Best Natural Wine List - 2012
There's a heady note of philosophy served in the wineglass at Salt's Cure. Along with the restaurant's organically farmed ingredients and nose-to-tail menu is a wine list that reflects the chefs' commitment to organic and local: a wine list composed of almost entirely California-made, natural wine. Except for one French Champagne, the wines are made from grapes grown without pesticides, often biodynamically, and without a whole lot of manipulation by the winemaker. This back-to-basics winemaking begins with native yeast rather than inoculated, lab-grown yeast for fermentation (the process that converts the grapes' sugars to alcohol). Typically low in alcohol (hovering around 12 percent), the small-batch wines are served at cellar temperature so imbibers "get a chance to taste the wine's body as it is," says Salt's Cure co-owner and chef, Zak Walters. He and chef-partner Chris Phelps curate the wine list, choosing exactly what pairs best with their food. Walters loves "the haziness" of La Clarine Farm's unfiltered, field-blended white; he recommends Folk Machine's sherry-nosed orange wine, pressed from chenin blanc grapes, with Salt's Cure's house-made charcuterie. 7494 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hlywd. (323) 850-7258, saltscure.com.
—Kathy A. McDonald