This year was rather magical for Dallas Uncorked. We celebrated our 10th anniversary with a fantastic walk around tasting with our friends at Aveniu Brands and our buddy, Chef Andrew Ormsby. Additionally we held three amazing, completely sold out dinners, all benefiting charities we truly believe in, including a festive evening with wines from Austin Hope and Hope Family Wines at Sevy’s, a delicious night with the amazing Lisa Mattson and Jordan Winery at our dear friend Chef Janice Provost’s Parigi, and a sparkling night with Chef Abraham Salum and Boisset Collection of Wines. It is such a joy for me to bring people together over great food and wine, hopefully teach them something new or taste something different, and then to be able to give back to our community in ways we hope will make a difference.
First our anniversary event went to the most perfect cause for the occasion, The Birthday Party Project bringing happiness to homeless children who otherwise might not have a celebration, simply for the joy of watching a child feel the love and delight of their birthday. It is such a simple gesture, and one that might go unnoticed if it wasn’t for the generous work The Birthday Party Project founder, team and volunteers do everyday.
Our summer dinner with our buddy Chef Jim Severson went to help one of our favorite people in the world, Coach June Jones (pictured above) and his impressive June Jones Foundation. Over the past few years in Dallas he started a mentorship project, Urban You Turn, to help inner city, at risk kids stay on the right path, bringing in athletes, coaches, ministry, teachers and city leaders to lend an ear and give a hand to Dallas youth, ensuring the next generation stays on the right path.
This year our Harvest Dinner, celebrating the bounty of the earth and the welcoming of fall, truly brought the concept home with the help of delicious Jordan Winery. Jordan has over an acre of gardens on their Alexander Valley property. To truly bring a taste of wine country to Dallas Jordan supplied us with a crate of produce and olive oil from the property to use at our dinner, along with their consistently delicious wine.
Chef Janice Provost elevated each item, and a few of her own, to make the pairings extra special and simply perfect. Standing back in her welcoming bistro I watched our guests throughout the night toasting the library vintages of Jordan, celebrating the harvest, while sipping a glass of the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. It was everything that I hoped for when I started Dallas Uncorked and so much more, as the night benefited two charites that I believe so much in, The Stewpot, helping the homeless of Dallas and Charity:Water, bringing clean water to those in need around the world. Though we support both local, national and international charities, The Stewpot holds a special place in our heart as we have seen the work they do for our city first hand, volunteering at The Bridge, the location where they feed those in need. We were able to provide two full days of meals to feed the homeless to The Stewpot, that is upwards of 1500 meals.
We added a special sparkling dinner in for the holidays this year, toasting with one of our favorites, the wines of Boisset Collection at Chef Abraham Salum’s place. Inviting an warm with crisp, clean and very fragrant bubbles and one incredible Pinot Noir from JCB – the #7.
For every event we have done in recent years I don’t think we have had a better pairing menu than than night, proving both Abraham’s delicious range and how perfect sparkling wine is to pair with anything from sweet to savory, spicy to refreshing. This night allowed for an additional donation to go to The Stewpot, as well as The North Texas Food Bank, as feeding the homeless and those in need is that much more important during the holidays. What better way to toast a smashingly good year than with bubbles, and this event topped off one of our very best.
On a personal note Gary had three films he was a part of debut this year, including Refuge, Words & Pictures and the very funny and smart Believe Me, and continues to show me why I love him so much. His incredible love, support and tenderness towards me fills my heart every day, but it is also his kindness to our family, friends and acquaintances, and his generous, always giving spirit, constantly helping charity and non-profit organizations, mentoring young kids who want to get into the film business, or simply having coffee and talking movies with those who ask. Every day I feel blessed to call him husband.
This year I had a chance to visit Italy twice, the stunningly gorgeous regions of Franciacorta and Alto Adige; France twice, including Loire Valley, Rhone, Provence and a fantastic week in Paris with Gary; Spain twice, including a black winter truffle hunt through Northern Spain and a trip to very green Rias Baixas for delicious Albarino. Plus half a dozen trips to Napa and Sonoma and a few jaunts up to Oregon. I continue to write for D Magazine/SideDish, as well as a few other publications, and absolutely love my weekly contributions to The Broadcast, hopefully teaching a new audience about some of my favorite undiscovered wines and spirits. One of my greatest honors this year was being invited to join Les Dames d’Escoffier International, a prestigious group of women in the fine beverage, food and hospitality industries, supporting other women as they grow within the business. It is something that I had wanted for quite some time as both locally and internationally, these are some of the finest chefs, wine makers, writers, etc. in the business and women I admire greatly.
As great as this year was I am anxious to see what 2015 will bring. I can guarantee entertaining and hopefully educational events will be a part of it, as will some very good wine for great causes. I am thankful to each person who has supported us over the years, from the incredible wineries that have generously given us donations, to venues and chefs we love to work with, to each person who has attended an event or even just read our blog. We wish you a very happy, safe and tasty holiday, and we look forward to toasting with you in the new year.