meeting friends at a restaurant, thinking about food and wine together is always wine. To get started on the art of food and wine pairing, see some of our past guides:
Dessert Wine Pairing
Whether you like milk chocolate or dark chocolate, combining wine with chocolate can be difficult. This guide to wine chocolate pairing is all you need to get started.
Finding delicious wine that works well with the range of flavors in a stir fry is easy with this guide. Pinot Gris is usually a good choice!
The Top Red Wines To Avoid For Non-Wine Drinkers
To select these wines, I thought about factors that make red wines more approachable such as light tannins, fruit-forward wine, and light-bodied wine. Since French and Italian wine tend to be the focus here at Travel by Glass, you’ll find plenty of those wines. I’ll also include a few examples from other regions like Willamette Valley and Napa Valley. I’ll skip non-alcoholic wine because it is not our focus.
Light-Bodied Red Wine Options For Beginners
All of these lighter wines are a good option for beginners. Light wine, especially those with a fruity taste, is usually easy to drink. Complex wines, including full-bodied red wine, tend to have different flavor characteristics, which may not appeal to non wine drinkers. Also, a full-bodied wine – especially a red – are more likely to have significant tannin (i.e., a bitter flavor).
Among lighter varieties, Gamay makes a fine introduction to wine drinking. To find out more about this popular choice, my guide to the best Gamay wine is a great starting point. Want to go deep on French wine like me? Check out my guide to the best Beaujolais wine. In addition, many fine gamay wines are made in the Loire Valley region of France.
Zinfandel is one of the most popular lighter wines produced mainly in the United States. The fruity flavors in Zinfandel wines include cherry, plum, jam, and cranberry. Zinfandel is available in both dry and sweet styles. This wine might be the right one for you if you have a sweet tooth. If you want a wine with a sweet taste, make sure you ask the wine director or wine store if the wine is dry or sweet – drier styles are more common in the wine world, so make your preferences known.
Pinot Noir offers several interesting flavor notes like black raspberry and cranberry. Pinot Noirs are aromatic wines, making them easy to savor (no need to hunt for subtle aromas in most cases). The wine also has low tannin content, making it perfect for people who prefer lighter white wines like Sauvignon Blanc. Quality Pinot Noir in a glass with dinner is often a good choice.
Do you like Zinfandel? The flavor profiles of Primitivo and Zinfandel are very similar because they are made from the same grape. Therefore, the fruity aromas are pretty similar. This Italy light body wine brings fruit flavors like raspberry. You may find baking spice flavors in the wine if the wine is aged in oak barrels.
Rosé Wine Options For Beginners
Rosé wine is an excellent choice for beginners who may be new to enjoying an alcoholic beverage like red wine. Let’s look at a few examples to see if these fruity wines suit your wine palate.
Rose Wines From France
The French approach to wine is often fantastic, so let’s start there. Rose wines from France from Provence are rightly famous and worthwhile for people new to red wine. These rose wines offer a citrus flavor, natural flavors of strawberry, and a crisp flavor from acidity.
Rose Wine From Sonoma County
In California, you have plenty of options for quality rose wines. Some popular options include The Prisoner and Angels & Cowboys. For example, Angels & Cowboys is a wine made in Sonoma County from Grenache. The wine is made using the traditional Provençal method.
Cooler Climate vs Warmer Climate: The Impact On Wine Taste
Wine industry professionals love to discuss advanced details like the impact of different soil types and climates on the taste of wine. When working with wine beginners, it is best to keep life simple.
Generally speaking, red wines from a cool climate wine region like France’s Loire Valley tend to have lower alcohol, lighter body, and higher acidity. When you start with lower alcohol content, it is easier to practice alcohol moderation.
On the other hand, a warm climate wine region like Napa Valley tends to have a higher alcohol level. Dark fruit flavors like blueberries, blackberries, and plum are more common in the warmer climate of wine.
Best Red Wine For Non Wine Drinkers In Summary
Introducing red wine to a non wine drinker is easier when you keep a few guidelines in mind. It is generally best to choose a wine grape variety known for its light body, like Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, and Primitivo. It’s also worth trying a bottle of rose wines, especially on a hot summer day.