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wine 101: crash Course for 
wine novice  
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Serving tips
Fill each wine glass about 1/3 of the way, to allow enough room for the imbiber to swirl the liquid around in the bowl, releasing the aroma and letting the wine breathe. Temperature is important. Whites should be served at around 50F; reds slightly warmer at around 60-65F. Note that a white that has just come straight out of the fridge will probably be too cold; likewise a red thatís been sitting around in an un-air-conditioned room in the middle of summer will almost certainly be too warm.

Safe bets for the beginner
Let me make this perfectly clear: you do NOT have to spend a lot of money to get a good-tasting wine. Certainly, youíd be smart to stay clear of anything thatís cheaper per ounce than juice, but there are some mighty yummy wines out there in the $7 to $10 range. You may want to start with the Californian and Australian wines: both regions have a reputation for producing delicious, affordable wines and moreover, youíll actually be able to read the labels.

Good reds to try: Iím currently completely enamored with Australian reds, particularly Shiraz. Theyíre very cheap, and very tasty. Try the Rosemount Estate Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz/Grenache blends, each of which generally costs a not-so-whopping $7 or so. The Beaujolais Nouveau (France) wines -- slightly sweet, light- bodied reds -- are also easy to like, and you can get a good bottle for less than $15. Chile and Argentina both produce some fine reds in the $10 or so price range.

Good whites to try: You really canít go wrong with a California Chardonnay in the $10 range. For something a little less pedestrian, however, try a Pinot Grigio (Italy).

When in doubt, ask your friendly winemonger for a recommendation. Provided you arenít doing your wine-shopping at Safeway, he/she is almost sure to be extremely knowledgeable, and more than happy to point you towards a lovely wine at a price you can afford.


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