HOME > Chowhound > Wine >


Suggestions for slightly sweet red wine?

I've recently become interested in wines, however at this point I don't know much about them. I'm interested in a slightly sweet red wine. I've heard Riesling is good . . . I like to nibble on cheese with my wine before dinner or just to sip in the late evening. I don't know the price ranges, but I'm looking for an inexpensive bottle, even thogh I know my selections won't be as good. Something around $20 or less would be fine. I'm really looking forward to the suggesions and leariing from it. Thanks in advvance!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. >>> I'm interested in a slightly sweet red wine. I've heard Riesling is good. <<<

    OK, I'm confused. Riesling is a WHITE wine. Many Rieslings are bone-dry; Rieslings can range from very dry to very sweet.

    "Slightly sweet reds," on the other hand, are few and far between. Do you mean "slightly sweet" as in actually containing residual sugar, or do you really mean "fruity" (as opposed to the very dry feeling in your mouth from youthful tannins, such as found in a Cabernet Sauvignon)?

    Lambrusco is a slightly sweet red. So, too, is Brachetto d'Aqui. Both are Italian. But these are the only examples of table wine I can think of off the top of my head.

    Sometimes -- though not often -- an Australian Sparkling Shiraz can contain some sweetness. And then there are wines like late-harvest Zinfandels and Ports -- but none of these are table wines.

    To sip late in the evening, you could try any number of true Ruby or Tawny Porto from producers like Graham's, Warre's, Fonseca, etc. Check with your local wine merchant to see what they have in stock. Also, Australian tawnies like Hardy's "Whiskers Blake" or Yalumba "Clocktower" might be to your taste.


    11 Replies
    1. re: zin1953

      Sorry about the confusion with the Riesling . . .as I said, I'm new to wines :-) I guess I'm looking for a "fruity" red wine. I don't care for a very dry wine. It seems that when I try reds I'm usually not happy with the taste/dryness. I've chosen to experirnce more reds for this reason. I like whites as well, but don't have the uncertainy with those as I do with the red variety. Your comments so far have been most helpful.

      1. re: lisamos

        Go with the fruit forward Shiraz from Australia and see how you like it. I think a previous post might have mentioned Yellow Tail Shiraz, try it and post back if you like it. It's found everywhere and very affordable.

        You might want to stay away from the big California reds or South American reds for awhile. I see you are in FL, check the ABC stores for Lakeridge Southern Red- it's a bit sweeter but not a "sweet wine". (Lakeridge is in Clermont, FL.) Publix and ABC both carry Yellow Tail, might also want to try their cab/merlot blend.

        1. re: winechic

          I just finished a bottle of the Lakeridge Southern Red. I do like it, but it is very sweet to me. Its made from the Muskadine (sp) grapes, correct? Yes, I'm in Ocala and have plans to go to the Lakeridge Winery soon. I'll try the Austrialian wines you mentioned and post back. Thanks so much!

          1. re: lisamos

            Ok, so you are looking for fruity, not sweet, red wines. This is a very good thing to know! :)

            ABC is having a sale on Aussie wines, but most are higher end. I checked the flyer online and Kim Crawford's Pinot Noir is on sale for 14.99. Try it out, its a nice one and a great price for a Pinot. I just happen to have the St. Hallet Shiraz/Grenache blend (also on sale) in a red flight at dinner and it's not as fruit forward as you might like, very peppery finish.

            Others on sale to try:
            Greg Norman Shiraz is on sale for 10.99
            Grant Burge Miamba Shiraz is on sale for 12.99

            Looks like there was just a tasting tonight at the ABC Ocala store, bummer. Check www.abcfws.com for tastings, they don't have their Sept calendar online.

            Happy tasting!

      2. re: zin1953

        Hmmm, I could have sworn I bought a red Riesling at the KaDeWe department store in Berlin. Could I have been mistaken? It certainly tasted like what I'd imagine a red Riesling would taste like.

        1. re: akowit

          Unless they had added food colouring, it's impossible to have a red riesling. The berries are a sort of greenish yellow to golden colour, though as they mature and develop 'noble rot', they do get darker, but not in a way that would produce a red wine. The colour of the wine is from the pigment of the grape, so while it's possible to produce a white wine from a dark skinned grape by minimising skin contact with the juice after pressing, it's impossible to produce a dark wine from a lighter coloured grape because the pigment is absent.

          1. re: akowit

            Yeah, no such thing as red Riesling. If it was good it was likely a Pinot Noir (Blauburgunder) or Lemberger (Blaufrankisch).

            1. re: akowit

              Sunrise Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains made a "Red Riesling" sometime back in the very late 1970s/very early 1980s. We had some White Riesling left over in one bucket -- not really enough to run through the hand-filler to bottle, and some Cabernet Sauvignon left over in another bucket. We put the two buckets and had about five bottles of "Red Riesling."

              Strangely enough, it was actually pretty tasty . . . .

            2. re: zin1953

              I am new to drinking wine also. All the sweet whites wines I have tried I haven't liked. I found out that I do like sweet red wines. I love Lambrusco. Is the Brachetto d Aqui any good?

              1. re: boobie4gs

                If you like Lambrusco my guess is you will enjoy Brachetto.

                1. re: boobie4gs

                  If you have not yet try Chateau ste Michelle harvest select riesling, every bottle has always been a sweet and delicious riesling for me

              2. While it is true that many Rieslings are vinified dry, the vast majority available in the US are off-dry or sweeter.

                What you want to buy depends on how "slightly" sweet you want your wine. Such wines as Gallo's 'Burgundy" wines, Yellow Dog Shiraz and other popular mass-market wines have residual sugar that makes them sweeter than most table wines. Georgian wines are often sweet. Mogen David kosher Concord wines, if still made, are often sweet .

                Certainly most dessert wines are sweet; I don't think you should limit yourself to "true" portos - or include only those from Oz as substitutes. Use caution tho - some ruby port wines are very sweet, some tawnies only negligibly so. Don't forget about sherries or that Greek favorite Mavrodaphne. The Austrians make sweet red dessert wines, often designated Ausbruck.

                Depending on where you live, mostly off the west coast, local wineries may produce sweet fashioned wines. It is generally not wine connoisseurs who are seeking out nirvana at an Ohio winery; often, their (midwest, east coast wineries) custom consists of non-wine drinkers who prefer sweeter wines.

                One last word, your cheese snack probably goes as well with white wines as it will with red.

                1. I'm with zin guy (above post) on some of his observations.

                  Riesling = white wine and not always sweet. Rieslings can be sweet, but you MUST specify you are looking for sweet, as there are some lovely dry Rieslings out there. Truth be told, I find more dry Rieslings than sweet Rieslings these days.

                  Brachetto d'Aqui is a favorite of my sweet wine-drinking friends; it's a sparkling red. Banfi produces Rosa Regale, which you can find nationwide, just about everywhere.

                  Muscadine is a sweet grape that is red and white; if you are in the south you should be able to find several examples of wines produced locally.

                  If you are looking for "lighter" style wines to sip and enjoy with cheese...that are also slightly sweeter....then reds may not be your best bet. There are some great fruity white wines from New Zealand and Australia out there. It seems that my friends and cohorts beginning to enjoy wine find most of these wines very approachable. Trevor Jones White Boots is a white, light, slightly sweet blend of Riesling and Muscat. You can find it at a local wine shop. Alice White Lexia is made from Muscat and is a bargain at under $10 a bottle. (You can find it in grocery stores and liquor stores)

                  Since you are just starting out in your journey of wine, check out www.localwineevents.com for some wine events and tastings in your area. The best way to find out what you really enjoy, is to start tasting. Local wine shops often do free tastings and some offer classes. I would strongly recommend heading to a few shops in your area to feel out which shop "fits" you. Meaning- you feel comfortable enough to ask questions, accept recommendations and the people are approachable. People who enjoy wine and sell it also want you to enjoy wine.

                  May I suggest starting by asking for a bottle in the $15 range, white, lighter styled and slightly sweeter and fruity. Easy on the oak. If they have something open to try, taste it and see if it agrees with you. After trying some wines, you will find your niche- which could be on the opposite end of sweet and fruity. Good luck!

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: winechic

                    There is a wine tasting coming soon to a wine shop in my area and I'm hoping to go. I agree that is one of the best ways for me to familiarize myself. I only wish I had more friends that enjoyed wine to go with me. (Small town Small Minds, if you know what I mean) Don't get me wrong, I love my small town, but a little culture goes along way!!! Anyway, I've already learned so much in just one afternoon of sharing thoughts and researching on the internet and I'm looking forward to experimenting!

                    1. re: lisamos

                      That is the way to do it - taste many different wines and see what you like - also stay away form the mogen david - it will turn you off from wines!

                    2. re: winechic

                      Thank you for that info, winechic. I am a wine "weenie" and just started to drink it. I normally did enjoy the very sweet wines- Muscadines, Mogen David, etc. After all, I was raised on grandpa's home-made burgundy wine and 7-Up spritzers from childhood. After a recent trip to San Francisco and a wonderful trip to V. Sattui Winery, I was able to move up to sweet Rieslings. They have a Gamay Rouge that was to die for, but you can only get it through them. I was so disappointed. It costs so much to order a case and then shipping.

                      I am trying to finesse out of the sweet whites. I know I don't like the bitterness of tannins (at least I think it's the tannins that taste bitter) and the reds have more of that bitter taste to me. Also, the dryer they are, the more bitterness I taste. At least that's what I think I am tasting that I don't like.

                      I have to admit that the less alcohol content the wine has, the better I like it and the less bitter it tastes. In fact, the expert at Sattui was playing with me when he was trying to find a sweet and bitter less wine I enjoyed. When he finally brought one I enjoyed the best and became very excited about it, it turned out to be straight fruit juice! So, that's the type of drinker I am coming from, and I am 55 years old.

                      So, my question is after I disclosed all this embarrassing information about being a wine weenie, can you suggest wines more leaning toward the reds that I can finesse to? I did see the Zinfandel suggestions above and I will try those. Any other suggestions, based on what I said about the bitterness taste?

                      1. re: vgenna

                        I, too, am a complete wine novice (having been an abstainer from all alcohol for the past 33 years). Having tried dry wines (both red and white) I've come to the conclusion that I definitely prefer sweet wines. A friend had suggested Red Cat produced & bottled by Hazlitt Vineyards located in the beautiful Fingerlakes region of New York (Seneca Lake to be precise - I live about an hour away in Central New York - a tasting tour to their vineyards is in my future). All I can say is, "WOW!" A fruity, sweet, red wine which is light and pleasant - delicious! Goes with anything - steaks, burgers, pizza . . . anything! I'm drinking a glass right now while I'm roasting a turkey breast in the oven for dinner . . . it's going to be a good night! (Extremely affordable too - in my area each bottle costs around $10!) Wine snobs be darned!

                        1. re: trishw

                          How long did you try dry wines regularly (say twice a week)?

                          1. re: Chinon00

                            Very infrequently - more like three times in the past year at family get togethers (wines provided by family members who know what they're doing). As I was previously a teetotaler for over three decades, it would probably shock everyone if I started drinking twice a week! I've tried mid-priced merlot and pinot noir, but disliked both. The Red Cat, which I researched and purchased myself, was definitely a keeper. Thanks for asking.

                            1. re: trishw

                              Yeah that's not nearly enough time. But we all value different things.;]

                              1. re: trishw

                                "Learning" to like something like wine might seem counter-intuitive I know.

                                1. re: trishw

                                  Trish, keep in mind ABOVE ALL ELSE, that taste is an individual thing -- and *no one* can tell you what your taste buds *should* like or dislike.

                                  Personally, I am quite happy you have found Red Cat and enjoy it. If I recall correctly, it is one of Hazlitt's most popular wines. On the other hand, just for the sake of offering a different perspective, I thought it was one of the worst wines I've ever had from New York State.

                                  Don't misunderstand: I sincerely am happy you found a wine that you like. Having spent a lifetime in the wine business, *whenever* anyone finds a wine that they enjoy, it makes me happy and helps my beloved wine trade overall. But when I sought to represent a number of New York State wineries in the State of California, I brought in half a dozen wineries. Hazlitt was one of the few I contacted and rejected, in large part because they were so excited about their Red Cat and upon tasting it, I -- well, let's just say I wasn't fond of it . . .

                                  Different wines for different tastes . . . that's what it's all about!


                                  1. re: zin1953

                                    Ha! Hazlitt's definitely seems to promote its Red Cat, almost to the exclusion of its other wines (just check out their website). As a nondrinker (and who am I kidding, I still am and probably always will be essentially a nondrinker), an opinion from a pro is always welcome! I'll never become a connoisseur, but since there is no shortage of them within my own family and my coworkers, the wine business has no need to worry!
                                    Thanks for the info & kindness, Jason!

                        2. Ca Berti Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro "Classico" semi-dry, $9.


                          I'd say Brachetto is more than slightly sweet.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            <I'd say Brachetto is more than slightly sweet.>

                            I'll say! I love to serve it with my Chocolate Terrine for dessert, but cannot imagine it in other than a dessert setting.

                          2. Anything red from Chile or Australia in the $7-$12 price point will have thick wood and noticeable residual sugar. My hope is that your wine journey won't terminate there though.

                            1. I don't get the suggestions of zinfandel, shiraz, pinot noir, etc as "slightly sweet". While these wines may be "fruity" I wouldn't rank sweet as an important flavor note in any of them.

                              I'll assume that by sweet you're literally looking for a sugar-like dimension. If so consider an Amarone or a Late Harvest Zinfandel... while they may be more than slightly sweet they'll be less sweet than a sauternes, an icewine, a rich port, PX Sherry, etc. etc.....

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: Chicago Mike

                                You all have been very helpful and I'm looking forward to trying your suggestions! You've given me alot to think about. Thanks again to everyone!


                                  1. re: TonyO

                                    Dolcettos aren't sweet; it's just a misleading name. It translates more into "little sweet one", because the grapes are easy ("sweet") to grow. They're almost exclusively dry.

                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                      I have had a few that were made in a style that I would consider to be sweet based on residual sugar. One in particular that comes to mind would be Athena from Viansa. I also recall a couple that were slightly effervescent and sweiit in a way similar to a Branchetto. It may be coincidence because I typically buy this type of wine for my wife as she prefers a light/sweet/fruit forward wine.

                                      1. re: TonyO

                                        I'd say it's coincidence.

                                        Not that there can't be residual sugar in a dolcetto; simply they're few and far between. Without knowing EXACTLY which ones to look for, a wine novice (the OP) most likely will end up with something completely opposite of what she's looking for.

                                1. re: Chicago Mike

                                  I don't know -- it took me a long time to realize how to taste sweet vs dry in wines -- unless it's a dessert wine, fruit vs tannin was what I thought was sweet vs dry. (I grew up in a house where only sweet white Zin and fairly sweet, light whites were around, so all of them were in a very similar style.) The first glimmer I got that I had the tastes wrong was someone commenting on a wine and saying it was bone-dry and I just blinked, because I'd thought it was very sweet. Turned out to be dry and fruity. When I finally had the money to do so, I started tasting around and figured out what I'd misinterpreted.

                                  If the "fruity" axis is what the OP likes, I'd also recommend Valpolicella -- they're light, fruity, easy-sipping reds.

                                  Oops, just realized how old this is. I expect the OP already has found their wine...

                                  1. re: antimony

                                    I've always liked the sweet wines myself, but dry is ok too. I usually go with dry champagnes as an example, but for me - sherries and ports sweet- are the way to go. Tokaji is a great wine from Hungary for any sweet drinkers looking to try something different...and obviously heiswine from germany too. If I am not mistaken, Tokaji ranks up there with one of the "older" wines out there with an extensive history such as Chianti from Italy.

                                2. Depending on the availability... some Georgian reds are a little on the sweet side. Mukuzani is quite a good bargain, and would be suitable for main courses. You will find Saperavi too astringent. Alazani is a semi-sweet red which is better with fruit desserts.

                                  I think that you'll find dolcetto too dry for your tastes. When you're ready to splurge, Amarone will be something that you'll want to try.

                                  And, welcome to the world of wine. A friend of mine works with an importer, and says that it's the best job possible. Amongst the many things she loves is that you can never know it all... always something new to learn or taste.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                    Thanks for the suggestions. What kind of price range is the Amarone? I'm keeping a little notebook with notes about certain wines. I've discovered that the world of wine is a fun place! So much to try, so little time!! Sounds like your friend has a great job!! Thank you again for your input!

                                  2. It all depends what kind of "sweetness" you are looking for. If you want a full table wine (not a desert 'late harvest') that is a bit on a sweet side I would try a deep full bodied Zinfandel with chocolate overtones. Unfortunately such wines do not come cheap. I could suggest either Todd Brothers Zin from Dashe Cellars or the Big River Ranch from the same winery. $28 per bottle. Outstanding wines and they indeed taste "sweet" if you try before a more conventional inexpensive wine.

                                    Anyway, some general observations. You may be looking for a sweeter wine because you are tired of 'acidic' wines. I had the same problem when I was a novice wine drinker. I quickly realized I was drinking wines that were too acidic because they were simply 'cheap' wines. Price is not everything but when I moved to wines above the $20 range (up to $40) a completely different world of wines opened up to me, wines that were properely barrell aged. Buy fewer wines but instead better wines! Good luck.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: olasek

                                      That's very good advice and you're right about the acidity in the wines I've been drinking. I won't mind spending a few more dollars for a wine that I know I will enjoy. Thanks for your suggestions on the Zin. I'll put those names in my little book of notes I'm keeping as ones I certainly want to try. Thank you!

                                    2. Try red zinfandel. Not to be confused with white zinfandel or blush wines. A good start would be Rosenblum or Ravenswood.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: chrisinroch

                                        I absolutely agree. Zinfandel is type of wine that is more likely to taste 'sweet'. Those two brand names are quite good- they should be available in some well stocked liquor store in Florida. It is also important to know what to look for if a description of the wine is available - to get a 'sweeter' wine one should be looking for words like "chocolate, vanilla, clove, cassis, mint, blackberry" rather than say "raspberry" or "strawberry" which would indicate more acidic wine.

                                        1. re: olasek

                                          Yes, I've already decided to try a Red Zin next. I tried the [Yellow Tail] Shiraz and I enjoyed it. I liked all of the flavors that when off in my mouth! I'm anxious to try the Red Zin and see which I like better. I saw the Ravenswood in my local wine shop while browsing for the Shiraz, so I will probably try it. You all have been so helpful and I've learned so much! I'm actually keeping notes. There's so much to learn. And so much wine to taste! Am I turning into a wino?? lol

                                          1. re: lisamos

                                            Yellow Tail's so successful that many other wine factories are making knockoffs with similar style and labeling--so if you like that, it would not be a bad bet to try any bottle with a similar-looking label.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              I never found Yellow Tail to be sweet enough to my taste compared to a few other Aussie wines.


                                        1. how about Maury Domaine Mas Amiel Vintage Reserve, 2003 afforadbale. Ther are more expensive vintages of course. Beautiful slightly sweet red French wine.. excellent with any cheese esp Blue.

                                          1. I made a huge list online from articles on sweet reds, here are a few sites that will help you out:.

                                            I suggest
                                            Dolce Rosso Marzemino
                                            Marika Balatoni Merlot


                                            1. I'll recommend the fruit frward, new world pinot noir from Santa Barbara County, and specifically the Santa Rita Hills area. They may not be sweet, but they are indeed very fruit forward. Check out Alma Rosa, Fiddlehead, Sanford, Melville, Fess Parker, etc. Way too many to list. Check out my reviews on our blog at: http://jerseyfoodies.blogspot.com/ Many listed there with reviews, and it is a good listing of the fruit forward pinot that we enjoy! -mJ

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. See if you can find J Lohr's "Wildflower". It's what I would call a picnic wine, a blend made primarily of Valdiguie'. Very fruity in kind of a lambrusco way. I ordered some through an ABC store in Tallahassee, so it's available in the system.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: dd992emo

                                                  I've been out of touch for awhile, but came back here and saw your post. Thanks for the recommendation. I'll give it a try!

                                                2. Today in the San Francisco Chronicle:
                                                  "Beginner drinkers get a crush on sweet red wines"


                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                                    Took a date to dinner once. She said to me:
                                                    "I really wish I liked wine. I'd like to sip it, swirl it and look cool. Why can't it just taste like punch?"

                                                    Now it does!

                                                  2. How about Dornfelders from Germany! I am surprised that no one listed any of those here!
                                                    Carl Sittmann Sweet Red is a German sweet red made from the Dornfelder grape. It comes from the Reinhessen region of Germany. Schlink Haus Sweet Red is another German sweet made from the Dornfelder grape. Bauer Haus Dornfelder is from Germany and is known for its sweet and semi-sweet white Riesling varietals. However, Bauer Hous makes their Dornfelder wine from the grape of the same name. The Dornfelder grape is the second most grown grape in Germany.

                                                    A number of winemakers are responding to the desire for more sweetness in red wine and have begun specially bottling sweet wines. Like the SFgate article that someone posted.

                                                    Also they are getting a lot more press!

                                                    I follow this writer in Miami, he often writes about sweet red wines

                                                    I also follow this blog dedicated strictly to sweet red wines, there used to be a lot more reviews there, but they seem to be getting reposted:

                                                    And another article about the increase in popularity of them.

                                                    1. Well, about 4.5 years later, I would recommend that one try an Amarone. They are not cheap, and are not everywhere, but are perceived to be somewhat "sweet" by many, due to the processes with the grapes. Some will find them 100% dry, but others will detect a level of "sweetness" to many.


                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                        Amarone is dry. Recioto di Amarone is not.

                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                          Thank you for that clarification. I had omitted Recioto. Should have typed Recioto della Valpolicella Amarone. Good catch, and greatly appreciated.


                                                      2. Like others have suggested, if you're looking for a "sweeter" red wine, I would suggest a Lambrusco or Zinfandel.

                                                        If you can find this wine, I think you may enjoy it. I found it as Safeway and Albertson's in Oregon. It's a red blend, on the sweet side (so much that you hardly notice the alcohol).
                                                        2010 Apothic Winemaker's Blend

                                                        16 Replies
                                                        1. re: ORtastytravels

                                                          Most Zinfandels are dry.

                                                          Lambruscos can be dry ("secco"), off-dry ("amabile"), or sweet ("dolce"). Dolce is usually indicated on the label, secco or amabile may or may not be.

                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                            For a Zin, that is not vinified to 100% dry, one might try the Edmeades Alden Ranch Zin.

                                                            Might be too big/too heavy for many.


                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                              Edmeades is making their late harvest.Zinfandel from another vineyard.

                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                Actually, the Alden Ranch is not a LH Zin, but the fruit (historically), has been so ripe, that the sweetness has actually overshadowed the LH offerings.


                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                  Kendall-Jackson / Edmeades used to make their LH Zinfandel from Alden grapes, recent vintages used Perli grapes. If the non-LH Alden tasted sweet as well, that could have been from bludgeoning it with 55% new oak.

                                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston


                                                                    I will see if I can reach a bottle, to get the full specs. of that Alden Ranch (non-LH) Zin. The one thing that I do recall was the "liner notes," designating that as "the mother of all Zinfandels." The few remaining bottles are in the back of the cellar, so many cases need to be moved. If I can dig that deeply, I'll give the details.


                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                      Now I am totally confused. I am new to wines as well, and have only recently started to experience them as the doctor says a good red wine can help lower cholestrol. I have tried Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir, and they are so dry, so sour, I cannot possibly tolerate them. Then I saw your post on Zinfandels. I absolutely LOVE the taste of white Zinfandel, it is not dry, it is not sour, but just right. So my question is, "Is a red Zinfandel similar to a white? Does it have just enough sweetness to make it taste good, or is it bitter like the Pinot Noir I purchased last week? I am not interested in a "table wine", but just a nice sipping wine right before bedtime. Anyone? Instead of using the word "dry", I will use the word "bitter" on the Cabernets and the Pinot Noir's." Remember I am only a beginner, so go easy on me. TY, gayle

                                                                      1. re: darlinggayle


                                                                        The vast majority of wines made in the US are made from grapes from the genus and species, Vitis vinifera, and the vast majority of vinifera grapes have clear juice, regardless of the color of the grape skin -- that is, all the pigment is found in the skins; the juice is colorless.

                                                                        To make a WHITE wine, you crush the grapes, then ferment ONLY the juice.

                                                                        To make a red wine, you crush the grapes, but ferment the must (juice, pulp, skin, and seeds). During the fermentation, the pigment will leech from the skins into the juice, and thus, coloring it red.

                                                                        Because the juice is clear, you can make a WHITE wine from red grapes -- like a White Zinfandel, for example. The only pigment that colors a true White Zinfandel comes from those cels which are ruptured when the grapes are crushed/pressed. Since the juice does not ferment with the skins, it *is* a white wine.

                                                                        1. re: zin1953

                                                                          Wow, new to the site, It took me through a lot of pages to reply, LOL, I will get the hang of it, just wanted to say TY for the info. A lot to process when you are a beginner, but very helpful. So TY again. gayle

                                                                        2. re: darlinggayle

                                                                          Depending on where you are in the country (and have a good wine store), you can ease yourself into red wine with a sparkling red wine say like Lambrusco. Also, the bitterness you is from the tannins. Tannins are in the skins of the grape (white zinfandel is the zinfandel grape with the skins removed).

                                                                          Well made red wines won't have that bitter sensation - also the tannins go away with time so old red wines will also be soft without the bitterness.

                                                                          A suggestion:
                                                                          Try merlot or a red zinfandel that's from 2006 or later. Or a Beaujolais from 2009 if you can find it. Pour half a glass out and take a sip. If you find it bitter, put the cork back in and vigorously shake it. The air helps soften the tannins.

                                                                          1. re: goldangl95

                                                                            Goldand195, guess you can see my reply to zin above, so please be patient. I recieved a lot of information that in time I will come to understand, but my main question was, "is a red zinfandel bitter like cabernet or Pinot Noir, or is a little sweet like white Zinfandel? If I missed your answer, I apologize. I just want to know about taste at the moment. But TY as well. Gayle

                                                                            1. re: darlinggayle

                                                                              Gayle, stepping in here for a moment...

                                                                              No, red Zinfandel is not sweet like White Zinfandel so you may not like it. You may experience it as bitter, or bitter in comparison to White Zinfandel.

                                                                              If that's what you like, then please drink it. There are other sweet wines that you may like, like a Riesling Spatlese or another wine with residual sugar (this is what you ask for at the store). You may love dessert wines, or late-harvest wines. I'm a big fan of those too.

                                                                              In regards to wine and cholesterol, the ethyl alcohol is the main component that flushes cholesterol out of the body. It's important that you consume the wine at the same meal that has the cholesterol. The tannins and pigment (called procyanidins in the medical community; polyphenols in the wine community) in the wine help confer a health benefit also, but only to a minor degree compared to the ethyl alcohol.

                                                                              We're talking 1 to 2 glasses per day for women, 2 glasses per day for men, to achieve the cardiovascular benefit from drinking wine. (You can't "stack them up" and drink 4 glasses each on Saturday and Sunday to get the benefit.) The benefit is especially profound for women -- a reduction of cardiovascular disease by 40 to 50% for women, about 35 to 40% for men.

                                                                              I'd like to recommend that you keep tasting and trying wines. You might like some Roses, some Champagnes, and if you want to try a non-sweet red wine, then Beaujolais would be a good one to try. Keep tasting and taking sips of things even if you think you won't like something. Sometimes it takes two or three tries of things to "take."

                                                                              Good luck to you. Enjoy your summer.

                                                                            2. re: goldangl95

                                                                              Oh and goldang195, I think it is the Tannins that you mention that help lower cholesterol? Therefore I can assume that a white zinfandel is not going to serve my purpose. But again, TY so much. Gayle

                                                                              1. re: darlinggayle

                                                                                Yes, the red wine benefits (such as they are) would not be in white wine. But as Maria Lorraine stated there may be benefits in white whine as well (it may be worth asking your doctor).

                                                                                For red wines: I would try merlot or a red zin as they can have a lot of fruit flavors. Merlot also can be softer.

                                                                                I would try pouring out some wine after you open the bottle, sticking the cork back in and shaking the bottle. This will make the tannins less bitter. They will not go away completely but it's worth a try. Otherwise *shrug* red wine just may not be for your tastes.

                                                                                1. re: goldangl95

                                                                                  Just adding to what I wrote above, goldangI95...

                                                                                  White wine has almost as much cardiovascular benefit as red wine. Again, the benefit comes from the ethyl alcohol, not from the components that make the wine red (procyanidins).

                                                                                  The exceptions are the red (and rough) wines of the Midi-Pyrennes (Madiran, tannat) or the wines of Sardinia (e.g., Cannonau). They're rough because the wines are made with a lot of seed, skin and stem contact. That means the wine gets loaded with more polyphenols and procyanidins, and because of that, confers a slightly greater cardiovascular benefit than white wine.

                                                                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                    The current scientific understanding re alcohol lowering cholesterol is as maria lorraine says: it doesn't matter much what kind of alcohol you drink.


                                                                                    The chemicals in red wine that seem promising as cholesterol-lowering drugs are not present in sufficient amounts to matter much. Resveratol, for example, was found to lower cholesterol signficantly in mice at a dose of 24 mg per kilo of body weight, the equivalent of a 150-pound human drinking 750 to 1,500 bottles a day.

                                                            2. Bet my bottom dollar you'll like this one, it's yummy: