1. Medici Ermete "Solo" 2005, $15
An ideal way to awaken taste buds, this sparkling wine is dry and slightly smoky (not frothy and sweet, like a typical Lambrusco).
2. Marramiero Trebbiano d'Abruzzo "Anima" 2004, $18
With what Mary Taylor calls "flinty wet-stone complexity," this is a good foil to cheeses and meats.
3. Fiegl Collio Tocai Friulano 2004, $18
This aromatic white has a rich, buttery lemon rind flavor with almond notes on the palate.
4. Chionetti Dulcets di Dogliani 2004, $19
Soft, round, and dense, with hints of nutmeg and licorice, this red wine is a fruity transition to deeper reds.
5. Santa Anastasia Nero d'Avola 2002, $12
Sicily's most prized local wine is also well priced, with "complex flavors of wet fall leaves and fresh strawberries," Mary says.
6. Castello di Meleto Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 2002, $34
Neither red nor white (it's amber), this sweet dessert wine will remind guests of apricots and almonds.