There's a lot to like about Bouke Wines, one of the North Fork's newest wine producers. On first glance alone, the labels are clean, sleek and different from most local producers. Then, there's founder Lisa Donneson. I met her for the first time at Brooklyn Uncorked and found her both passionate and charming. It doesn't hurt that her wines are made by Gilles Martin, a genuninely nice guy who has been making wine on the North Fork for about 20 years.
In an email recently, Donneson told me that she wants to create "Wines that showcase the best of Long Island — the ripe fruit forward style of the New World, the structure and high-quality grape varietals of the Old World, and the harmonious balance of fruit, acidity and alcohol that can be achieved in a maritime climate."
Even better, she's done that without making her wines expensive, luxury items that can only be opened on special occasions. Instead, she wants you to open her wines every day and enjoy them.
As she worked on the blends with Martin, Donneson was looking for, generally "quality, personality, complexity, great taste, balance, and compatibility with food." Those attributes are nothing new. One would hope that any producer is striving for those things. But she continues on, telling me she sought "a gorgeous color, seductive aroma and smooth mouthfeel — a sensual experience!" That isn't something that you hear ever day.
To make her Bouke 2007 White Table Wine ($18) she used grapes purchased from growers on the North Fork, relying on Martin's experience working there, beliving that he is "intimately informed with the local vineyards and knows the best resources." For now, she doesn't have any immediate plans to plant a vineyard, but it could happen someday, telling me in an email "Who knows? It's a dream."
The Bouke 2007 White Table wine is made by blending 40% chardonnay, 32% pinot gris, 18% sauvignon blanc, and 10% Gewurztraminer. The expressive nose is surprisingly complex at this price point, showing predominant apple and citrus aromas accented by those of white flowers, pineapple and spice.
The fresh, satisfying palate is medium-light in body and offers green apple, peach and lemon zest flavors with more spice. There is just the right acidity here to keep it lively. Make sure that you don't over-chill this wine. You'll miss out on some of the depth and complexity.