California Wine: Brander Vineyard

Photos courtesy Brander Vineyard

It's the end of a hot day in the Southland. Maybe you've been lucky enough to be on the beach or by the pool; more than likely you've been chained to your desk all day, catching up on work, thinking about the weekend. Traffic on the freeway is murderous as usual, and all you want as you stumble into the front door and set down your bag (after a hug and kiss from the family) is a nice cold drink in your favorite chill spot.

With the mercury still hitting the low nineties and even into the hundreds in the valleys, dry, crisp Sauvignon Blanc is guaranteed to satisfy even the most acute thirst. Sancerre? Love the laser-like minerality, but impossible to find a bottle under $22. Napa? Too much tropical fruit, not enough acidity. So where does one find an inexpensive bottle of SB with a good combination of appealingly zingy minerality and ripe juicy fruit?

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Look no further than the opening acts at the Brander Vineyard in Santa Ynez Valley. Patriarch Fred Brander, who was born in Buenos Aires, moved to Santa Barbara with his family as a kid and caught the wine bug soon thereafter. After completing degrees in
chemistry and enology, and a stint with wholesale and retail wine sales, Brander established his eponymous winery in 1975, long before the wine movement had gained momentum in the Central Coast. His love of Bordeaux varietals lead him to Sauvignon Blanc, the grape that ads the zingy acidity and floral character to everything from simple, dry $10 Entre-deux-Mers, to the luscious and elite Chateau d'Yquem, crown jewel of white Bordeaux. As he began cultivating Sauvignon Blanc, his passion for the grape grew, and he is now among the premier SB producers in California.

His entry-level bottling is ideal for relaxing with guests or on your own. And at 13% alcohol, you can have more than one glass.

2010 Brander Sauvignon Blanc Santa Ynez Valley, average retail $13.95
Aromas of Granny Smith Apple, white flowers, and pineapple lead to supple Meyer Lemon cream and mineral on the palate. Crisp with juicy sucrosity, good acidity and a satisfying finish.

Lily Davis is the Marketing Manager and Staff Writer at Woodland Hills Wine Company in Los Angeles.

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