red and white wine tasting

Red or White Wine? A Beginner’s Guide to Wine Tasting

It’s understandable to feel a bit daunted by the prospect of trying out a new bottle of wine. With a wide variety of choices available, how are you supposed to come up with a decision? If you want to start simple and go with a red or white for wine tasting, here’s a guide to help you decide.


Red or White Wine?

Wine is made from grapes, but the particular kind used is responsible for its red or white color. Red wine is made with black grapes and it can come in a range of colors and flavors, from light to dark and from dry to sweet.


White wine, on the other hand, can also be made from black grapes but it’s the green variety that is commonly used. This type of wine also spans a variety of flavor ranges: it can be rich and creamy or light and zesty.


White Wine

This can be light- or full-bodied. You choose the former for easy drinking and the latter when you want something creamier. What separates the two is the process used to make the wine. A full-bodied white wine goes through special winemaking techniques like oak aging to get that smooth taste.


Here are some wines that belong to this category:

  • Falanghina* – is a refreshing and balanced white wine. Our Falanghina 2017 is a Double Gold Winner. This vintage has bright acidity with notes of tropical fruit. It comes from an ancient grape, which provides its old-world style. Best served chilled.


  • Sauvignon Blanc* – typically has a stronger and distinctive aroma and taste. Originating in the Bordeaux and Loire Valley regions of France, Sauvignon Blanc is now produced worldwide. Our Sauvignon Blanc 2017 has fruity notes and pairs well with white meats and seafood.


  • Chardonnay – a dry full-bodied white wine that has either fruity or spicy tones. The former’s light taste is due to not being soaked. On the other hand, Chardonnay that has been oak-aged will have a heavier taste. The best kind of Chardonnay is made with grapes grown in warm climates.


  • Pinot Grigio – This is a go-to wine for easy drinking. It is a light-bodied white wine that can have a hint of bitterness.


Red Wine


Reds can be light-bodied, which means they only have light tannin (the one that causes a drying sensation in your mouth). It can also be medium-bodied, which can be flavorful but also balanced with acidity. Lastly, red wine can be full-bodied which you can tell by its very dark shade (it also has the most tannins).


If you want to serve red wine during a wine tasting session, here are some good choices:

  • Tempranillo* – is often quite dark in color, and has aromas and taste that match that boldness. Notes of berry, vanilla, and herb are common. What’s more common are Tempranillo blends which often tend to be more fruity. Our Tempranillo 2016 is aged in American oak barrels for 15 months!


  • Red Blend 2016* – is a medium-bodied wine with notes of blackberries and hints of black pepper and tobacco. It consists of Petite Sirah, Grenache, Tempranillo and Merlot, and pairs really with meats, cheeses, and desserts.


  • Pinot Noir – a light-bodied red wine that has a high amount of acidity and low tannin finish. The grape is closely related to Chardonnay so if you’ve already tried that, this won’t seem like such a leap taste-wise. Pinot Noir grapes are one of the oldest in the world so bear that in mind when you’re taking a sip of this wine.


  • Cabernet Sauvignon – this is a full-bodied wine that has bold tannins and a high level of alcohol. This serves as your reminder to go slow. The high level of tannins in this wine can act as a palate cleanser. As such, this wine pairs well when feasting on fatty steaks.



With this information in mind, you can confidently decide if you’re going to have the red or white variety for a wine tasting session. However, no one is stopping you from offering both. After all, the key to a better appreciation of wine is to try different varieties until you find the one (or ones!) you like best.


*Available in the Shop


Speckle Rock Vineyards is located in beautiful Escondido, California and we’re happy to serve the following cities and counties and their surrounding areas in Southern California: Vista, Valley Center, San Marcos, Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe, Ramona, Mesa Grande, Poway, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Carlsbad, and Temecula

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