Developing a palate for wine...
I grew up in a family where alcohol was never consumed (not for any religious reasons). Recently, I have found myself in company that drinks and enjoys wine, and I am completely ignorant about anything to do with wine! I don't particularly enjoy it, but I have been told it's for an acquired taste.
My question is, that if it is true that one would need to develop a palate for wine, what would be the best way to go about doing it? I mean, are there certain wines that one could start with...a "beginner's" wine, if you will? Heck, is this adage even true, or am I wasting my time trying to like something where my efforts will prove to be fruitless?
I think a great beginers wine would be a reisling. It's fruity and depending on who makes it the wine can be anywhere from dry to a bit sweet. Reisling generally has a very light taste so it won't overpower anything you are eating along with it, but what you are eating may tend to overpower the reisling. I find that it goes best with apples, pears, stone fruit, aged cheddar, gruyere...
First of all, you have to learn HOW to drink wine. It isn't popped like a shot, or glugged like Pepsi or beer. The whole mouth gets into the act.
I would enlist your friends who enjoy wine for a little Wine 101 evening. The other thing I suggest to wine newbies who want to begin learning about it, is to find an amiable wine merchant who regularly does tastings in the store (free). and go to them. Make friends with the merchant, and you will have a valuable ally who will help you develop your palate.
You are only wasting your time if YOU think you are. For me, wine is one of the most interesting of all subjects, that provides more than one lifetime of learning experiences.
I think this is the best suggestion. If you give a wine merchant feedback on how you like the bottles you get from him/her, he will help you branch out from the things you like. This way, you'll be able to develop a repertoire of things you like, things that you can order at restaurants, wine types you know you can enjoy with your friends.
I would suggest finding a merchant who has free tastings. This way, you can give immediate information about your preferences in a very concrete way. He can help you work from there.
In most areas there are wine tasting classes, some free, some for a fee. They're often hosted in wine or upscale food stores. Some universities, colleges, and community colleges offer classes. And if you're fortunate enough to live near vineyards, they are a magnificent resource. Check around. There is a lot to be learned about wine that ranges from how to use your eyes, olfactory receptors and taste buds for optimum tasting pleasure, as well as lots of information about the grapes, the wine making process and types of wine and pairings. You have a LOT of fun ahead of you. Happy taste buds!
You just have to drink, and accept that it's ok to not like wines that other people tell you they are supposed to be good.
There are no 'beginner's" wine (with some exceptions)
Go to a store, pick one in your price range, and go home, drink it, and next time go to the store and tell them that you bought X and you either liked it or not, then ask for recommendation that is similar or different, and continue your journey.
remember, there are no good or bad wines (except when technically bad), only wines you like or not.
And like everything in life there are exceptions to the rules.