If I Had To Choose…

My day job is not all that exciting, which is why I never really talk about it here. In fact, it is rather boring and it involves a lot of numbers so if you ever find yourself with a case of insomnia, give me a call and I could put you right to sleep by telling you what I do.

I use this quite a bit at work.

I use this quite a bit at work.

So why do I do it? Fair question. I do it for a number of reasons: I am pretty good at it, I now have a boss that is fantastic (that was not always the case), and I can come and go pretty much as I please as long as I am getting the work done. I never have to go in early, and rarely have to stay late. I never, ever bring work home with me, and the thought of going in on the weekend is laughable. I can choose to work at home, or go into my office (which I usually do by bike) and I might have a meeting every other week (and that is pushing it).

I never set up the phone in my office, so I rarely get calls from anyone other than my wife and it seems as though everyone thinks rather highly of my work.

On top of all that, I am paid rather well.

But it is rather boring.

I say all this not to boast or brag (and certainly not to have anyone feel sorry for me), but to emphasize that I work to live, not live to work. My job enables me to pay some bills, but it also allots me the free time to write, travel, and think what and where I want most of the time, which I consider a huge upside.

I think about a variety of subjects, but one that has dominated my thoughts recently was this:

If I had to choose to live in another country (for whatever reason–I will leave that up to your imagination), where would I go?

If you have read this blog even once before, you likely know the answer: somewhere in France. While that is right most of the time there are many reasons that I would not always choose France: it is fairly expensive, Paris is great but congested, and then there are the French. I love the French people, but they tend to have this self-righteous indignation that wears thin after about 37 hours.

So where else would I go? Well, it would have to be a place with some semblance of wine culture.

Italy? Far too image conscious for me.

Germany? Far too serious and regimented.

South Africa? Too far.

Australia? New Zealand? See South Africa.

No, if I had to choose where else to move, for me, right now it would have to be Spain. I have not spent a ton of time in Spain, and almost all in the Basque region in the northwest part of the country, but that would be my target. Sure there are problems there, but on this International Tempranillo Day (the red variety of much of Spain), I would vote for the Iberian Peninsula as my current “if I had to choose” destination.

What would be yours?

For your Tempranillo Day enjoyment, here is a solid, modern style (read more fruit and less stuffiness) interpretation of Rioja:

Zaco2014 Viña Zaco Rioja: Retail $15. 100% Tempranillo. Rioja is one of the main reasons that my next country might be Spain. It is close to the Basque region, which I love (even though the Basques on the Spanish side tend to be a little disgruntled), and France is but a hop skip and a jump away. Rioja as a wine region is one of the more versatile in Spain with racy whites (made from Viura) and reds (from Tempranillo) that range from brooding, austere, age-worthy tannic monsters to this wine: a fruity and approachable crowd pleaser that drinks well right out of the screw-top bottle. Black cherry and licorice with just the right amount of tannins to hold it all together. This would be a hit by itself or better yet, with a nice paella packing a bit of a spicy punch. Very Good. 88-90 Points.


About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Rioja, Tempranillo, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to If I Had To Choose…

  1. Fiona says:

    I would also choose Spain. Actually, I would choose Mallorca. I spent three weeks there, a long, long time (it seems) ago, but I’ve never forgotten the wine (I could actually drink copious quantities of the local red (not from the Rioja) with few ill effects), the varied landscape and the lifestyle. It really makes sense to have a siesta. I stayed in the Old City in Palma and loved the shops, the Mercat de l’Olivar and drinking cafe con leche in the Placa Major…. But hey, who am I to complain, I live in a gorgeous little village the heart of the Winelands in South Africa. Not too far for me 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. SAHMmelier says:

    One if few European countries I’ve yet to visit and I can’t wait! Although I would add that in every country, when you get away from the cities you find more similarities, less pretense, etc. don’t you think? Eveb here, north south east west etc., differences are less apparent.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Duff's Wines says:

    I have to agree, Jeff. I had put off visiting Spain until this past year – voting instead on the others you have mentioned. In Spain, there is a culture of civility, excitement, and tradition that underlies their food, wine, and respect for their spectacular environment. Plus, the wine. Did I mention the wine and food?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. wineismylife says:

    It would be Spain for me as well. Spanish and German are my best languages beyond my native English so immersion would be a reasonable transition.

    SQL Server? DBA? I use SQL daily myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I actually already have a spot picked out in Spain in a Mediterranean hill town called Mijas. It overlooks the sea, is quiet and quaint on the Costa Del Sol. It is a little slice of heaven. But I would easily chose Italy. Image conscious? Not sure where you have been in Italy. Perhaps in Milan they are image conscious but no where I have been. Italy shares the same level of hospitality as all Latin countries (including Spain), the people are simply fabulous. The Italians have certainly mastered the “art of living!” France would be great but less hospitable. Hard to go wrong with either of the three.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. jeffeckles says:

    Tough call, not really, you couldn’t go wrong with any of the countries you mentioned. Right now, I would choose Northern Italy. We’ll see if my thoughts change after my trip there shortly.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Piemonte for me. Please, someone choose me to pick up stakes and move! Alas, my lovely bride may not agree…


  8. talkavino says:

    A very interesting twist on the International Tempranillo Day post, I must say. I have no country choice in mind at the moment – I would be quite happy just to go home.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. lulu says:

    Spain….interesting. I’ve not spent enough time there to be intimately familiar with its allure. I’m afraid I’m still very drawn to Italy.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. dwdirwin says:

    Don’t think he’d want to live there, but Derek loves Spain, as you might have gathered…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Beth says:

    I would still move to France. Napa and France, maybe Provence, Burgundy, or Paris, were my bucket list places. One down, one to go. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Kristy says:

    Spain hands down. We spent time there a few years ago and all four of us are dying to go back. It got into our souls! Fortunately we’ll be there soon. This time southern Spain!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Spain would be wonderful! But in all honesty, I would probably choose Chile. I lived there during college for a little while, loved it, and have missed it ever since. And the wine is fantastic there too!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I am a bit behind on my readerboard. I did see your tribute to Paris, France earlier, but this is rather spooky. I kind of like living where I am now. I am not sure I’d do so well in another country, although I would move back to Austin if given a chance. Texas really is like another country if you think about it.

    Liked by 1 person

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