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Traveling to Europe for a summer vacation? If you cannot afford to go abroad, try some of these European wines for a staycation on your back patio instead. I love European vacations, and for this staycation of wine, I have chosen three of my favorite wine countries: Italy, France and Spain. I've traveled to each of these countries' wine regions numerous times and cannot wait to return — there is always something new to learn with wine.

The wines below are all available locally at your larger premium Fine Wine and Good Spirits stores in York County.

Italy

The first wine I chose is a Chianti. Every restaurant in Italy has one, and many use this wine as a house wine. Often times, the more commercial varieties imported here can be weak in flavor, but here are a few that truly deliver.

The La Spinetta Casanova Della Chianti 2010 from Tuscany is a Sangiovese grape varietal that is dry with dark, ruby red color. I smelled raspberry and plum. The wine boasts a lot of flavor and has a great finish with a hint of tobacco.

Collevite Falerio Pecorino 2014 is available for a great price of $8.99. This is a lighter white wine that uses the Pecorino grape, giving it a golden color. The nose smells of flowers with a hint of lemon and almonds. Try this grape if you haven’t tasted it before, and if you thought Pecorino was a cheese you are right. It comes from cheese, and as the story goes, this is a grape that sheep really enjoy eating.

France

The French have a soft spot in my heart — and taste buds — for their wine. The French are some of the most intense winemakers I have ever met. C’Est La Vie 2014 is a 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Syrah blend available for $12.99, and hails from the Languedoc Roussillon region of France. The wine has a bright red color with a bit of purple, and smells of cherries and raspberries. When I tasted it I noticed berries with a bit of spice. This wine is not very heavy, but has a bit more weight than your typical Pinot Noir due of the addition of Syrah.

Rosé is one of my favorite summertime wines, and the French make many. These are not the sweet pink wines invented for American; these wines have more floral and fruit flavors, but are considered dry wines. Chateau La Variere Cabernet d’Anjou Rosé 2015 from the Loire Valley is only $11.99. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc were used to make this wine. This is an elegant soft wine with notes of strawberry, and makes for a great wine to drink on a hot day because of its fresh, crisp flavor.

Spain

Compare this Vivanco Rioja Rosé 2015, also for $11.99, to the French one above. This Rosé is made with 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha grapes. The color is an intense pink with aromas of red licorice, berries and flowers. The wine is balanced well with a fruity finish.

Martin Codaz 2014 is made with the Albarino grape, and is available for $15.99. If you haven’t yet tried this grape, this is a great selection. Wine Spectator gave this white wine 89 points. The vines thrive in a drizzly corner of northwestern Spain. The wine is crisp with notes of pear and apple, making it refreshing and food friendly.

Marques de Murrieta Rioja Reserva 2008 is another great wine that Wine Spectator gave 90 points for $24.99. A lovely example of a Rioja with 86% Tempranillo, 8% Garnacha, 4% Mazuelo and 2% Graciano. The color is a deep bright cherry with spice on the nose, along with smoke and some red fruit. After the first sip, you will notice fresh fruit and silky tannins with a touch of spice. Enjoy this one in air conditioning with a nice view of the outdoors and a plate of something off the barbecue.

Safe travels if you are going to Europe this summer! If not, enjoy that staycation right here at home with some excellent wine choices — close your eyes and visualize sitting in a bistro along the Champs Elysees. Relax, enjoy and let wine be your passport to Europe this summer.

Try some of these wines

What: Taste samples of La Spinetta Casanova Della Chianti 2010, Collevite Falerio Pecorino 2014, Chateau La Variere Cabernet d’Anjou Rosé 2015 and Vivanco Rioja Rosé 2015 

When: 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, June 23 and 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, June 24

Where: Fine Wine & Good Spirits, 2547 E. Market St., Springettsbury Township

Details: Free to attend, must be 21 and older. Call 717-751-6884 for details. 

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