So, up to this point you've really only liked white wine, but you're feeling adventurous and want to try a red. I've got one word for you - Pinot ... Noir that is.
Why not a Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz? Pinot Noir is a perfect red wine to cut your chops on because it's lighter bodied than most red wines and it is made in a range of styles. By styles I mean that Pinot Noir can be anything from a light, lovely little flirt to a brooding, complicated and costly habit.
You may wonder how it's possible for a grape to be so diverse, but you first have to consider how hard it is to make a good Pinot. It is one of the most finicky grapes around.
For instance, it likes the weather to be cold, but not too cold. It needs moisture, but not too much. It needs sun, but not too hot. You see where I'm going with this.
Yes, Pinot Noir is challenging, but when it's done right it's the envy of all red wines.
This grape originated in Burgundy, France, and the wines that it creates in this region can be the most seductive, haunting and expensive that you'll ever have the pleasure of savoring.
But, if you're just starting out who wants to blow a bunch of money on something they may not even like? The trick to finding the right Pinot Noir for you is to taste a bunch of them from different wine regions around the world to see what you like. You need to decide if you want something from the Old World or New World.
The Old World is any country that had a monarchy: France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Germany.
Wines from the Old World tend to be earthier, have higher acidity and often have a little 'funk' on them, but with food there is nothing better.
Since the grape originated in France, you can find amazing wines from the different villages of the Cote de Nuits where Pinot Noir is the only red grape they are allowed to grow. In Somers Point you can find 2007 Domaine Daniel Rion from the Vosne Romanee village for just $52.50 at Passion Vines and Circle Liquor has Domaine Joseph Drouhin from the Nuits-St-Georges village for only $39.99.
The New World is any country that didn't have a monarchy: United States, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. It's easier to separate wines into these two categories because of what they have in common.
New World wines tend to have more fruit aromas and flavors, plus generally have higher alcohol. Most people starting out prefer a New World Pinot Noir with its sweeter aromas and flavors because we grew up on Coca-Cola and Kool-Aid and as adults we drink coffee with sugar or flavors. White Horse Liquors in Absecon has 2009 Byron from Santa Maria, Calif., at a steal for $19.99 and Cellar 32 in Brigantine has 2009 J Vineyard's Russian River Valley for $35.