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Don't underestimate these wines.
Sometimes the most well-known regions are also the most exciting, as new generations push for change.
A surge in small, ambitious producers has made this wild, mountainous province one of the most compelling wine regions in Italy right now.
Go-To Bottles: 2013 Marina Cvetic Trebbiano d’Abruzzo ($50), 2015 La Valentina Pecorino ($20), 2010 Illuminati Zanna Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($40).
In Chianti’s top subzone, the best local producers are leaning less on international grapes like Cabernet; instead, they’re exploring earthy, vibrant Sangiovese in its purest form.
Go-To Bottles: 2013 Monteraponi ($30), 2012 Monte Bernardi Riserva ($30), 2013 Fontodi ($38).
If you don’t feel like blowing big bucks on Barolo, look farther north. The new-on-the-radar Alto Piemonte region, which includes Gattinara, Ghemme and Bramaterra, makes great Nebbiolo for a fraction of the price.
Go-To Bottles: 2012 Vignaioli Boniperti Barton Fara ($32), 2010 La Prevostura Lessona ($48), 2012 Colombera & Garella Bramaterra ($36).