If you're in the market for a crisp, refreshing white wine to sip on the patio in spring or summer, this one is hard to beat: Pares Balta Blanc de Pacs, 2011 ($10.99).
This wine comes from the Penedes region of Spain, in Catalonia, an area that borders France and is primarily known for its sparkling cava wines. The grape blend is 45% Parellada, 34% Macabeu, and 21% Xarel-lo. The family-owned Pares Balta vineyards are organically farmed, and this wine is especially bright and clean tasting, without any oak or other extraneous manipulation to clutter up the natural flavors of ripe pears and apples, along with hints of pineapple and some nice floral aromas.
Pares Balta Blanc de Pacs 2011 is a great aperitif wine, but also excellent with a wide range of seafood and shellfish. I especially like it with chicken and seafood paella. I plan to return to this one frequently over the warm months to come.
Paella party, anyone?