I have an elderly Italian friend who refuses to believe that you can make white wine. 'Wine is red,' he insists. 'Salut!' He has a point. Italy is famed mostly for its reds, and has been since the Caesars owned vineyards in Umbria. The country traditionally produced little white wine (with the exception of the northern alpine areas) largely because red grapes are more common and usually simpler to grow. That has changed, and now classical French grapes are grown throughout Italy and the country makes a lot of whites of distinction. The 1998 chardonnay from the San Felice firm in Tuscany is typical of the no-nonsense table wines being made by large establishments. The grapes grow on a seven-hectare plot within the huge 770-hectare San Felice estate, outside Sienna. They are crushed lightly and the free-run juice is fermented in stainless steel. There's no wood ageing so the wine is natural and fresh and has a strong grape aroma. This is not elegant, but a nice, easy-drinking wine. Serve it well-chilled. This goes well with grilled chicken and fish and it's a nice drink by itself. At $88 from the importers (Valdivia, fax: 2873 1246), it is a sensible buy. There is a nice crisp finish to the wine that makes it a joy to drink.