I am well versed in French wine and tend to drink it almost exclusively (also love German whites) however when it comes to Italian wines I am hopeless. I'd like to start experimenting with Italian wines (I have had some wonderful bottles at restaurants) and was curious if anyone here could help me with a cheat sheet for the major grapes / growing regions. I tend to prefer drier, earthier wines.
If I were to say that this time of year I love Cotes-du-Rhones in general which Italian red would be comparable? What if I got more specific and said I love Chataneuf-du-Papes, which Italian red should I look for for something with some spice and power?
How about a comparison to a Cru Beajolais? What wine should I try for a lighter experience? A St. Emillion from Bordeaux? Something from Burgundy?
The basic Italian grapes that I see a lot are: Barbera, Primitivo (like Zinfindel?), Barolo, Chianti, Nero D'Avola (I had a wonderful bottle of this recently on the waiter's suggestion), Aglianico, Nebiolo.
What am I missing from this list? Thank you wine experts for all your advice!