09/03/2014 10:06 am ET Updated Nov 03, 2014

Three Categories Of Italian Wine You Need to Know About (And Which Bottles to Buy)


by Matt Duckor

The world of wine is large, confusing, and filled with unpronounceable words. It's difficult to know where to start when setting out to learn more.

It's tough to argue with honing in on Italy, one of the world's preeminent wine producing countries. With such a wide variety of climates, production styles, and grape varieties in play, there's a lot to learn. Sure, maybe you've heard of the country's most famous wine varietals Barolo and Barbaresco, but the so-called King & Queen of Italian wine are just the tip of the boot-shaped iceberg.

Whether you're looking at the beverage lists of some of the country's best restaurants or at your local well-stocked wine shop, there's a whole other, lesser-known side to Italian wine that's become increasingly popular in the past few years.

SEE MORE: A Guide to Italian Eats

To walk us through it all, we recruited Steve Wildy, Italian wine expert and beverage director for the estimable Vertri Family, chef Marc Vetri's group of Philadelphia-based restaurants that includes Italian fine dining flagship Vetri and more casual spots like Osteria and Vetri Pizza.

We asked Wildey to take a deep dive into the recent redemption of Lambrusco, the Piedmontese wines that aren't Barolo and Barbaresco that you should be buying (and can actually afford), and the volcanic soil-grown wines of Sicily's Mt. Etna.

More from Epicurious:
Wines to Drink With Cheesy Dishes
Elevate Your Pasta Game