I'm heading to Europe this summer (viz. Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and 2 nights in France) and I'd like to get at least 1 case (most likely 2) of authentic, local wines that I won't find at home. I'm not looking to spend a fortune on the bottles (less than 10e each) - just something unique that I can hold on to, and maybe have for my own special occasion.
Can anybody recommend anything to look for?
in Italy in Rome area I like a lot this red full body wine " CESANESE DEL PIGLIO POGGIO LE VOLPI.
In your price range and a good everyday wine, seek out Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio. You'll find this wine on a lot of menus from Rome to the south. In the north of Italy, the right enoteca should have at least one representative.
Where is home? I ask because if it is some place in the US, I recommend you check the laws in the state where you live to find out how much wine you can bring home. The general laws about quantities of wine that US Customs allow can be superseded by the ABC laws of individual states. I think you're approaching the tipping point in the difference between one case and two.
Finally, have you checked shipping costs? The price of shipping may want to make you change your shopping goal to fewer-but-better bottles of wine to have for special occasions.
re: Indy 67
There are some wines that I want that are only available in Italy. Last year the shipping cost quoted at the wine shop was $18 per bottle or $12 per bottle in a full case. I have not been able to bring myself to pay that much and I know it is more now. On the other hand, it is incredible how many different Italian wines are available in the U.S. Evidently, shipping by full containers is almost free because the U.S. prices are competitive with prices in Italy
What you need are wines that not only are less than 10 EUR each, you also want wines which do not turn into vinegar shortly after you arrival. This is a slight problem: durability is closely related to alcohol content, and wines higher than 13 % AND with good quality usually are quite expensive.
I can easily recommend Austrian wines of good quality, but they usually will be much more expensive than 10 EUR. There is one exception: the Weinviertel DAC brand of wines, which is a common designation defined as standard of "Grüner Veltliner", is usually around 6 EUR, and will survive up to one year.
When in Austria, you could buy directly from a vineyard or at a store. We have a very good chain of wineries called Wein&Co. There you can also taste wine by the glass, or buy a bottle to taste first and get a case if you like it.
Buying wine in Italy nowadays is not as easy. The prices for good wines are extremely high, especially in Tuscany and Piemont. It is better to try more remote areas. We like the "Superwhites" from the Friuli Region, especially from the DOC "colli orientali di friuli". They have pinot grigio, ribolla giallo, sauvignon blanc, tocai friulano, riesling, pinot bianco etc. etc., and also great reds, though they are not as well known as the "Supertuscans".
I suggest you invest some money in a good wine tasting and then decide. We did exactly this when we were there in March. (Rome). We had this excellent wine tasting in the home (beautiful!) of a sommelier (she) and learned so much about italian wines, there are wines I hadn't even dreamt of! And they were very reasonably priced, too. Later, you can choose your wine accordingly, or, if you like something very much, she might sell you 1 or 2 cases as well (although that is not what she actually does). The place is called "vino roma", it is right in the center, close to the spanish steps but on the other side of the river.
I like wines from the Valtellina near the mountains in Northern Italy which tend to be a little harder to come by in the US. If you like amarone or other bold reds, I would recommend this as one option. You should look for the words riserva or sassella on them as these are signals of quality.
I'll second the rec. for wines from Valtellina. Nino Negri is good producer. Lombardia whites are also good and very rare in the US. One producer I remember is Ca' del Bosco.
If you don't already have it, you may want to get Vino Italiano's Buying Guide by Bastianich. It lists producers alphabetically and provides concise and reliable information.
Aglianico, Pierdirosso, Falanghina, Greco di Tufo, Fiano di Avellino, Primitivo, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Nero d'Avola...all from the south and found in most areas.