WITH the sun coming out and a staycation summer the best we can look forward to, it’s time to revisit Italian whites. Yes, the wines of our misspent youth and our early forays into dining out, when a soave was as exotic as it came.

Joking aside, Italy offers some of the best-value fruit driven wines on the market today, especially if you aim above the £7 or £8 mark but it can also take you to heights of flavour and complexity previously reserved for Burgundy and California. A lot of us probably cut our teeth on spumante, asti, soave and pinot grigio but have you ever tried a verdicchio or orvieto? The former tend to produce crisp, mineraly wines with refreshing acidity and apple dominated flavours while the latter is usually more medium bodied in style with hints of pears and a whisper of bitterness to the finish.

Then again, for those of you like myself who just can't drag ourselves away from chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that the Italians are quite exceptional with both grapes. Seriously, they are capable of producing chardonnays with enough lovely oak flavours to make a sailing ship, but it’s their native varieties we’re interested in when the sun comes out. While I often make jokes about the predictability of tourists ordering a spaghetti bolognese and a carafe of pinot grigio, the latter really is one of the worlds unsung heroes.

Pinot grigio or pinot gris as it tends to be known in Alsace, New Zealand and the US is a grape that excels when produced as a dry white rather than the medium styles of our courting days but the floral nose is unmistakable, however the winemaker presents it in the bottle. The overall style tends to be light in colour with gentle fruits, strong acidity and a touch of sweetness to the finish making them perfect when the mercury sours.

To be honest, you need to travel the country to really understand the sometimes subtle differences in Italian whites but as that's not an option right now. I'm happy to share one of my loves with you: it’s the wines of Pecorino down the east coast. These wines are absolutely fabulous with grilled fish or vegetables on a barbecue with their acacia flower nose and lemon and honey palates.

Portami Al Mare, Pecorino

This is absolutely delightful with its floral nose leading into a palate full of tangerines and fresh squeezed lemons and creamy finish. Superb with grilled vegetables, chicken or sushi.

Villeneuve Wines £15

La Marca di San Michele, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Capovolto

Believe it or not, that's the short version of the name but thankfully the wine inside the bottle is well worth the tongue twister experience. Fresh flowery aromas with hints of ripe peach on the palate and a crisp refreshing finish. Try this with grilled shellfish or a crab salad this summer

Roeder and Bell £12.99