Burning Down the House

Fig takes house wine to a new level

The phrase "house wine" doesn't have the finest connotation.

But at Santa Monica's destination-worthy restaurant Fig, house wine has achieved a loftier status with the late-January release of two bespoke wines created specifically for the restaurant.

Last year, chef Ray Garcia and director of operations Matthew Lehman, both noted oenophiles, teamed up with Santa Maria winemaker Joshua Klapper to produce an exclusive wine label.

Klapper's winery, La Fenêtre, is best known for its small-production natural wines made using grapes grown in the Santa Maria Valley, ripened just enough to preserve the unique terroir of the region. It's a philosophy he also brings to his new offerings at Fig.

Klapper and Garcia's new vintages include Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, available for purchase at Fig and designed for pairing with the menu's shareable charcuterie ($25) and cheese ($20 to $25) flights.

The 2010 Fig Pinot Noir ($34 for 750 ml), aged in neutral French oak, gives off aromas of rose petal and spices, but boasts a smoky profile that complements the kitchen's heartier dishes. The 2010 Fig Chardonnay ($32 for 750 ml) shines with fresh mineral and floral notes, emitting a bright acidity that makes it a great standalone wine.

If you're going to choose a house wine, why not one the staff had a hand in?

Fig Restaurant, 101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; 310-319-3111 or figsantamonica.com