To most Italians, wine is red. Until comparatively recent times, little white wine had been made in the country - apart from tart whites from the Teutonic, alpine regions. Not until the 1960s did winemakers in other areas begin seriously to produce whites. Now, white wine flows like the Tiber. The wonderful Abruzzo region, with its sharp mountains falling into the Adriatic, is renowned for its burly, purplish reds. These are huge wines, powerful and strong. Of the 430 million litres of wine bottled every year in Abruzzo, less than 10 per cent is white, and traditionally it has come from such grapes as bombino bianco, coccocciola, malvasia, pinot bianco, riesling Italico, and trebbiano. But, like wine-makers worldwide, Giorgio Dalla Cia and Gerd Stepp know there is an insatiable world thirst for chardonnay. So here we have a golden, buttery, barrel-fermented white wine that could have sprung from California. Now on sale at most Park'N Shops for $59, it is good value. I snapped up a few bottles recently when it was the $55 weekly special. This has a hint of grapefruit along with the toasty flavour of the oak. It needs to be well-chilled to go nicely with grilled fish or a salad. Look past the label, which has a rather bizarre portrait of a stern winged lion. For reasons known only to the makers the vintage is given as MCMXCVI which, from the distant schoolboy past, I translate as 1996.