When I worked at a small, neighborhood wine shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, our most popular shelf by far was the $15-and-under rack. This was likely due to the combined factors of (a) the rack being smack dab in the center of the store, (b) the words “$15 AND UNDER” emblazoned across the top, and (c) the added convenience that we were the only wine shop between the subway and the park, which would become quickly packed on warm days. Many of our customers wanted a quick and dirty recommendation for a chilled white that they could grab, take with them outside, and use to fill partially concealed solo cups in two minutes or less. I pointed to the same wine every time, which remains my own summer staple: the uber-refreshing, slightly effervescent Blanc Pescador.
From the Spanish town of Girona, located about an hour east of Barcelona near the coast, the Blanc Pescador is essentially baby Cava. It’s from Catalunya and is made with the key three Cava grapes of Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel-lo. But rather than being made as a fully spumante wine, it remains only lightly sparkling. Still, I would categorize this as a white wine, not bubbly; the fizz just adds a little boost of freshness to make it truly crave-worthy.
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This wine isn’t about complexity; it’s about chuggability. Both the nose and palate are dominated by bright, zippy lemon citrus and rocky minerality, like lemon water filtered through a rock garden and spritzed by salty sea breezes. The Blanc Pescador tastes like summer, but that might be because it’s so thirst quenching that it’s tempting to slug it back like that first gulp of icy cold water on a sweltering beach day. It’s locals-approved, too, and since it’s a staple at many coastal Spanish bistros, you can close your eyes and pretend that you’re relaxing along Mediterranean shores – even if you’re actually just kicking back at the pool or park. Bonus: It’s low in alcohol, so you can pack an extra bottle for the group guilt-free.