I just took a week-long trip to the east coast. Not a wine-focused trip. But, nonetheless, I did pick up a couple bottles to enjoy in the evenings. Being a Californian, it's really easy to immediately look on the shelves for a nice California wine. But, this time I decided to try a different wine for a change.
Being on the east coast, and a bit closer to Europe (well, nearly halfway there!), I decided to pick one bottle of wine from France and one from Italy. While it can seem really tough to pick out French and Italian wines, I came at it from a simple approach. I simply looked for wines any wines that were in my typical price range.
I started with the French wines. I spotted several upper-shelf wines that fit the price range. But, then I spotted a Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Knowing that great red blends come from this region, I picked up the bottle.
Then, I turned my attention to the Italian wines. Again, scanning the upper shelves, I spotted several bottles of Chianti. And, seeing a 2012 Chianti Classico Riserva (and spotting the Black Rooster), I picked it up. (And, yes, the 'Riserva' truly distinguishes it from the more common Chianti.)
In both cases, I was very pleased with each bottle of wine. The Châteauneuf-du-Pape (a blend of up to 13 varietals) was rich and flavorful while the Chianti had wonderful bright cherry flavor.
I could have gone with a couple of bottles of go-to wine from California, but I'm really glad I tried something a bit different. And, you should too. It's a fun way to get exposed to some different flavors. And, you'll probably be pleasantly surprised with your choices.