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6 Feb

Make Valentine’s Day Sparkle with Ruinart Champagne

Nothing says love quite like Champagne.

To commemorate Valentine’s Day, I am devoting my entire post to the best of the bubbly stuff. And y’all, when I say Champagne, I mean real Champagne. No Prosecco, Cava or “headache in a bottle” for this girl. It might bubble and fizz like a Champagne, but it’s only a Champagne if it’s from Champagne, France. And one of the shining jewels of Champagne is Ruinart.

A couple of months ago, Chester Cox reached out to me and asked if I was interested in learning more about Ruinart. You might recognize Chester from his five-year run as Fort Worth Magazine’s best wine expert, but he’s also the sommelier and retail wine specialist at Ellerbe Fine Foods. Chester invited me to bring a group of my most favorite peeps to experience a tresspecial, tresexclusive Ruinart Champagne tasting lunch.

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Let me just stop this story and give you some advice: If someone offers you and your crew an exclusive lunch featuring one of the world’s most exclusive wines, say yes.

So y’all, that’s exactly what I did! I said yes! So I am going to stop again and say, if this sounds like something you would love to do, you totally can. As you know, Ellerbe is owned by sommelier Richard King and executive chef Molly McCook, but Richard has teamed up with Chester on an amazing wine pairing event venture called White Gloves, Purple Teeth. Molly remains the mastermind behind the food and flavors in the kitchen, but Richard and Chester stand at the ready to direct a decadent evening of oenophilia for groups large and small.

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OK, now back to our wine lunch. Jason and I arrived at Ellerbe with eight of our most connoisseur-y friends. This group has literally seen it all, and our jaws all dropped when we saw our elegantly appointed table. Like, Carol, queen of tablescapes,  would have been proud.

One more thing I know y’all want to know – how do you pronounce Ruinart? OK, repeat after me: Rwree narrr. And again, but this time pretend you have a stuffed up nose: Rwree narrr. Tres bien!

Once we were seated, Chester introduced us to Jeridan, our tasting guide for our champagne-paired course and the official U.S. Ambassador for Ruinart Champagne.

30 seconds later, the white gold began to flow!

In between bites and sips, I soaked up the back story behind the Ruinart Maison and everything beautiful about the bubbles.

The History of the House

Ruinart, located in the town of Reims, is the oldest established Champagne house in France. Nicolas Ruinart founded it in 1728 right after the King of France decided to allow Champagne to be transported in bottles rather than barrels.

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Ruinart was the first Champagne house to cellar its wine in the region’s famous chalk caves, which were dug out by Roman prisoners over 2000 years ago. They’re 125 feet underground and span over five miles – big enough to house Ruinart’s entire production.

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Fun fact: It’s not just Arkansas where everything is relative. Nicolas’s uncle, Dom Ruinart, was a Benedictine monk and equal contemporaries with another wine lover, Dom “Donny P” Perignon. They were monks together in the same church, and they are also buried in the same abbey.

Also, Nicholas was the great grandfather of Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, better known as the Widow Clicquot, or Veuve Clicquot.

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Today, Ruinart is owned by LVMH, which also owns Louis Vuitton. (I knew there was a reason I loved this Champagne!)

We drank a range of wines, including a Blanc de Blanc with our salad and soup course. A Blanc de Blanc is 100 percent pure Chardonnay. (And it’s also 100 percent pure vegan! Win!)

Their Chardonnay is the finest in the region sourcing Premier and Grand Cru fruit from our estate own vineyard in Sillery in the Montagne de Reims along with the vineyards in the Côte des Blancs.

 

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We also sampled the Tête de cuvee Ruinarts Vintage Champagne while dining on our main courses.

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Another fun fact: Ruinart was not just the first Champagne house, they were also the first to make rose, way back in 1764. We sipped Dom Ruinart Rosé, which is an amazing balance of Chardonnay & Pinot Noir while we enjoyed Chef Molly’s amazing third course.

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You may be thinking, Christy, it’s great that you were drinking the good stuff, but what in the wine cork could you eat? Turns out, a lot! Chef Molly and her staff were so amazing, the kitchen coordinated a selection of special vegan dishes just for me to enjoy.

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Tasting Notes

  • Our group loved all three wines, especially since they were all specially blended to pair perfectly with food. Champagne was actually made for food – its acids breakthrough meat fats and cream sauces. It’s great with charcuterie, chicken and duck. The rose is great with steak, pasta, cheese and pizzas. It’s especially great with fried foods like French fries and fried chicken. Not that I know, but I’ve been told!
  • Now here’s a fun fact that’s actually crazy: The only thing that doesn’t taste good with Champagne is chocolate. For reals! The tannins in the Champagne are too big a taste and too bitter for the chocolate. Better bet is to go with a port. You’re welcome.
  • Want me to keep going? Here goes: Ruinart uses just under 8 grams of fruit and beet sugar per liter of alcohol, which is equivalent to about a sugar packet. Champagne also is the least caloric of all wines. Just 74 calories per glass! Just be careful if you decided to indulge in the bubbly while exercising.

And at the very end of our experience, our group had the opportunity to purchase the champagne we tasted, including rare specialty bottles we didn’t get to taste, at below wholesale cost! You can just imagine how many cases of champagne this group took home. I have to officially say, my wine refrigerator is filled with Ruinart!

Thanks to Ellerbe’s wine program, White Glove, Purple Teeth.

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Ruinart GIVEAWAY!!!

Who wants to win more fabulous freebies compliments of yours truly and Ellerbe?

We’re giving away a bottle of Ruinart Blanc de Blanc and a Champagne-fueled lunch for 2 at Ellerbe. $300 VALUE

5 Nov

The Lone Star Film Festival Gala is the Most Star-Studded Event in Fort Worth

Lone Star Film Festival and Gala Comes to Fort Worth

The Lone Star Film Festival Gala, via the road to Fort Worth, is about the closest way to Hollywood you can get, and boy is this star-studded event something you don’t want to miss! Last year, Jason and I, along with my parents, were guests of Angelique De Luca and Hollywood producer Mike De Luca. It was certainly a night to remember with great moments that reminded me of the time we attended the Academy Awards.

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Familiar Faces Among the Crowds

Last year’s crowd was filled with local notables, familiar faces, and out of town VIPs and celebrities, which made for lots of rubbernecking and memorable conversation. I bumped into tons of friends, hob-knobbed with Nancy Lamb and caught up with one of my favorite creatives, Michelle Kirk. Oh, and not to forget, I hugged on Pat Green too. 

Chad Mathews, Mike De Luca, Pat Green and Jeff Nichols
Lane Garrison and Camille Chambers
Amanda Chromaster and Josh Mills
Camille Brown, Angelique De Luca and Courtney Prescott
Jason & Christy Smith and Carol & Jim Dunaway
Victor Medina, Angelique De Luca, and Susan Medina
Victor Medina, Angelique De Luca, and Susan Medina
Holland Sanders and Karolam Ramirez
Atlee Phillips and Michelle Kirk
Christopher Langdon and Nancy Lamb
Steve Murrin and Pat Green
Steve Murrin and Pat Green
Pat Green, Christy Smith and Jason Smith
Pat Green, Christy Smith and Jason Smith
Angelique De Luca, Jim Dunaway and Steve Murrin
Angelique De Luca, Jim Dunaway and Steve Murrin
Christy Smith, Angelique De Luca and Courtney Prescott
Christy Smith, Angelique De Luca and Courtney Prescott

Award-Winning Philanthropy 

The night was filled with great food and libations, award presentations and headliner entertainment, all to raise money for Lone Star Film Society’s Johnny Langdon Film Education Initiative, which funds youth film camps and programs through the Boys & Girls Clubs across Tarrant County.

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Tommy Burt, Brad Ewert, Ro Rynd, Pat Green, Jason Rynd, Kori Green, Ginger Walker, Paige Ewert and Suzanne Burt
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Raising money for the Lone Star Film Society

Grammy Nominated Entertainment 

Speaking of headliner entertainment, Pat Green took to the stage with his witty humor and adoring eyes for his wife Kori, as he told stories of the 1st years of dating and marriage. It was a treat to witness their energy and chemistry in a ballroom filled with fans and friends. 

Movies, Celebrities and So Much More

Although the Gala was one for the books, the best part about the Lone Star Film Festival are the 5 days of movies, celebrity panel discussions and exclusive cocktail events in the heart of Sundance Square downtown. It’s a real treat for all the film buffs who live in and around our great city.

Sadly, due to scheduling conflicts last year, I missed the Q&A celebrity panel discussion with Mike and other filmmakers who dove into the details of production and what that world looks like. But have no fear, I have cleared some of my schedule for this year’s festival. Hopefully I will run into you!

Lane Garrison at AMC with movie patrons.
Celebrity panel discussion, a conversation with a Hollywood movie producer, Mike De Luca.
Celebrity panel discussion, a conversation with a Hollywood movie writer and director, Jeff Nichols.

Purchase Your Tickets Here

As the self-appointed party director of fabulousness, our entire host committee is ready to greet you on Thursday, November 14th. You can schmooze with celebrities at this glamorous event until your heart is content! Tables are still available as of this publication.

Check out these famous details below, and purchase your tickets HERE! (If online ticket sales close, you can call and purchase until the day before, based on availability.)

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Tips and Tricks on HOW TO FEST:

The Top 7 Things You Need to Know to Make the Best of the Fest 

  1.  All-Access Badges get you the biggest bang for your buck! This VIP-access ticket gets you into EVERYTHING, all five days, including 140+ films (with priority seating), film talks with industry pros, daily happy hours (badge = free drinks), post-film Q&A’s, coffee with the filmmakers, and so much more! 

2.  Oscar-contending films. The festival is best known for their independent and Texas filmmaker competitions, but what a lot of people don’t know is that LSFF features a select number of showcase films! These are the movies that are going to be the biggest in the nation and you can see them at Lone Star before anyone else in North Texas. This year, you have to mark A Hidden Life and Just Mercy on your must-see list. 

3.  Happy Hours aren’t just for drinking. LSFF hosts a nightly happy hour (at The Aloft Hotel) where you can go to get great (sometimes free) drinks, but more importantly you get the chance to mix and mingle with all of the directors, producers, and stars of the films! The happy hours are a great time to get the inside scoop on exciting new projects in the works and sharpen your film knowledge. 

4.  Pre-plan your entire festival before the celebration begins because there is an app for that! The Lone Star Film Festival app is available on Apple and Android and allows you to check out every film and event that will at the 2019 LSFF event. You can ‘star’ the events and films you want to make sure and attend to create your own schedule on the app. It also provides live updates of added films and an insiders look at this year’s award-winning lineup. 

5.  The 13th Annual Fest’s Opening Night Party is going to be one for the records. EVERYONE is invited to celebrate the first day of the festival on November 13, 2019 from 9pm-12am on the rooftop of Fort Worth’s newly reimagined, 1930s hotel: The Sinclair, Autograph Collection. The event is free and will feature specialty cocktails with filmmakers, locals, and movie enthusiast during one incredible night. All-Access Badge Holder’s first cocktails is free*! *limit 100 cocktails available for AA Badgeholders. 

6.  The most star-studded gala in Fort Worth. Experience the 13th Annual Lone Star Film Fest Gala on November 14, 2019 at The Worthington Renaissance Hotel. This exclusive evening will highlight chef-driven menus, specialty cocktails and celebrity meet-and-greets. The event will celebrate and honor the GRAMMY award-winning actor and filmmaker Tim Blake Nelson with the Bill Paxton Achievement in Film Award, as well as country music idol and actor Waylon Payne with the Stephen Bruton Award.  Guests will experience a special performance by Payne and be greeted by the event’s presenters — multi-award-winning musician and singer of ‘I Hope You Dance’ Lee Ann Womack and talented filmmaker and co-founder of the band Folk Uke Amy Nelson. 

7. Ever wonder what happened to Blockbuster? Or how Netflix claimed fame? The Story Behind Netflix’s Early Days of Marketing Film Talk at #LSFF2019 will feature Netflix Co-founder & Vice President of Merchandising Christina Kish, Blockbuster’s Former Chief Operating Officer Nick Sheperd, and more. O Brother, Where Art Thou and Just Mercy star Tim Blake Nelson will also be featured during a conversation moderated by Tom Provost. With multiple film talks to choose from every day, you’re sure to find something that intrigues you!

SoFortWorthIt GIVEAWAY!

Who is ready to mix, mingle and dance with the stars? One lucky winner will receive TWO tickets to The Lone Star Film Festival Gala at a value of $1200! Drawing the winner @ NOON on Monday, November 11th!

PLUS!!!! BONUS GIVEAWAY! Head over to my INSTAGRAM for a chance to win 2 ALL ACCESS BADGES for the entire 5 day festival! VALUE $700

*** Must read the Terms & Conditions in the Rafflecopter link below for the official rules and disclaimers for this giveaway. I would hate for you to miss follow all of the steps and your entries not qualify.***