Most of you have probably heard that any wine YOU like is a good wine. This is true if simply enjoying wine is your goal. To determine what is good for you, all you need is to give it a swish and take a sip. Your taste buds will decide “yes” or “no.”

It’s true that figuring out what you like is an important component of wine tasting, but it’s not the only component. Quickly passing judgment about a wine is not the same as truly understanding and evaluating it. As you become more knowledgeable you will begin to acquire a taste profile and you will begin to identify the main flavors and scent components in every wine you try. You will know the basic characteristics of the most important varietal grapes, and beyond that, the blended wines from the best wine-producing regions. You will also be able to quickly point out specific flaws in bad wines.

Picking the best wine for yourself or a dinner party can be truly exhausting. Just look at all those bottles lining the shelves! Red, white, sparkling… it’s easy to pick the same bottle over and over, but variety is key when hosting. To help you narrow the choices, here is a list of the most popular types of wines so you can find something everyone might like:

Pinot Grigio

Particularly from Italy, is known for being dry, light, fruity, and easy drinking; making it one of the most popular wines. These acidic pinot grigios pair easily with fish, chicken and shellfish.

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is the most planted grape in the world and the U.S., though many either love it or hate it. It is often noted as being “buttery” or “oaky” in flavor varietals.

Rosé

More of a style of winemaking versus a grape, rosé wines are made when red grape skins are left in contact with the wine for a short time, allowing a little color to be imparted but not as much as a red wine. Rosé has soared in popularity over the past few years due to its quaffability and ease of pairing with pretty much everything. Flavors can range from strawberry to citrus to melon.

Pinot Noir

Lighter than other grapes (such as merlot, malbec and cabernet sauvignon), pinot noir is fruity and soft, making it a crowd pleaser for red-wine drinkers.

Cabernet Sauvignon

With flavors of black currant, anise and black pepper, cabernet sauvignon is the most popular red wine. Cabernet sauvignon known for its’ boldness is grown in almost every wine-growing region in the world. Cabernet sauvignon is a fabulous choice if you’re serving red meat; if it’s a little too strong for your palate look for blended wines such as merlot, malbec, cabernet franc, or petit verdot.

There are often local wine tastings making it a great way to be introduced to new wines and gain knowledge of types and pairings. Now it’s time to get out there and start tasting. Here is a list of places to start with. Have fun and enjoy the ride!

Local places to go for wine:

Wild Olives – Rosemary Beach, FL

Paradis – Rosemary Beach, FL

Havana Beach Bar and Grill in the Pearl – Rosemary Beach, FL

Cuvee, 30Avenue – Rosemary Beach, FL

Old Florida Fish House – Seagrove, FL

Coastal Dunes – Seagrove, FL

The Wine Bar – Watercolor