Chianti, step aside. Americans have moved beyond the usual suspects to embrace Italian wines from esoteric grapes and lesser-known regions. Wine shops in SF now carry an increasingly diverse selection, making it easier than ever to go deep with grapes like the Cesanese, and explore particular growing regions.
DavidT points out on Chowhound that K&L Wine Merchants carries hundreds of Italian wines. The online database makes it easy to search by variety, region, or appellation, narrowing in on mineral-heavy whites from Sardinia if that's your thing. Note that if you're after a specific wine in their warehouse, you can request K&L send it to either their San Francisco or Redwood City location.
Italian wine specialist Biondivino has arguably the Bay Area's largest selection of Northern Italian whites (The Librarian is a regular visitor). VinoRosso, a wine shop and café in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood, is also a good bet, BernalKC says. The short, careful list merits a look, and the website advertises an Italian wine tasting class. Best of all, you can grab a bite while sipping, say, an Abruzzo rosé.
K&L Wine Merchants [SOMA]
638 Fourth Street, San Francisco
K&L Wine Merchants [Peninsula]
3005 El Camino Real, Redwood City
Biondivino [Russian Hill]
1415 Green Street, San Francisco
VinoRosso [Bernal Heights]
629 Cortland Avenue, San Francisco