A Christmas buyer's guide, pt 2: great whites

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Indy Lifestyle Online

This week we bring you a dozen dry whites, from refreshing and fruity to festive and food-friendly. At affordable prices, they'll turn any gathering into an occasion.

This week we bring you a dozen dry whites, from refreshing and fruity to festive and food-friendly. At affordable prices, they'll turn any gathering into an occasion.

Party white ... 2004 Co-op Argentine Torrontes-Chardonnay, £3.79, Co-op. This scented blend of chardonnay and Argentina's torrontes grape displays bright and juicy flavours and a unique muscat-like grapeyness.

Everyday white ... 2004 Montes Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca Valley, £5.85 (or buy 2 = £4.87 a bottle), Majestic. Montes offer some of the best-value sauvignon blanc in Chile; this pungently refreshing wine has a gooseberryish fruitiness with new-vintage snap.

Payday white ... 2003 Asda Extra Special Ile de Conas Viognier, £5.44, Asda. From the tuned-in southern French vintner Paul Mas, this is a smart, dry white with a light, smoky character and opulent peachy notes.

Club-class white ... 2002 L'Écluse Chardonnay, Vin de Pays de la Cité de Carcassonne, Domaine Lalande, £6.65, Laithwaites (0870 444 8383). A refreshingly pineappley chardonnay whose citrusy, tropical fruit is rounded out by a deft touch of oak.

Superior white burgundy ... 2002 Pouilly Fuissé Vieilles Vignes, Pierre Vessigaud, £14.99, Oddbins. A classic southern white burgundy, whose old vines instil richness and styishly honeyed, nutty flavours.

Luxury chablis ... 2002 Chablis René et Vincent Dauvissat, £17, Berry Bros & Rudd, London SW1 (0870 900 4300). From a great vintage for Chablis, this is a seamless example of subtle, mineral-rich chardonnay, whose flavour, texture and finesse derive as much from the mineral-laden soil as the grape itself.

New World chardonnay ... 2003 d'Arenberg The Lucky Lizard Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, £9.99, Oddbins. Toasty aromas mingle with the oatmealy character of the crafting of the wine in oak barrels to add burgundian-style complexity to this Aussie dry white.

New World sauvignon ... 2003 Stella Bella Sauvignon Blanc, £7.99, Waitrose. A breathtaking sauvignon blanc from this up-and-coming Western Australian producer whose made-to-make-your- mouth-water tropical fruit is tinged with nettley zip and zing.

Aromatic dry white ... 2004 Tim Adams Clare Valley Riesling, buy 6 = £6.83 a bottle, Tesco. This ample, floral and tropically fruity dry riesling hails from one of Australia's top exponents of the style; seductively refreshing, with lime-zesty notes.

Aromatic off-dry white ... 2002 Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese. Weller-Lehnert, £5.99, Majestic. At a delicate 9 per cent alcohol, this is an aromatic German riesling offering delightfully juicy, pineappley fruit, with balancing sweet and sour acidity.

Organic white ... 2004 Mareante Hill Chardonnay, £6.99, Marks & Spencer. This appealing Chilean chardonnay, made from organic grapes, displays the crisp, dry, flinty chablis-style of cool-climate Casablanca Valley fruit, tinged with delicate oak spice and tropical-fruit undertones.

Off-the-wall white ... Forrester Meinert Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, £14.99, Waitrose. From Cape chenin blanc champions, Martin Meinert and Ken Forrester, this intense, rich and honeyed, super-ripe dry white is made in the vouvray style, with a touch of late-harvest apricot and marzipan-like richness.