Thomas Fogarty 2008 Skyline Riesling

In rural Southern San Mateo County sits an outstanding winery, Thomas Fogarty. They have a nice facility on a beautifully wooded hillside in the little town of Woodside, California. While they specialize in Burgundian varietals (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) there’s lots else to like here, too – including their value-priced Skyline Riesling.

I’m a huge fan of Riesling. After Pinot, it’s probably the grape I love the most. There’s so much that can be done with it, stylistically – from bone-dry alternatives to Chard to dessert wines with ridiculously high residual sugar levels. It’s grown from Mendocino to Alsace to Germany to Australia, and seems to thrive everywhere it’s in good hands.

This bottle hails from Scheid Viento Vineyard in Monterey County. The Skyline definitely hails from the dry side of the spectrum – this is no “sticky”. It’s almost austere in style – intense minerality and a hint of petroleum, with a sharp and biting acidity on the finish. There’s definitely fruit here, of the apple-peach variety – but it suggests itself more in the nose and the forward impression, which gives way to the stony, bracing mid-mouth feel and snappish finish. That snappy acidity makes this a great wine to pair with food – a wonderful alternative to oaky Chardonnays. I’d try it with roast chicken or even grilled salmon – while clean and bracing, the backbone is solid enough to stand up to more robustly flavored fish or fowl dishes.

I paid about $12 for it at the winery – you may find it cheaper elsewhere. At that price I consider it a solid bargain. It may lack the complexity of some of California’s great Riselings but for a versatile, economical and well-structured food wine you can’t go wrong here.

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