Italian wine has long been a staple of the US wine market. Italy is one of the largest producers of wine in the world. With its large number of Italian immigrants, it is quite understandable that they brought their taste for Italian wine
As far back as the 1950's, many people grew up drinking Chianti from basket covered bottles. Today's Italian wine is a far cry from that Chianti. Today's Chianti is a full bodied, full throttle powerhouse of a wine. Wines from Barolo, Barbaresco and Brunello di Montalcino are among the most sought after (and expensive) in the world. SuperTuscans didn't exist in the '50s; now these "off the reservation" blends compete with the best wines anywhere.
On the value side, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo has made incredible improvements in quality and consistency. Wines from Southern Italy and Sicily are just now beginning to approach their potential. Soave, once a ridiculed, watery product, is now a healthy, solid white. Low priced blends from Tuscany now fill the value role once held by cheap Chianti, but at a much higher quality level.
Italy is a big country, with wines from every region. Explore! There's a lot to enjoy.