I'm going to say it - Italy knows what wine is all about. Italy is purely about matching wine with food and regardless of where you are in the country, the winemakers totally get that. Sure, if you go to France they understand that relationship too, particularly in places like Burgundy and the Jura, but there are parts of France where wine and the local food have gone their separate paths. In Italy, even the most prestigious wines, still have that symbiotic relationship with the cuisine of the area.
From the north east regions of Friuli and the Alto Adige, where they make exquisite white wines, down to Sicily where the indigenous Nero d'Avola makes lovely darker reds, the diversity of this nation is outstanding. At all points in between, you'll find unknown local varieties, more widely planted 'Italian' grapes and, of course, the more recently planted French vines - there is so much to try you could spend your life exploring Italian wine and still not learn everything!
My favourite producers
Di Ciacca | Marco e Vittorio Adriano | Agostino Pavia & Figli | Argiano | Tenuta Bichi Borghesi | Blason Wines | Brigaldara | Canneto | Masseria Cuturi | Cupano | Cascina Morassino | Castello della Paneretta | Cortonesi | Cossetti | Eugenio Bocchino | Forteto della Luja | Frassinelli | Cantine Paolini | Medici Ermete | Monte Santoccio | Noelia Ricci | Paolo Conterno | Giuseppe Quintarelli | Renato Corino | Reverdito | Vite Colte | Talamonti | Tenuta Sette Cieli | Pio Cesare