I love wines and I have found that the easiest ones to drink for beginners are white in color. I definitely prefer the Sweet wines such as Moscato and Riesling. I also like White Zinfandel, chardonnay is drifting into the drier type wines.
There are many types of wines out there the best thing to do is to find a wine bar in your local area and do a tasting. It's definitely more table friendly that just laying a bottle of jack with dinner at night lol.
Wine is Awesome!
Following are white wines that are semi-sweet to sweet (not dry) that go down nicely by themselves or with white sauces and meats:
Barefoot brand Reisling
Sutter Home brand Moscato
Ste. Chappelle brand Special Harvest Reisling
The wines that I liked when I first started were Arbor Mist the berry blend, SutterHomes, and the blushes.
I found that starting with the sweet or dessert wines acclimates the palate to wine. Eating wine with cheeses also enhances the experience.
My cardiologist wants me on the "darkest" of the wines. I've found that to be the merlots, and I'm still in a search for my favorite Merlot. Sutter Homes Isn't bad, but once you start enjoying wine, there's a whole new vineyard out there. OH, and another mix that I recently read about and tried... mix your wine with your favorite fruits. Let them marinate over night in the fridge. YUMMY!
If you're willing to try blends, the Menage et Trois blends are amazing. They have a red, a pink, and a white. They're very balanced in flavors, good for both beginners and *cough* expert drinkers.
Thanks MikeUtah for the recommendation over here. This looks like a great group!
My first "humble" contribution (sorry for the x-post from postmo)
Go to your local liquor store and talk to the wine expert. Tell him you are very new to it, and that you want help developing a taste for it and you're not sure what you will like. We have been working through a 'binary tree' of wines - start with 2 wines on opposite ends of the spectrum, and then tell him which we liked best. He would then select the next two based on the previous results. It has been a blast and we have had great success in developing an appreciation for the extremely complex flavors.
White wine and red wine are fundamentally different animals, so you have to approach each of them individually. Red wines have a very strong 'tannin' flavor that is a very unique flavor, but once acquired it is fantastic. Many people will tell you to start with 'sweet' wines, but I think this is an unwise and shortsighted approach. The taste of real wine is amazing, and unless you develop a taste for real wine you will be stuck drinking dessert wine for a long time. Good whites to start with - reisling, non-Oregon pinio grigio, and an occasional moscato (although they are sickly sweet to me now). Good reds - pinor noir, shiraz, and blends. I would highly recommend talking to the wine dude about the wines - I have found they are extremely nice and more than happy to get a new customer hooked :)
For whites - they need to be served chilled (45-50 degrees). Put it in the fridge and pull the bottle out 10-15 minutes before you serve it. At restaurants, they will store your partially used white wine bottle in a bucket of ice water to keep it cold.
For reds - the need to be served around 60-65 degrees. Store your red in the coolest part of your house (basement) or put them in the fridge for 20 minutes before you serve it.
Glasses - get a nice, classic red wine glass. You can use it for whites as well, but reds need a wider glass to aerate so you can't use a standard glass. The wine glass stem is long so that you don't hold the bowl in your hand and unintentionally warm the wine - remember, it's all about temperature.
Thank you for the tips! I have really liked most of the wine I've tried, but I haven't explored it or learned as much about it as I would like. How do you know which brands to buy?? :)