The King of Santa Barbara Sauvignon Blanc

After the film “Sideways,” it’s easy to associate Santa Barbara with Pinot Noir. And early-ripening Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are suited to this area because of the odd way that the valleys run from west to east, wafting the fog many miles from the coast toward inland vineyards. But the Brander Winery never hitched its wagon to Pinot Noir. Rather, Fred Brander has become the undisputed king of Santa Barbara Sauvignon Blanc. Born in Argentina but raised in Santa Barbara, Fred Brander began in the mid-70s by planting some red Bordeaux varieties as well as Sauvignon Blanc. But when his first vintage of Sauvignon Blanc won the gold medal at the Los Angeles County Fair, the first wine from Santa Barbara ever to win that honor, he realized his property in Los Olivos in the Santa Ynez Valley had great potential for the great white grape of Bordeaux and the Loire. Not only was the Eastern side of the valley significantly warmer than other areas, the soil in many spots was distinctively gravelly, in the manner of Graves, the famous white wine district of Bordeaux. Hence, Brander has focused squarely on cultivating Sauvignon Blanc grapes and making wines that accentuate the minerals and are as crisp, clean and balanced as the best French Sav. Blancs.  Today Brander makes six separate bottlings each year, which range from his best-value Santa Ynez (a perennial restaurant by-the-glass favorite) all the way up to his tete de cuvee "au Naturel," a wine inspired by his close working relationship with Loire master Didier Dagueneau. Of his recent efforts, Fred has said, "We are looking for more refined wines, and we are doing much less oak than in the past." Low-yielding vines, minimal handling, low or no oak, and a focus on the purity of the fruit is what Brander is now all about. 

Wine Maker

Fred Brander





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Wines from this Winery

2018 Brander Los Olivos District Sauvignon Blanc (375ml)

Clean and crisp, Branders’ Sauvignon Blanc is a classic of the variety and a perennial summertime favorite! But it's not quite 100% as Fred adds a smattering of Pinot Grigio, Semillon, and Riesling to spice up the aromatics or add body to the blend. Crack open the top and relish the zesty citrus mingling with herbal, floral and mineral notes. The 375 ml bottle is a great size for weeknights, picnics, or trips out of town. 

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¥1,760 (incl. tax)
2019 Brander Los Olivos District Sauvignon Blanc

The Los Olivos District AVA became an official American Viticultural Area in 2016, thanks to Fred Brander, who spearheaded the effort. Perfectly positioned in a not-too-warm and not-too-cool part of the Santa Ynez Valley, Los Olivos District is finding real success with Bordeaux varieties - especially Sauvignon Blanc. Clean and crisp, Branders’ Sauvignon Blanc is a classic of the variety and a perennial Hotei favorite! Crack open the top and relish the zesty citrus mingling with herbal, floral and mineral notes. The wine is sourced from the estate as well as other vineyards in the district. For additional spice and depth, small amounts of Pinot Grigio, Semillon, and Riesling were added to the blend. The wine is refreshing and exuberantly fruity but bone dry and ready to pair with salads, goat cheeses, and delicate fish.

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¥3,190 (incl. tax)
2018 Brander

Inspired by the crisp, gunflinty wines of Sancerre, Brander’s au Naturel is an awesome Sauvignon Blanc, offering gorgeous mouthfeel, compelling minerality, and rich and balanced flavors that will grow more complex over time. Hand-harvested grapes from the estate’s Los Olivos Vineyard are treated minimally to accentuate the purity and complexity of the fruit. A brief amount of skin contact before pressing gives the wine structure and depth, while fermentation and aging in stainless steel accentuates crisp and refreshing qualities. Au Naturel is a great match for sashimi, shellfish, fresh tomatoes (or light tomato sauces), and goat cheeses.  

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¥5,720 (incl. tax)