Wine is an acquired taste and if you are just a novice in the art of appreciating the sweet concoction (beer does not count) then maybe we can help you out.
Let us start off with red wine. The more advanced red wines is a mix of different fruit flavors so it is difficult for a beginner to make heads of what they are getting.
To make it easier, you start with the basics. Start off with the following:
This wine offers both flavors and aromas of blackberry and cherry, which what you should be looking for when you take your first sip. This wine also gives you a better understanding of acidity because Garnacha wines are usually laced with citrus flavors as well.
Zinfandel on the other hand gives you hints of spice and vanilla, mixed with the vibrant aromas and flavors of rich black fruit and mocha. This wine can also help you understand how alcohol affects flavor. High alcohol content usually add a spice element on the taste and in this case, the effects of alcohol hints at something like cinnamon or pepper. Look for that when you try this.
This will help you determine your preference in red wine. Syrah wines tend to have high amounts of tannin, which tends to have an effect of drying your mouth and sits on your tongue. Not all wine enthusiasts enjoy this experience so not everyone looks to get a Syrah. If you happen to like it or does not mind it, you may expand your taste to other high tannin wine variants like Nebbiolo or Tempranillo.
This one will help you identify the more herby flavors and aromas of a red wine. While Carménère have a rich cherry and plum flavor, you will still notice strong hints of bell pepper in there. This is caused by the compound Pyrazine that is found in many herby types of wines like Carménère, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc.
This is a good test of how well you can appreciate the different aspects of a red wine. The Big Bad Red Blend is a mix of different red varieties that include the Syrah, Zinfandel, Grenache, and others. Look for tannins, and spice effects on the flavors. Look for flavors of berries and plum as well.