Friday, July 2, 2010


Brander Cuvée Natalie

Here's another in a semi-regular series of Friday Wine Treats.  In case you want to take a little extra time at lunch today and give your Los Angeles work week a great sendoff, I have a suggestion.  Akasha  in Culver City is a restaurant/bakery located where Culver Boulevard turns onto Washington Boulevard.  It has a heavy-duty, distressed rock bar that leads you into and around the dining area.  Take a seat at the bar and look up at the wine list.  It's on a chalkboard that looms over the bar area.
Akasha is a great spot for a week-ending glass of wine from anywhere, but Central Coast fans will be happy to note they have a number of good choices from Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley.  You can even get a summery glass of rosé from the region.  I was delighted to see Fiddlehead's "Pink Fiddle" and Fontes and Phillips' "Panky" - two of my favorite pinks - on the board.Akasha chalkboard
My choice, though, was a white wine from a Los Olivos winery, the Brander Cuvée Natalie, an Alsace-style white blend.  Named after owner and winemaker Fred Brander's daughter, Natalie, this blend includes Sauvignon Blanc from the Brander Vineyard with Riesling and Pinot Gris from Kick On Ranch.  It's made completely in stainless steel and has the crisp, fresh edge to prove it.
Cuvée Natalie pours into the glass as a pale yellow with a greenish hue.  The nose is floral with a peachy aspect and it's not a surprise to find a little fresh-mown grass in the aroma profile.  The taste is laden with minerality.  Crunchy pears and a hint of melon are joined by a slight petrol note.  Big acidity should help make this wine as food-friendly as you want.  The finish is long and bright, with a zesty sense of lemon lingering long afterward.

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