September 10, 2021 by Arden Montgomery

Best Sweet Red Wine for Beginners

Wine can be a bit of a challenge if you’re not already a fan of the genre. And we don’t mean the culture, history, or complex tasting techniques — you don’t have to know anything about any of that in order to appreciate a good vintage. But a lot of people have never met a bottle they like, and despite a curiosity for all that wine has to offer, can’t seem to bring themselves to ever finish their glass. Especially when it comes to reds. 

White wines are usually where beginners start. They are generally very light and usually on the sweeter side, so it’s an easier transition to make if you’re used to sipping sodas or cocktails. Red wines are a bit more complicated and with a much wider range in terms of texture and taste. Reds can be sweet and fruity, or downright chewy with tasting notes like “sawdust” and “gunpowder” (we promise it tastes better than it sounds.)

If you’re new to wine and have decided to take the first steps into the world or the Rosso, we recommend saving the heavier stuff for later in your journey. For now, stick to the sweeter end of the scale for a delicious and totally drinkable experience. 

How to Choose Sweet Red Wine

There are two ways in which red wine can express sweetness, or the illusion of sweetness. One is through actual sugar content, and the other through the individual wine’s unique tasting notes. 

If you prefer two lumps of sugar in your tea, choose your reds by taking a quick peek at a bottle’s alcohol content. The lower the alcohol level, the sweeter your wine will be. 

This correlation is due to interventions made during the fermentation process: alcohol is created when yeast consumes the sugars in grape juice. Wines left to ferment for longer will have a higher alcohol content, but will be much dryer. When fermentation is stopped early, the yeast will cease converting sugars into alcohol, and more of the sugar will be left in the wine, resulting in a sweeter beverage. 

If you like sweet but don’t need sweet, you can also look at what flavors you should expect to taste in your wine. Dry or semi-sweet wines often have fruity palates that will trick an inexperienced tongue into thinking their bev is sweeter than it actually is.

Here are some of our favorite sweet red wines from the Argaux collection. 

8 Best Sweet Red Wines for Beginners

  • 2018 A Tribute to Grace Grenache – $30
    A smooth and graceful red — as the name implies. Technically a semi-sweet, this Grenache is gentle with notes of citrus, berry, rose and spice which beautifully balance its medium acidity and tannins. Grapes grown using biodynamic farming practices on the Central Coast of California.

  • NV Fattoria Moretto Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Secco – $22
    Beginner oenophiles are always surprised to learn about sparkling reds. And this Secco is a great introduction to the genre! Lambrusco is a semi-sweet and candy-forward grape that converts wonderfully into a bubbly beverage. This herbaceous and berryful wine leans a little on the dryer side, but serving it chilled helps to tame some of the tannins and bring out the subtler flavors.

  • 2019 Arnot Roberts North Coast Trousseau – $35
    Another chillable red that feels more like a summery spritzer than the bodacious California red that it is. Floral notes lifted by citrus and spice keeps things interesting but utterly accessible and delicious. If you’re getting to know reds for a dinner party you’re throwing, this is the wine to get — a Trousseau that truly pairs with everything!

  • 2018 Piro Presqu’ile Vineyard Pinot Noir – $88 (MAGNUM)
    Pinots are everyone’s first favorite red. Typically on the dryer side, you would never know it because of their light bodies and jammy flavors. This Pinot is earthy and rich but with delicious red fruits like strawberries and cherries in both the nose and on the tongue.

  • 2019 Breton Val de Loire Rouge Grolleau – $29
    Berries, berries and more berries! This old vine wine is sweet but spicy, earthy and herbaceous with fresh raspberries, cherries and other mystery fruits that burst on the palate. Bright and tangy but dipped in honey. Serve chilled with melty brie and Francoise Hardy.

  • 2020 Guido Porro Dolcetto d’Alba ‘Vigna Pari’ – $24
    A complex and utterly drinkable red from Northern Italia. Spices like cinnamon and clove, botanical notes like holly and pine, fruits like strawberry, cranberry, cherry and plum fill each glass to the brim with flavor. Gentle tannins, medium acidity and Dolcetto sweetness mean it’s also super accessible to beginners.

  • 2014 Churchill’s Late-Bottled Vintage Port – $33
    Port is one of the true sweet wines on our list today, often served alongside rich and sticky desserts (or often AS dessert.) Fortified after fermentation, Port has the added benefit of being strong as well as sweet.

  • 2019 Domaine de la Tour Vieille Banyuls “Rimage” – $35 (500ml)
    This wine has a storied history as rich and deep as the flavors it offers your palate. A second fortified wine, this technique was originally used to supply sailors with drink that wouldn’t spoil on a long sea voyage. Today, its delectable fruity-sweetness is best enjoyed alongside a tiramisu or chocolate mousse.

Choosing Sweet Red Wine with Argaux

Beginners just getting into wine should think about stretching their legs with Argaux’s Blind Tasting Kit. If you’ve tried enough wine to decide you don’t hate it, Argaux can help you quickly learn more about the viticultural delights with 2 – 4 hand-selected bottles from our collection, as well as a comprehensive tasting guide that will show you how to get the most out of your wine-drinking experience, and figure out what you like. Order today and enjoy!

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