Wanted to see if we can get a discussion about some wines that you buy to calibrate your palette that show classic qualities and are good for tasting.
I definitely would start with producers known as pillars in their regions. The GuildSomm producer profiles would be a good place to start: http://www.guildsomm.com/TC/research/wiki/ This list has producers that make $800 bottles, sure, but many of these producers make affordable wines as well as icons, so start there. You can buy Moreau-Naudet Chablis 1er Crus for around $20-40 retail, for example, or start with AC Chablis for even less. Alain Voge, Chapoutier, Delas, Guigal make affordable St Josephs or Crozes-Hermitages that are excellent for blinding. Stick with the classic producers from classic regions, and then find their values. For south america and australia, find the producers that are mentioned in the study guides (like Jim Barry, Pewsey Vale, Penfolds, Clarendon Hills in Australia, or Susana Balbo, Errazurriz, Concha y Toro, Catena, etc in South America) and taste their wines. They are the OG producers who helped pioneer styles that we try to blind now. For Italy, get really intimate with the difference between Sangiovese and Nebbiolo. This doesn't mean you have to shell out $$$$ for Brunello and Barolo each time. You can really learn the inherent differences of the grapes while tasting Chianti vs Langhe Nebbiolo from great producers.
What you're trying to do with calibrating is understand the structure, the terroir, the tell tale signs of wine making or climate. Stick with the top guys from relevant appellations, and you'll have a lot of success.
This is really one of the best resources out there: http://www.guildsomm.com/TC/research/wiki/