Best Varietals for Wine Beginners

Wine 101

Best Varietals for Wine Beginners

Friends toasting with white wine.

Embarking on a journey into the world of wine can be both exciting and daunting, especially for beginners navigating through the vast array of grape varieties and wine styles. If you've ever found yourself standing in front of shelves stacked with bottles, unsure of where to begin or which varietal to choose – you're not alone. 

In this comprehensive beginner's guide to wine, we're here to help you through the maze of choices with 4 easy-sipping recommendations. From crisp whites to velvety reds, get ready for an exciting journey of discovery that will help inform which varietals you like best.

1. Pinot Grigio

A bottle of Jackson-Triggs Proprietor's Selection Pinot Grigio.

Celebrated for its lively citrus notes and refreshing acidity, this light to medium-bodied white wine is the perfect accompaniment to delicate fish, white meats, shellfish, and vegetables. Originating as a grayish-purple variant of Pinot Noir, it also lends itself beautifully to rosé production. Renowned for its dry style, Pinot Grigio exhibits a less sweet profile compared to Chardonnay because of its high acidity. Depending on the terroir, one may detect nuanced hints of honeysuckle and a subtle saline-like minerality, adding depth to its character. 

This versatile wine, known for its adaptability to various cuisines, brings a refreshing brightness to any meal. Its crisp acidity and vibrant fruit flavours make it an excellent choice for warm weather gatherings or casual dining occasions. Whether enjoyed on its own or paired with a variety of dishes, Pinot Grigio offers a delightful experience for wine enthusiasts seeking a lively and approachable wine.

2. Pinot Noir

A bottle of Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir boasts a distinctive character, offering a multifaceted spectrum of flavours ranging from luscious cherry and raspberry to nuances of tea leaves and hints of clove. On the nose, this red wine has a wonderful notes of red fruits wafting from the glass. With further exploration, layers of earthiness and spice begin to open, complemented by delicate notes of vanilla and smoke if aged in oak. Over time, subtle hints of mushroom and leather may develop, adding depth to its evolving bouquet. 

On the palate, Pinot Noir typically presents a light to medium-bodied profile, characterized by gentle tannins due to its thin grape skins and elevated acidity. With alcohol levels typically ranging between 12-14%, it delivers a silky and refined mouthfeel. Famous for its versatility, it harmonizes flawlessly with a myriad of dishes, from succulent duck and pork to flavourful mushroom-based creations.

3. Sauvignon Blanc

A 4L large format of Jackson-Triggs Proprietors Selection Sauvignon Blanc.

When it comes to white wines, Sauvignon Blanc holds a special place as a beloved favourite. In fact, it’s a standout amongst other varietals because of its high acidity and distinctive herbal flavours, such as bell pepper, jalapeño, and hints of grassiness. Notably, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc are the parent grapes of the esteemed Cabernet Sauvignon.  

In the realm of New World wines, Sauvignon Blanc hails from regions like Canada and New Zealand, while in the Old World, it finds its expression in esteemed terroirs such as Italy and France. This light-bodied white wine entices with aromas of grapefruit and refreshing grassy undertones. It pairs beautifully with light-hearted dishes, including green vegetables, herbaceous chicken, and delicately seasoned fish.

750 ml

$13.95

4 L

$47.95

750 ml

$13.95

4 L

$47.95

4. Cabernet Sauvignon

A 4L large format Jackson-Triggs Proprietor's Selection cabernet sauvignon.

Commonly referred to as Cabernet or Cab, this best-known grape is small, dark blue, and thick-skinned. Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc are the parent grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon. As the most planted wine grape in the world with approximately 840,000 acres, Cabernet grapes may be small and yet they produce powerful flavoured red wines that age well and blend easily with other grapes. Due to this grape’s smaller ratio of juice to skin and seeds, the tannins in this varietal are higher.  

A medium to full-bodied red, Cabernet Sauvignon is brimming with juicy black fruit notes, tannins, and acidity. Pair a glass with succulent grilled steak, hamburgers, and short ribs for a wonderful contrast that works to balance out the meatiness and fattiness. A Cabernet on the full-bodied side benefits from aerating into a glass or a decanter before enjoying.

4 L

Price reduced to

$44.95

from the original price of

$47.95

750 ml

Price reduced to

$14.95

from the original price of

$16.95

4 L

Price reduced to

$44.95

from the original price of

$47.95

750 ml

Price reduced to

$14.95

from the original price of

$16.95

Shop Popular Varietals at Wine Rack 

Wine Rack is your ultimate destination for discovering and enjoying quality wines that suit your taste preferences and occasions. Our commitment to accessibility and convenience means that whether you're browsing our shelves in one of our over 160 Ontario locations or checking out our online selection from the comforts of home, finding your new favourite wine has never been easier.  

From time spent in the backyard and barbecues with friends to those serene cottage getaways, you can elevate your moments this season with delicious wines from Wine Rack – your friendly neighbourhood wine retailer. With our exceptional selection, convenient hours, in-store assistance, and wine delivery, you can enjoy an easy experience any time you shop with us. Cheers!

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