10 October 2008

2007 Bouké White

"New York City?"

Much like the old Pace Picante commercial, that was the reaction a lot of my friends had when I told them I had a New York wine to try. "No," I'd reply, "it's not made in the city, it's out on Long Island. I've heard there are great vineyards out there. There's even a blogger named Lenn Thompson that covers the area almost exclusively."

I'm ashamed to admit that I've never been to New York, either the upstate areas or the city so nice they named it twice. Chalk it up to a residual Southern fear of Yankees. There's some weird phobia about the city, like getting mugged, or just knocked around in the bustle. That I would stick out like a hayseed. This is wholly irrational, as I've easily slid into Chicago, Denver, Dallas, Amsterdam, Rome, Milan, and a dozen other cities larger than my home of Memphis, which has worse violent crime problems than all of the above.

Lately my thoughts towards New York are that if I ever go there I'll move in and never look back, but I'm hoping to at least visit sometime in the next year.

Without further ado, the first Empire State wine I've ever tried is the 2007 Bouké White (pronounced "bouquet"), $18, 12.5% abv. 40% Chardonnay, 32% Pinot Gris, 18% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Gewürztraminer. Made by Lisa Donneson on the North Fork of Long Island. It's unoaked (hurrah!) and has a floral aroma that immediately makes me think of spring in my grandmother's garden. It's full-bodied with light pear flavors and has a nice splash of acidity from the Sauvignon Blanc. The Gewürztraminer doesn't make it sweet but contributes a spicy finish. While it worked admirably with grilled chicken and homemade cole slaw (as well as a chicken salad sandwich made from leftovers the next day), this wine begs for pasta, shrimp, garlic, and a light cream sauce.

From a graphic design standpoint, I really like the label. It reminds me of awnings, or of this skirt a pretty girl wore back in 10th grade English. It's difficult to pull off the multicolored stripes motif well, and by incorporating white space between the colors the designer avoided vibrating boundaries. And the reversed-out name of the winery is set in something like Beton Extra Bold that I can't quite identify, but it all comes together with good balance.

If you get a chance to try this I'd highly recommend it, and I can't wait to explore more of the Long Island wine world.

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