Step 1: Sweet, floral whites
Sweet whites are the most accessible of wines. I remember before I started drinking wine, I imagined it as some kind of magical, potent grape elixer. Then I sipped a Cabernet Sauvignon and that image was shattered. Had I started with a sweet white like moscato or Riesling, my imagination may have fared better. Moscato was always a little to saccharine sweet for me, but a nice Riesling is always refreshing in the hot summer months. Riesling is one of my favorite varietals: It's a little sweet and floral, and usually pairs well with a variety of foods.
A scene from Seneca Lake, one of the Finger Lakes
Tasting notes: Rieslings are often fruity and floral, with aromas of green apple, lychee, and honeysuckle. In terms of residual sugar, it can be found in sweet, semi-dry, and dry. If you're a real beginner, try a semi-dry or sweet bottle. The best Rieslings are from Germany, Washington State and a place close to my heart - the Finger Lakes region of New York State.
Three to try:
Lamoreaux Landing semi-dry riesling: Lamoreaux Landing produces consistently great Rieslings and Gewurztraminer.
Chateau Ste Michele dry riesling: Usually around $10, this is one of my favorite rieslings and a great value.
Dr. Konstantine Frank dry riesling: Zesty. floral, and tangerine notes. One of the best bets from the Finger Lakes.
Note: If you're in the Finger Lakes in August, check out the Finger Lakes Riesling Festival on Canandaigua Lake.
Any other riesling fans out there? What are your favorite bottles?