How to Pick a Good Sweet Red Wine

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Choosing a wine can be tricky but not impossible, as long as you know the basics of a good wine.
Choosing a wine can be tricky but not impossible, as long as you know the basics of a good wine. (Image: red wine image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com)

Choosing a wine can be an overwhelming experience, especially to a beginner. Sweet red wines are a nice place to start because they are pleasant and drinkable wines that appeal to many people. Although choosing a wine at random can sometimes yield surprising results, it is often better to learn about the types of sweet red wines you enjoy and start from there. Keep your mind open to different flavors, and take note of what you actually like rather than what someone tells you to like.

Learn about the different types of sweet red wines. They tend to include dessert wines, blushes and fruity wines. Dessert wines are usually extra sweet and are typically drunk after dinner. Blush wines are a semi-sweet pink wines that are made from red grapes but taste and look more like a white wine, while fruity wines are red wines that are low in acidity and tannin level.

Visit a winery that makes sweet red wines. Wineries offer free tours of their vineyards as well as their wine-making facilities. You'll learn about the types of grapes that make sweet red wines, as well as other wines. You'll also learn about the process by which wines are made and how they differ among varieties.

Participate in a wine tasting. Most wineries as well as specialty wine shops offer free wine tastings. Wine tastings are the easiest way to decide which wines you like best because the events give you the opportunity to try various wines firsthand. Note the different flavors, aromas and colors of the wines you are tasting, and pay attention to which ones you are drawn to the most.

Compare wine ratings. Check out "Wine Spectator Online" or the "Wine Enthusiast Magazine" website for their lists of wine ratings. The editors review thousands of wines a year and rate them according to drinkability. Remember, though, that the ratings are based on opinion, and every person's palate is different.

Consider the price and occasion. The amount you are willing to spend on a bottle of wine should depend on the occasion. Buying an expensive vintage wine instead of an everyday table wine for an ordinary weekend lunch is a bit excessive, but buying a table wine for a special occasion isn't appropriate either.

Keep a wine log. As you sample different sweet red wines and learn about the various flavors and aromas, write down the ones you enjoy the most as well as the ones you don't. You can use these notes as a guide when reading labels and descriptions while wine shopping.

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