My preference is for whites over red. I never met a merlot I liked but that is simply personal preference. I used to like them as dry as I could get them but now I've turned more to mis range dry or semi-dry or semi-sweet. Also, try a god ice wine-expensive but really wonderful. For regular drinking try a Riesling or a Gewurtztraminer (If you're in the Midwest near the Oliver WInery in Indiana they have wonderful selections! Vignoles are nice also. Pinot Grigios are usually tasty. Oliver also makes a very nice Traminette. Local liquer stores also often have tastings.
I don't -- I tried a sample glass at Olive Garden one time, and didn't care for it at all. So I am no help to you... Good luck on your qine quest.
But, with that being said... I also don't drink alcohol in general... the only thing I can taste is the burning/bitter taste of the alcohol in it instead of all the other "flavors" that you are suppose to taste.
I love wine, but have not had any for awhile now. Maybe because my husband is not a drinker. For someone who has never had any wine, I would suggest a Zinfandel, because they are sweeter. Although it really depends on your taste. Other wine(s) to try would be Reislings (white wine). Red wine, is an aquired taste.