You might think, wine? I’m a college student! That’s way too expensive for me! Well, let me tell you something, not all good wines have to be hundred of dollars – you can find good wines at your nearby grocery store. I’m not going to lie, whenever I walk into an aisle of wine either at Trader Joe’s or at Ralph’s, I get a little intimidated. All the different labels, from Cabernet Sauvignon to Chardonnay to Merlot, what does that all mean?! Luckily for you and I, we can explore the world of wine together!
You might think, how did I even come up with this idea of exploring wine. Let me tell you, it all started in the Fall of 2010. I studied abroad in Siena, which is a very small city
located in the Tuscan region of beautiful Italy. Here’s a picture of the Piazza Del Campo, which is like the Times Square of New York – always bustling and a place where everyone goes to meet up with friends.
Anyways, I was part of the Fall Semester Study Abroad Program through EAP at UCSD and throughout the semester, the school would take us on several field trips to familiarize ourselves with the Italian culture, one of which included a tour to a winery.
We went to a nearby winery named Dievole and guess what? Our very own UC Center Italy program director, Antonio Artese, had a Masters in wine! He was very
knowledgeable about all kinds of wine, and probably as you can guess, specifically in Italian wines. I started to grow fond of how the wines were made, what grapes were needed, what kind of soil was best in order to grow the grapes, but more so, what was considered as ‘good’ wine and ‘bad’ wine. Italy was the start-off adventure for my love in wine, and maybe a bit more interest than usual since my father loves wine and collects bottles from around the world. With the influence from my father and my amazing studying abroad experience in Italy, I hope that you can join me in exploring the different areas of wine.
In the next 8 weeks, I’m going to be exploring wines from different countries, in particular France, Italy, and California. France, as you should know (and I’m telling you now if you didn’t know beforehand) is known as one of the largest producers of wine and rated top in the whole world. I want to explore Italy and California because though they are not considered as top, they are definitely the most talked about during the dinner tables (plus, I have a personal affinity to both since I studied in Italy and am currently living in California). We’ll explore why each region produces wines with different and distinct aromas and will later delve into the question of why California wines, even though it is rated as ‘sophisticated’, does not hold the same prestige as other regions such as France. Here and there, I’ll also explore hole in the wall places in San Diego where you can buy good wine for a reasonable price, as well as wines that are affordable in grocery stores and how to pick them.
Hope you’re excited as I am to explore the world of wine and the art behind drinking it too!
I’m going to do this at the end of every post, which is a recommendation from me to you on a wine that’s good and affordable from a grocery store.
Trader Joe’s: Charles Shaw (2008 Merlot)