There ARE memorable Italian whites. Artisanal Soaves and the mountain lake white called Lugana can be terrific. But my favorite is Vermentino.
Well known in Italy, especially the version grown on the island of Sardinia, this grape creates the same kind of excitement that wine drinkers have discovered with Spain's Albariño (Alvarinho in Portugal) and Austria's Grüner Veltliner. Antinori grows Vermentino at its seaside estate in Bolgheri. I first tasted it in 2000, when I visited the family there. This white, that combines vibrancy with rich texture could easily become a new favorite for you as well. Unlike any other white you've tasted.
2011 Vermentino, Tenuta Guado Al Tasso, Bolgheri $27.50 srp
Lemon-creamy bouquet; almost buttery but backed by fresh quince, pear and tropical impressions. Never overt or seemingly artificial or pumped up--it's a spirited, subtle nose that reels you in. Flavors are fresh but richly textured. Banana notes and pear persist on the palate with a long, sensual finish. Lobster, salmon or a simple pork roast would be grand accompaniment. Drink now.