It's hard to believe that the grapes for this dry, racy Riesling are grown near the chilly Marin Coast just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. There's no oak, and the wine was stirred on the lees for 5 months. It has distinct minerality with scents of marmalade, apricot, peach skins and honeysuckle. Flavors of apricot and peach follow through on the palate joined by notions of pear and nectarine. All the flavors are in harmony with this superb wine.
Marmalade, pear skins, Meyer lemon, peach, green almonds and chalky minerals.
Jonathan and Susan Pey had long and successful careers in the wine business before launching their own label, which now include wines from five different appellations in California. The "Shell Mound" Riesling is estate grown from a seventeen-year-old vineyard located less than eight miles from the Pacific Ocean in western Marin County and is heavily influenced by the cold ocean's considerable climatic prowess. The net result is a very long and moderate growing season. As a CCOF Certified Organic winery, they deploy environmentally friendly practices at many stages, from conserving soils and water, managing pests and using a natural approach in winemaking. In general, California's dry growing season limits mold, rot and disease incidence, so winegrowing there uses far less inorganic materials than most European vineyards, which regularly see rain during the summer. The Riesling vines' genetic background comes from a rare selection which originated in Neustadt, Germany. Together with the frigid vineyard site, the grapes deliver naturally high acidity, a hallmark of the great Rieslings of northern Europe.
The Pey-Marin will pair well with richer fish and shellfish dishes but I recommend my Seared Sea Bass with Artichoke Salad. Artichokes are hard to pair with wine but the citrus, minerals and good mid-palate texture of this Riesling will handle the challenge.
In the 1800s, winemaking was extensive in Marin County, but eventually vineyards gave way to development and winemaking headed north to Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino.