Society / Featured Parties

New Houston Party Space With Rooftop Views, Contemporary Furnishings and a Designer Team Draws a Chic Throng — Sorellina Rooftop Takes Flight

A French Champagne Expert Makes It Even More Fabulous

BY // 06.23.23

There could not be a tighter friendship than that between the fabulous Carrie Brandsberg-Dahl and Adrian Dueñas (or perhaps that of Dueñas and designer Nina Magon, but that’s another story.) This is a recounting of the night that Brandsberg-Dahl and Dueñas introduced a champagne new to Houston to a chic clutch while christening a new event space.

The early summer soirèe served to launch Sorellina Rooftop, the third floor party space and adjoining terrace that Dueñas and his husband Marcelo Saenz have been working on, in conjunction with Magon, as the final stage in development of BeDESIGN, their contemporary European furniture showroom on West Alabama.

Hosts Adrian Dueñas and Carrie Brandsberg-Dahl flank Guillaume Frerejean-Taittinger at the BeDESIGN fête introducing Sorellina Rooftop and Frerejean Frères champagne.
Hosts Adrian Dueñas and Carrie Brandsberg-Dahl flank Guillaume Frerejean-Taittinger at the BeDESIGN fête introducing Sorellina Rooftop and Frerejean Frères champagne.

And what better way to launch a new party place than with champagne? Enter Jean-Francois Bonneté, Houston-based wine and spirits importer escorting the charming Guillaume Frerejean-Taittinger, visiting from home base in France’s champagne region.

Frerejean-Taittinger, the latter name hallowed in the stratosphere of fine champagne, is the eldest of three brothers, who in 2005 launched  Frerejean Frères champagne in response to the sale of group Taittinger to American investment firm Starwood Capital. (Since that time another branch of the Taittinger family has bought back the famed champagne house.)

The brothers began their maison as a boutique operation with champagne purely for family and friends, the Frenchman explained. But no ordinary bubbly, Frerejean Frères is set apart from the bulk of champagnes as it uses only grand cru and premiere grapes and the cuvée is aged a minimum of five years. Today, the family produces 150,000 bottles a year, which means a strict allocation although they are hoping to grow to 300,000 bottles by 2030.

All of this, Frerejean-Tattinger explained as we visited on the expansive Sorellina Rooftop terrace which was handsomely furnished and landscaped, affording 180-degree views from downtown to the Galleria.

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Taking in that view was the throng of interior designers, friends and clients who mixed and mingled both indoors and out while sipping a variety of French wines before the official tasting. Amid the lush greenery of the terrace, the chic furnishings from Paola Lenti outdoor, winner at the Monaco Yacht Show, provided something of a Portofino ambience, or as close as you can get in Houston’s Montrose.

The new event space with floor-to-ceiling glass walls has enough space to host 80 for a seated dinner and 150 for a cocktail event. The full catering kitchen, featuring a Molteni stove, is fully equipped for restaurants and caterers. Information on Sorellina Rooftop can be found at events@sorellinarooftop.com.

April & Dr. Jorge Salazar at the BeDESIGN fête introducing Sorellina Rooftop and Frerejean Frères champagne.
April & Dr. Jorge Salazar at the BeDESIGN fête introducing Sorellina Rooftop and Frerejean Frères champagne.

In promoting Frerejean Frères champagne, Bonneté allowed that the product, official champagne supplier for the Michelin Guide, entered the United States market three years ago and made its Texas debut 18 months ago.

In Houston, aficionados can find the special champagne at high-end locales including the Post Oak Hotel, Etoile, Artisans and Rainbow Lodge. It also will be carried at Cocody when the new River Oaks restaurant opens later this summer. Frerejean Frères is also available at Spec’s.

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