Look at a bottle of Bouke 2009 Perlant ($17) and it might not seem like a one-of-a-kind. Scan the back label and you'll learn that it's a blend of pinot gris, pinot blanc and pinot noir -- interesting maybe but not unheard of.
To understand what is so unique about this wine, you need to either know a little French, or crack open the screwcap closure and pour. You see, in France, "perlant" refers to a wine containing a faint amount of CO2 -- not quite a sparkling, but not still either.
Poured in a glass, a thin layer of bubbles blankets the wine for a moment before dissipating. The effervescence falls somewhere between Moscato D'Asti and vino verde.
Pear and lemony citrus aromas are clean and bright with just a little nuttiness in the background. The nose isn't huge, but I wouldn't call it austere either.
Acidity and CO2 -- mostly the CO2 -- combine for a lively, fresh palate in the extreme, bursting with pear and green apple fruit, subtle peach undertones and something that hints at cherry. Before I looked it up, I found it hard to discern how much residual sugar was there -- the acid-bubble combo is so snappy -- but the finish is definitely dry, though short, and shows a bit of tonic water quinine character.
Though simple and a little short, I can see enjoying a bottle (okay, many) out on a dock with a group of friends, nibbling cheese, grilled vegetables, cured meats and eating local shellfish, enjoying the sun and revelry, every sip refreshing and cleansing our palates. This is a unique reminder that not every wine needs to be mind-blowingly complex to be enjoyable.
AVA: New York State
TA: 5.33 g/l