When friends invited us to be their guests at a benefit dinner last week, we found ourselves in the fancy Pierre Hotel here in New York, mingling with men in suits and women in just the right dresses, which is to say people with the means and a desire to make a difference for a good cause, in this case Partnership with Children, which lends a big helping hand to thousands of underprivileged kids in this city’s public schools. Food and wine were not the main concerns, of course. Raising money for the Partnership was, and this group of supporters – a couple hundred of them or so – was very good at it. At the start of the dinner, the Partnership raised more than $100,000 in less than 15 minutes as guests, encouraged by an auctioneer, punched in substantial sums in their BidPals, little i-Phone-like devices we were all given that let you contribute and bid from the privacy of the palm of your hand. It was a breathtaking display of generosity and was just one of the evening’s fundraising activities.
For me, the dinner also highlighted the fact that you don’t have to serve expensive wines to satisfy well-heeled folks at an event like this (all the more money to benefit the children), and one wine in particular stood out in this regard. Domaine du Tariquet’s 2009 “Classic” is an under-$10 white Vin de Pays from Gascony in southwest France, which is far better known for producing Armagnac. Indeed, Tariquet’s wine is made by blending two Armagnac grapes, ugni blanc and colombard, which results in a delightful and fruity wine that went down especially well during the pre-dinner reception. I've reviewed this wine before and was glad to have come across it again with its pleasing green apple and citrus notes. It's widely available, perfect for the warm weather and will fool your guests, if you so desire, into thinking it's a much more expensive wine, as I'm sure it did with more than a few those at the Pierre the other night. Imported by Robert Kacher Selections, New York.