Italian white wines may not always use the same grapes as California and French white wines do, but that doesn’t mean that you should be intimidated by them.

“Italian whites are food friendly, and you’re going to find them at just about every price range,” says Peter Forbes, the wine director for Centennial Liquor Stores. “There are a lot of high end wines, but there are still a lot of values at the lower end.”

Italian whites are fine summer sipping, usually lighter and less overwhelming than their California and French counterparts. Serve them well chilled.

Consider, for example:

Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio 1997 ($18). Pinot grigio is a very popular Italian grape, and makes a crisp and citrusy wine similar to a California sauvignon blanc. Goes with light pasta and chicken.

Luna de Luna 1997 ($10). This is pinot grigio-chardonnay blend is ideal  with salads and grilled seafood.

Fazi Battaglia Verdicchio 1997 ($7). A fruity wine that goes well with pork, pasta and light seafood.

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