If you’re new to the world of wines, picking the best wine for beginners can be confusing. After all, with a variety of options to choose from, it can be hard to decide what to order! Fortunately, we’re here to help you beat the stress of selecting the perfect bottle of wine.
You can find great bottles of wine anywhere, from the limited list at a restaurant to a vast selection at an upscale wine store. We will break down some tips for selecting the perfect bottle of wine in each of these locations, as well as how to get a $2,000 bottle of wine for as low as $129.99 with this trick we learned from FoodNetwork.com!
Let’s start by taking a look at some of the best wines for beginners.
Choosing the Best Wine for Beginners
Some of the best food-related stories begin with the phrase, “It started with the wine.” So, if you’re a novice who’s curious to know what the fuss is all about, you’re in the right place. Here are a few recommendations of easy-drinking wines to help you select the best bottle of red wine or white wine as per your choice.
- Sauvignon Blanc: This one’s a light-bodied wine with pleasing aromas of grapefruit, asparagus, and herbs. It’s among the best bottles of white wine and can be paired with several light foods such as vegetables, chicken, fish, and pork.
- Pinot Noir: A light-bodied red wine, it’s earthy and usually has hints of raspberry and cherry. It pairs well with dishes made with mushrooms, chicken, pork, and duck.
- Chardonnay: A full-bodied white wine with notes of butter, tropical fruit, and citric elements. Foods that pair well with it include lobster, scallops, and cream sauces.
- Pinot Gris: Also known as Pinot Grigio, this one’s a light to medium-bodied white wine. It usually has aromas of apple, peach, honeysuckle, and citric elements. It goes well with light foods such as vegetables, fish dishes, and shellfish.
- Cabernet Sauvignon: Last but not least, this is a medium to full-bodied bold wine, with notes of black pepper, plum, blackberry, and even leather. It can be had with steak, braised short ribs, and even hamburgers.
How to Choose a Good Bottle of Wine in a Restaurant?
When selecting a wine in a restaurant, we suggest reviewing the menu beforehand and deciding what you would like to order so you can narrow down your type of wine based on the dish. In the event you can’t, we suggest having a wine and food pairing chart handy on your phone or asking the waiter/waitress for their recommendations. Here are some more tips you should follow when trying to decipher a restaurant wine list:
- Set a budget: Having a number in your head as to what you’re willing to spend will make it easier to narrow down your choices. A good rule of thumb is to take the priciest entree on the menu and add 50% more to the price. Typically, restaurants assume their guests will pay about that price for a good bottle of wine.
- Eliminate half the menu: How, you ask? It’s easy. Choose either red or white.
- Ask to sample: Restaurants will almost always let you try their wines before you commit. Always ask!
How to Pick a Good Wine Bottle at a Wine Store?
Going to a wine store can be an educational experience. With hundreds to choose from, how can you decide? Try narrowing down your search by following this advice:
- Try inexpensive bottles: Each grape is distinct with its own flavor so sampling a lower-priced bottle of wine will narrow down the type of grapes you enjoy.
- Pick the popular brand: These bottles have been enjoyed by thousands of wine drinkers, whether they’re an expert or a beginner. There’s no room for error when going with a brand that has brought thousands of consumers satisfaction for a reasonable price.
- Price isn’t everything: Just because a bottle is twice the price, does not mean it will be better. Higher-priced bottles can have an acquired taste, so if you’re just getting started try something more universal to avoid altering your palette.
- Ask the experts: Wine stores are staffed with knowledgeable experts who can help find the right bottle. Offering as many details as possible can help them suggest the best wine for your taste. Some points of reference would be having a price range, knowing what you will serve with the wine and even the occasion you’re celebrating.
- Get the best deal: If you want a high-quality wine without the high price tag, ask the wine store if they have any “second-label wines.” These grapes are given the same first-class treatment that their main-label wines get, but due to the limited production and exclusivity of these wines, they create a second-label. So, for example, you can purchase the “attainable sister” of a $2,000 bottle of wine for only $129.99!
How to Choose a Good Bottle of Wine at a Liquor Store?
If you’re wondering which is the best wine to buy at the liquor store but are confused, don’t fret. Typically, the store associates can guide you to the right choice. These brief tips will make the selection process a breeze when entering the liquor store:
- Know your price range: As suggested above, knowing the price range you are willing to spend will make it easier to narrow down your options once you are in the store.
- Browse the store catalog: Depending on the liquor store, they may have a seasonal catalog that shows you different seasonal wines and possible food pairings.
- Trust the signs: Stores may have signs such as “Manager’s Favorite” or “Seasonal Sippers” that are the store’s attempt to make the wine buying experience less stressful. These signs may also have recommendations for what to serve with the wine.
Do You Tip on a Bottle of Wine at Dinner?
A lot of people who buy/order wine often don’t know the answer to this question. And rightly so because there’s no straightforward answer to it. In fact, the whole of America is divided on this issue.
Lizzie Post, who runs the Emily Post Institute opines, “if you have just ordered just one glass of inexpensive wine at the bar, the standard tip is $1 to $2 and if you’ve ordered a bottle at dinner, a 15 to 20 percent tip on the entire check is customary in our culture.”
So the next time you want to ask someone, “Hey, do you tip on a bottle of wine?”, recall this tidbit and then make your decision!
It’s Time To Uncork And Unwined With Us!
Leave our wine experts at Cork Bar & Restaurant to pair your dish with the best wine option. Look out for our wine tastings throughout the year!