Summer Lovin'

An Austrian-style Riesling grown in the military's flight path

The noble grape Riesling has never received so much exposure, with the Summer of Riesling in full swing in restaurants and wineshops around the Bay Area.

One of our favorite California bottles is the 2008 Tatomer Wines Vandenberg Riesling.

Riesling, once relatively common in the Santa Barbara area, has languished for decades, but Graham Tatomer is making wonderful wines from both new and old vines. Tatomer, who honed his winemaking skills in Austria, sources his grapes from vineyards tucked in the cooler corners of Santa Barbara County–including the slopes near the Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc.

The vintner keeps a light hand in the cellar, resulting in remarkably pure, dry wines with bright flavors, pronounced minerality, and an affinity for food.

Look for the '08 Vandenberg Riesling at the Napa Valley Winery Exchange ($26 for 750 ml) or at Fifth Floor ($14 for a glass), where sommelier Amy Goldberger relies on its piercing acidity to frame the richness of suckling pig served with compressed fennel and nectarines.

It's a pairing that will have you wishing for an endless summer.

Fifth Floor Restaurant & Lounge, 12 Fourth St., San Francisco, 415-348-1555 or fifthfloorrestaurant.com; Napa Valley Winery Exchange, 415 Taylor St. (at Geary St.), 415-771-2887 or nvwe.com