Is wine typically an "acquired taste"?
I'm still rather young (though legal) and my experience with alcohol is very limited. I don't care for the bitter tastes. Yet I do wish I could enjoy a glass of wine with family at holiday dinners instead of sipping and making a 'Blegh!' face.
Is it normal to take time to appreciate it? Is wine-drinking more common with mature age? Or was it instant love for you? Any tips on how to make the experience more pleasant?
I believe for most people alcohol is an acquired taste.
Generally speaking one finds a wine or combination of alcohol that tastes sweet or seems devoid of alcohol and then then they gradually expand their tastes.
A novice drinker may think wine is wine or beer is beer.
However once one acquires a taste they have their favorites as well as those they continue to dislike. I didn't start appreciating Pinot Noir wine until I had a bottle of Wild Horse in a restaurant. I also enjoyed their Merlot. The winery, it's location, & year makes a difference.
It was a similar experience for me with Chardonnay. I was at a company Christmas party that was serving Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay.
Another factor has to do with whatever type of food you're having. Certain wines go better with beef, fish, chicken...etc. Different years also matter. White wine is usually chilled and red usually is not.
You might enjoy going to a wine tasting event with a group of friends.
If you live near a Costco or Sam's you may notice in their wine departments a (point scoring system) by the various wines along with a blurb describing the wine's taste and aroma along with other attributes for that bottled year.
Naturally most of their wines be in the high 80s or above.
Wine Spectator's 100-Point Scale:
95-100 -- Classic; a great wine
90-94 -- Outstanding; superior character and style
80-89 -- Good to very good; wine with special qualities
70-79 -- Average; drinkable wine that may have minor flaws
60-69 -- Below average; drinkable but not recommended
50-59 -- Poor; undrinkable, not recommended
You may even surprise yourself a like a wine that is not rated all that high or in the $10-$12 per bottle price range like Robert Mondavi Private Selection Central Coast Pinot Grigio.
It may come down to your family's taste in wine is different from your own or you may never find a wine you do enjoy. Some people are really into having scotch, vodka, beers, or assorted cocktails with meals. Each type of alcohol has it's own sophisticated followers or enthusiasts.
If you do not like wine you can try mixing it with lemonade or diluting it with Soda Water at first. There are subtle under tones in the flavors and the answer already given has a lot of good pointers. The German white wines are generally lighter and fruitier (often called hocks or reislings). These are a good starting point. Most young people prefer white to red at least initially although Merlot is rounded and may be a good red to start on. Bugundies are deeper and drier and you may find the taste too dry at least initially.
Wines are bought to compliment the palate and offset the fats and richness of the food you eat so they are not really intended to drink on their own, unless they are classified as an aperitif in which case they are sweeter and often stronger or enhanced like port and sherry. I hope this helps.
Contrary to the opinions/scale voiced in the "Wine Spectator" magazine shown in another answer, it is important to remember that every person is an individual, and taste ratings are 100% subjective.
One person's 'great-classic!' is another's 'ick-rotgut!' Champagne is a great example. It comes in all price ranges, and in my own opinion, the pricier ones are far drier--which is to say much more astringent feeling to the mouth. I've had a gift of an expensive champagne, and I did not like it one bit; I'd rather have had a beer!
You may prefer sweeter wines, such as a tawny port, or sherry, which are more like dessert wines.
I never really cared much for wine to be honest about it. I found the taste bitter and highly unpleasant most of the time but there are a few wines out there that won't make you get that 'Blegh' face.
I found that a good start if you are use to sweet tasting alcohols would be a Mascato. Not a red Mascato but a white or pink one. They are pretty sweet and don't taste like your typical wine selection.
I expect alcoholic drink per se are an acquired taste. From what I can deduce, most people don't particular like beer or wine, and certainly not spirits, when first tasted. But it's the effect not the taste that eventually draws the drinker until the taste becomes a desirable one. Once a liking is acquired, it generally sticks.
As a man who drank alcohol for sixty years (18 to 78) and thoroughly enjoyed doing so, I'm sceptical about all the ballyhoo that surrounds wine-tasting. Take away the alcohol content and no one would buy it, I suspect. Bit like horse racing, the 'Sport of Kings.' How many would support it if you couldn't bet on it?
No, it is sensation which rules, be it one of the 'exciting apprehension' that gambler gets hooked on, or the alcoholic induced changes of lower inhibition that grog supplies, that is the deciding factor.
But live, learn and enjoy. I'm certainly not a wowser even though I now take a drink but rarely. Like everything in life, moderation is the thing.
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