Good choices to start with.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel are good choices to start with. For food pairing, if it is a light-bodied red wine, go with grilled vegetables, white meat or chicken. A medium-bodied to full-bodied red wine can get along well with meat dishes such as steaks or smoked meat.

Cabernet Sauvignon is always a safe (yet sophisticated!) bet to order at just about any meal to please the whole group. While California Cabs can be a bit fruitier, and French Cabs a bit more herbal, a glass is always delightful to drink as you look for notes of cherries and currants, as well as spices. A Cabernet Sauvignon would be delicious with a short rib, or lamb.

Merlot is a great entry point for someone trying to get into red wine. The wine is really “easy” to drink, meaning it’s fruity and yummy, and won’t make your mouth pucker up with tannins. Drink with poultry like duck or chicken.

Among the lightest and most delicate wines with this hue, Pinot Noir won’t punch you in the face like some reds can; it has a “light body” in the lingo and feels silky to the tongue. You might taste raspberry or cranberry. Drink with sushi or salmon. Yes, you can drink red wine with fish!

Zinfandel is an interesting wine because the taste can really vary based on where it’s grown, though it’s usually nice and juicy and high in alcohol content. Imagine juicy, spicy strawberries that get you smashed. Drink with meats like pork ribs.

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