Grace Wins With Christmas In July

by David Donalson

Last Thursday, I had the privilege of attending Grace’s Christmas in July celebration benefiting the American Heart Association in Fort Worth. For three glorious hours, I was able to taste some outstanding seafood appetizers while tasting many different forms of bubbly. I would be lying if I did not say that I was looking forward to this for a week. I never miss an opportunity to drink good bubbles and man there were some good bubbles here.

When I see an event that claims to be “Champagne” like a Champagne brunch, I get a little worried. Too often people assume that bubbles equals Champagne and as much as I like Cava from Spain and Prosecco from Italy, they just never stand up to the purity of flavor as true Champagne. With a $50 cover charge, one should expect true Champagne and Grace did not disappoint. There were three tables lined by buckets of ice and lots of bubbly. 

A quick note for those of you who have not been to events like this: find the high end wines and get them first. The last thing you would want to do is miss out on an opportunity to try a hard-to-find wine because you wanted to save it for last or you wanted to complete your tour of another table first. Otherwise, you might have missed something like Dom Perignon or Krug. Luckily, I spotted them early and ran over to the table.

The first table had tubs of Moet and Chandon and Veuve Clicquot sitting on ice but it was the bottle of Dom Perignon that I had to try. The Dom Perignon was an extremely balanced combination of citrus juices, roasted nuts with a creamy texture. Even better was the non-vintage Krug in splits (375mL). Krug puts their wines through oak aging and it shows in the richer flavors of honey, brown spices and vanilla mixed with the nuts and slight citrus notes. Finally, the Le Grande Dame Rose from Veuve Clicquot was a mix of strawberry and light cherry mixed with lemon and cream. Dessert in your mouth.

At the second table, I had the pleasure of meeting Morgon from Henriot, who served a Blanc de Blanc that was crisp, clean and zesty. This was one of the biggest surprises of the night at a $67 price tag. Along the rest of this table were the best American sparkling wines, Schramsberg in California and Argyle in Oregon, as well as the Bellavista Franciacorta, an Italian wine done to mimic Champagne in every way but cost. At a $45 price point, Bellavista is a steal.

At the final table, we get to some of the more exotic selections, including some grower Champagne, sparkling Riesling and even sparkling Gamay. Ayala is a smaller Champagne brand I fell in love with in New York City and seeing it on the table makes me hopeful to find it in some restaurants soon. Well balanced lemon and apples paired off by almonds and bread make for a great combination in Champagne. The Richter Brut Sparkling Riesling was a bit sweet for my taste, having a background flavor profile of candied fruit but I saw several people come back for it. Finally, my favorite of the night was the Pierre Peters. Great apple, lemon tart with enough weight to linger but not overpower the palate.

Along the side of the entrance was a table set up for a silent auction to benefit the American Heart Association. There were some very notable items up for auction, including a case of various Grand Cru St. Emillion and a magnum of Pierre Peters. Even some non-wine related goods, like a basketball signed by the Dallas Mavericks and a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue, were up for bids.

By the end of the night, Sommelier Ryan Tedder informed me that they had raised $10,000 through the cover charge and the silent auction.

This was a great night to showcase not only one of the best restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth but to also champion a great cause in the American Heart Association.


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Filed under Crave, David Donalson, Events, Fort Worth, Grace, Wine

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