2005 Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Albariño, Spain
Rioja might not agree and Catalonia might object, but only the most parochial would challenge Albariño's claim to the Spanish white wine crown. Grown around Galicia's Rias Baixas region, it's made for seafood, and while it can be pricey, it's also possible to find fantastic value examples like this fresh and peachy drop with its zingy, elegant dry finish.
2004 Santorini, Haridimos Hatzidakis, Greece
A mouthful in every sense, this distinctive dry white is made far from the madding tourist crowd on Santorini by "Harry" Hatzidakis, one of Greece's most accomplished winemakers. Native assyrtiko vines are trained into round basket-weave shapes in the island's light volcanic soils for shelter from high winds, producing an assertive wine of immensely rich, apricoty fruitiness. Try it with red mullet or grilled sardines.
£8.99-£9.99, Tanners (01743 235500), Flying Corkscrew (01442 412311), Halifax Wine Co (01422 256333), S H Jones (01295 251179), Cooden Cellars (01424 221044), Theatre of Wine (020-8858 6363), Adnams (01502 727222), Wine Society, Fortnums
2004 Chapel Down Bacchus, England
Bacchus, the god of wine orgies, is, more prosaically, the name of the early-ripening crossing of riesling, sylvaner and müller-thurgau that's well-suited to the English climate. Resembling Loire sauvignon blanc, this example from one of England's leading wine producers is fragrant and refreshing with undertones of elderflower and nettley fruit. £6.99- £7.49, Booths, Selfridges, English Wines Group (01580 763033)
2005 Argento Bonarda, Argentina
Argentinians need no excuse for a barbecue, so it's not surprising that so many of their reds are made for the char-grilled flavour of a gaucho's asado. Just like this succulently ripe Argentinian red from Bodegas Esmeralda, made from the variety brought over by Italian immigrants. This tinto fino's gluggy plum and strawberry fruitiness, and soft, juicy tannins are gently rounded out with a subtle kiss of oak.
2004 Carmen Winemaker's Reserve Chardonnay, Casablanca Valley, Chile
Is there a better chardy at under a tenner than this brilliant Chilean from Maria Pilar Gonzales? From vineyards in the ocean-breeze-influenced Casablanca Valley, this dry white spends eight months in oak casks. Think of an opulent cross between meursault and oaked premier cru chablis and you're not far off, except of course in price.
2004 Bellingham The Maverick Chenin Blanc, South Africa
Bellingham has plundered South Africa's unique stock of old vine chenin blanc to obtain flavour, oak and power in abundance in this wine, half of which is fermented in new oak casks to add a smoky character to the wine's vanilla, honey and butterscotch richness. All of which adds up to a knee-weakening 15 per cent alcohol white that stands up well to spicy south-east Asian food and grilled white meats.
2005 Monteforte Rosato, Veneto, Italy
New Zealander Matt Thomson's experience with Italian wines has stood him in good stead in the making of this pale salmon pink rosato made from corvina, the mainstay of valpolicella. Displaying fresh cherry and redcurrant flavours, this bright rosato's zingy, fresh dry finish leaves the palate cleansed and satisfied. Chill down and serve as an apéritif on a summer's day or make it a lunchtime drink with salads.
2005 Cono Sur Single Vineyard El Marco Gewürztraminer, Casablanca Valley, Chile
With its floral fragrance and lychee-like fruit flavours, gewürztraminer is understandably the most popular grape variety of Alsace. So much so that Chile, among others, has now taken it to its heart, producing cover versions that compare favourably with the original. This is a classic example, a pot pourri-scented white that's delightfully fresh and crisp yet with the trademark Turkish Delight flavours.
£7.99, or buy 2 for £6.39 each, Majestic
2005 Mount Hurtle Grenache Rosé, Australia
Hitherto reluctant, for some reason, to go pink, Australia now seems to be embracing the style with pride. Watch out for more fruity rosés from Australia as their producers latch on to its growing popularity. This screwcapped, rose-tinted grenache is berry-scented and fresh with strawberry and raspberry flavours; almost like a mini-pinot noir with its fruity zip and zing, and made for salade niçoise and Caesar salad.
2005 Gobelsburger Grüner Veltliner Kamptal, Austria
This outstanding dry white shows why Austria's native and most widely planted grape variety, the grüner veltliner, deserves a wider audience. It's full of pineapple and mango fruitiness with just a touch of the white pepper character and minerality that distinguishes the grape variety. Catch this 2005 while its refreshing qualities are still so vibrantly alive and drink it with sushi or fish grilled on the barbie.
2005 Txomin Etxaniz, DO Getariako Txakolina, Spain
From Spain's Basque country, the hondarribi zuri grape's bracingly crisp, green apple bite and summery fruit flavours make it a great bone-dry white for grilled sardines, marinated tuna and poulet basquaise.
£9.99-£11.99, Martinez Fine Wines, Ilkley (01943 603241), Moreno Wines, London W9 (020-7286 0678), Thameside Wines, London SW15 (020-8788 4752)
2004 Albert Mann Muscat d'Alsace, France
With a demonstration of how the muscat grape reaches its zenith in the Vosges mountains of Alsace, the domaine's producers, Maurice and Jacky Barthelmé, have produced a stunning full-bodied, spicily aromatic dry white whose floral undertone of rose petal is complemented by a minerally dry element.
La Gitana Manzanilla, Jerez, Spain
Made entirely from palomino fino, the sherry grape, and relatively light for a fortified white at a minimum 15 per cent, this delightful summer sipping apéritif from Hidalgo La Gitana is sea-salt fresh with appetisingly savoury-yeasty f aromas and a mouthwateringly appley tang. The telltale yeastiness derives from the traditional "fractional blending" in American oak. Serve chilled with olives and almonds will never taste better.
Around £6.99, Majestic, Sainsbury's, Waitrose
2005 Sancerre Rosé, Les Ruettes, France
Made from the pinot noir grape of burgundy and mostly disappearing down the necks of thirsty Parisians, Sancerre rosé is not usually the affordable option. At least one good reason then to take advantage of Marks' current rosé wines promotion. Another is that this displays crunchy summer-berry fruit characters, offering the vinous qualities of a serious wine combined with the summery character of a pretty-in-pink picnic rosé.
£7.99, until 27 June, Marks & Spencer
2002 Wegeler Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland Riesling Spätlese, Germany
This delicate off-dry riesling from the Wegeler Estate comes from an assortment of vineyards in the Rheingau, so it's fuller and riper than Mosel riesling, with a seductive floral fragrance, and a juicy sweet and sour appley ripeness. What more could you ask for in a lazy, pre-Sunday lunch appetizer or drunk at the end of the meal with an apple or pear tart?
£9.95, Waitrose, 30 branches
2005 Springfield Sauvignon Blanc Special Cuvée, South Africa
It's a constant source of amazement how aviator, fisherman and winemaker extraordinaire Abrie Bruwer of Springfield Estate manages to extract quite so much flavour from his sauvignon blanc when it's grown inland from the ocean in the heat of Robertson. With its nettley aromas and grapefruit zesty freshness, it has to be one of the best sauvignons at under £10 from the Cape - or anywhere.
2004 Henschke Louis Eden Valley Semillon, Australia
Hunter Valley is best-known for semillon, but word is spreading that delicious food-friendly examples of a grape can be as expressive Down Under as in its native Bordeaux. In the hands of the Henschke family from the cool Eden Valley, this is a classy, fragrant number, full of gooseberryish fruitiness and subtly rounded out with a touch of oak, making for a restrained Graves-style whose citrus-zesty, bone dry liveliness cries out for grilled fish and white meats.
2005 Ermita Veracruz Verdejo, Rueda, Spain
Like a tropical sauvignon blanc with exotic passion fruit aromas, this is a juicy rich, passion fruit and fresh pear flavoured dry white from Rueda, northern Spain. When it's as well-made as this, the verdejo can't help but beguile, and prove that Galicia's albarinõ isn't Spain's only great white contender. Serve it chilled, on its own, or try it with warm goat's cheese and rocket drizzled with olive oil.
£7.99, buy 2 for £6.49 each, Majestic
Henriques & Henriques 15 Years Old Verdelho Madeira, Portugal
This grown-up, fortified wine made from the verdelho grape is nut brown in colour with sweet aromas of toffee apple, coffee and burnt caramel. Initial impressions of sweetness are quickly overtaken by the complex, drying effects of nutty rancio characters, tangy acidity and strong (20 per cent) alcohol. Chill down and sip as an oloroso sherry substitute.
50 cl, around £16.99, Waitrose, Lea & Sandeman (020-7244 0522)
2005 Casillero del Diablo Viognier, Chile
Once upon a time, viognier was the rare white grape of the northern Rhône whose wines were, and often still are, stratospherically priced. The New World has responded to the popular taste for this apricot-laden variety with good wines at affordable prices, such as this excellent value example from Concha y Toro, which displays the full-on, peachy fruitiness of the grape.
£5.99, MorrisonsReuse content