The Daily Sip: at a wine tasting for a good cause, two delightful and affordable Burgundies stand out

It’s not every day that I get to go home with two lovely discoveries from Burgundy while also supporting a good cause. Friends had invited us to a walk-around wine tasting last night to benefit Partnership with Children, which, for more than a  century, has been providing programs and services to help kids from low-income families here in New York succeed in school and in life.   More than 50 wines from around the world were poured by eight importers and distributors; a retailer, Grapes – The Wine Company, also took part.

In this type of broad tasting, it’s important to be organized. To start, I like to look over the wine list to see which wines interest me. Then, I circle around the room once to sample the whites and then a second time for the reds.

Of the wines I tasted, two Burgundies caught my attention last night. The first, a white, was the absolutely delicious 2008 Chablis from dampt chablis Vincent Dampt. When it comes to un-oaked chardonnay, Chablis is the gold standard, and this one shows why. Clean and focused, it has beautiful tropical fruit and lime notes with an underlying minerality that is a signature of Chablis. It was also poured at the correct temperature (just slightly chilled), which allowed the aromas and flavors to stand out. It sells at retail for about $22. Imported by Michael Skurnik Wines, Syosset, New York.

In my second pass, it was a charming red Burgundy that got me excited.  Actually, it turned out to be a Burgundy oddball, the 2007  Bourgogne Passetoutgrains from Domaine Laurent. While almost all red Burgundy is made from a single grape (pinot noir), Bourgogne Passetoutgrains is a blend of pinot noir and gamay, which gives it a fresh and fruity character reminiscent of Beaujolais, in which gamay is the principle grape. This uncomplicated wine is marked by pretty cherry and strawberry fruit, a bit of spice and a refreshing acidity that will place it high on my list of Thanksgiving wine possibilities. About $20. Imported by Martin Scott Wines, Lake Success, New York.

The wines are available through Grapes – The Wine Company, among other retailers. More information on Partnership with Children can be found at its Web site.

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