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Become a Wine Expert

Posted Wednesday, Nov. 06, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Where to Shop Cadillac Wines 3500 S.W. Loop 820 Fort Worth 817-989-4433 www.cadillacwines.com Central Market 1425 E. Southlake Blvd. Southlake 817-310-5600 and 4651 West Freeway Fort Worth 817-989-4700 www.centralmarket.com Crockett Street Bottle Shop 2805 Crockett St. Fort Worth 817-585-1555 http://bottleshopfw.com Goody Goody Several Tarrant-area locations. www.goodygoody.com Into the Glass 322 S Main St. Grapevine 817-442-1969 www.intotheglass.com Put a Cork in It 2972 Park Hill Drive Fort Worth 817-924-2675 www.putacorkinitwine.com Total Wine & More 5200 S. Hulen St. Fort Worth 817-292-2503 www.totalwine.com
If you’re buying a holiday gift for a hostess with the mostest in her wine cellar, give her a wine tool she can use. Two of the pros’ favorites to consider: the Electric Blue Push Button Corkscrew is a one-handed wine opener by Wine Enthusiast ($34.99); it glows blue while operating and comes complete with a foil cutter. The easy-to-use Zyliss Champagne Opener ($17.99) conveniently pops a cork in style — no need to struggle or waste a drop of the good stuff.
If you love to sip and nibble, you won’t want to miss the inaugural Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival, taking place March 27-30, 2014, in locations around Tarrant County. Tickets are on sale now at www.fortworthfoodandwinefestival.com for the following events: Kickoff Event: Twelve Fort Worth chefs will prepare tastings to showcase their cuisine, and wine and beer from local wineries and craft breweries will be served. 7 p.m. March 27, Billy Bob’s Texas, 2520 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth. $65. Grand Tasting: A tasting event that will highlight more than 70 wineries, craft breweries, distillers, chefs, restaurateurs, food artisans and more. 7 p.m. March 28, Worthington Renaissance Hotel, 200 Main St., Fort Worth. $125. Tastes of the World: This big-ticket lunch, limited to 150 people, will feature the cuisine of Dallas chef Dean Fearing with performers on the stage of Bass Hall. 11 a.m. March 29, 555 Commerce St., Fort Worth. $500. Burgers, Brews & Blues: Blues bands will play while burgers and craft beers are served. 6 p.m. March 29 at Edwards Ranch, 5000 Clearfork Main St., Fort Worth. $60-$75. Sip & Savor: Oenophiles can enjoy more than 100 wines and hors d’oeuvres from local food artisans. 11 a.m. March 29-30, Worthington Renaissance Hotel, 200 Main St., Fort Worth. $75. Meals on Wheels for Meals on Wheels: Food truck festival including live music, to benefit Meals on Wheels of Greater Tarrant County. 5:30 p.m. March 29, Coyote Drive-In, 223 N.E. Fourth St., Fort Worth. $50.

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Everyone loves to linger with friends and family over a good glass of wine this time of year, but how do you know which bottles to buy or to give? We asked local wine shop owners, restaurateurs and sommeliers for their best advice and favorite sips of the season.

1. SERVE AN ALL-AMERICAN RED WINE WITH WHITE MEAT.

“Pinot noir is fabulous with turkey,” says Brad Kimura, manager and wine specialist at Cadillac Wines inside Frank Kent Cadillac. “Most people think the best pinots come from the Burgundy region in France. The terroir in Willamette [in Oregon] is the same as in Burgundy. They produce richer pinots there because it takes a month longer for the fruit to ripen than in other American regions. That is why most other pinots seem lighter, lacking that rich and smooth mouth-feel.”

He’s crushing on:

Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir 2008 ($58-$64 retail at Cadillac Wines, Total Wine & More) or 2009 ($64 retail at Cadillac Wines).

“It is soft and not too tannic, with notes of caramel and baking spices, as well as a long, clean finish,” he says of the highly-rated pinot noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

2. PASS THIS MERLOT WITH THE APPS.

“Duckhorn Merlot is always a hit,” says Chris Davis, one of the managers at Truluck’s Southlake (trulucks.com/pages/southlake-texas). “It is well-balanced — not too big, not too light.”

He’s crushing on:

Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot 2010 ($140 served at Truluck’s, $50-$52 retail at Goody Goody, Total Wine & More).

The versatility of this merlot makes it an expert choice to take to your next wine and cheese party. It stands up to stronger cheese selections, while not overpowering milder ones, the folks at Duckhorn say.

“It goes especially well with briny goat cheeses,” he says, “and we like to serve it with a fine steak or our rustic cioppino fish stew.”

3. STOP AND SMELL THIS ROSÉ.

When it is time to kick off your high heels or remove your cummerbund and relax, unwind with something unexpected: a favorite rosé of Wayne Turner, owner of Into the Glass in Grapevine.

He’s crushing on:

Robert Stemmler Vin Gris Rosé 2012 ($36 served at Into the Glass, $25 retail at Put a Cork in It).

“It is a good quality, first-press rosé from pinot noir grapes on the Sonoma Coast,” Turner says. “It lightens up a heavy meal like Thanksgiving, with refreshing strawberry and raspberry flavors, and has an appealing salmon color. Serve it as an aperitif before the big meal, or pair it with lighter meats like turkey.”

4. DRESS YOUR WINE TO IMPRESS.

If you’re gifting wine, make it look like a gift, suggests Tammy Popperwell at Crockett Street Bottle Shop. No bag? Try clear cellophane wrap topped with colorful curling ribbons ($1.50 for this presentation at Crockett Street). Or fill a wicker wine basket with a bottle cradled in cushiony crinkle-cut papers ($9.99 at the shop).

She’s crushing on:

Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 ($57 retail at Crockett Street Bottle Shop).

“The Jordan cabernet sauvignon is one of our best-selling middle-range wines,” Popperwell says. “People love it and come back asking for it all the time.” Jordan has a lovely ruby tone and nice acid, reviewers agree, along with dried berry notes like blackberry and dark cherries. The time spent aging in oak barrels adds hints of vanilla and baking spices.

5. SERVE WINE AT THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE.

A handy Chill cooling pour spout ($20) by Host Studios is a triple threat, suggests Chris Keel, the owner of Put a Cork in It. Pour your first glass and then insert the Chill spout to keep your wine at the perfect serving temperature; its built-in pour spout makes serving easy, and the integrated leak-proof stopper allows you to store an unfinished bottle to enjoy later.

He’s crushing on:

Elk Cove Ultima-White Wine 2010 ($32 retail at Put a Cork in It).

Keel loves to serve this ice wine-style blend with a rich creme brulee, or a fresh fruit tart. “The sweetness in Ultima is balanced well with acidity, in comparison to other dessert wines,” he says. “You will notice honey, mango and dried apricots.”

6. NAPA KNOWS BEST.

Gift shopping on the fly? Here are the only two words to remember: Napa cab. “You can’t go wrong with a 100 percent Napa cabernet. Napa cabs are simply the best,” says Jon Bonnell, the proprietor and chef of Waters ( http://waterstexas.com/) and Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine ( http://bonnellstexas.com/). “It’s a crowd-pleaser that goes well with anything — steak, wild game, grilled meats and mushrooms.”

He’s crushing on:

Egelhoff Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 ($100 served at Bonnell’s and Waters, $75 retail at Cadillac Wines).

Egelhoff is a trusted winemaker with whom Bonnell has worked for many years; restaurant patrons will find bottles on the wine lists of his restaurants. “A cabernet like Egelhoff wows everybody,” he says. “It’s big and bold ... and you know you’re getting your money’s worth.”

7. GIVE A GREAT CHARDONNAY.

A present of Trefethen Chardonnay is like “liquid sunshine in a glass,” suggests sommelier Mauricio Herrera, who serves a lot of it at Winslow’s Wine Cafe ( http://winslowswinecafe.com/). He thinks it’s the perfect wine to give sippers this season.

He’s crushing on:

Trefethen Chardonnay 2011 ($55 served at Winslow’s, $24-$33 retail at Goody Goody, Total Wine & More).

“What differentiates this chardonnay is that it is not super buttery or super oaky, like many California chardonnays,” Herrera says. “You might say that butter and oak are more of a side dish rather than the main course in this one. It is not overly weighty, but more fruit forward, offering up poached pear, lemon cream and bright honeysuckle.”

Plus, there’s a local connection: When she is not minding the grapes in Napa, Janet Trefethen is a mainstay at Fort Worth cutting horse events.

8. ALL HAIL A COMPLEX CAB.

Glenn Verk, wine manager at Central Market in Southlake, recommends a favorite, hard-to-find cabernet from Kuleto Estate, located in the Eastern Napa volcanic mountains.

He’s crushing on:

Kuleto Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, ($52 retail at Central Market).

“It is a full-bodied and complex wine,” he says. “The grapes are sourced from several mountainside vineyards overlooking Rutherford, Calif. The aromatics are filled with sage, and the fruits are mostly dark — like black cherries, black currants and cassis.”

9. INDULGE IN A PORT AFTER DINNER.

When it’s time to raise a glass after dinner, reach for a nice aged port suggested by Gary Farina of Farina’s Winery & Cafe in Granbury and Grapevine ( www.farinaswinery.com). He loves a Portuguese classic by a family that has been making it since 1670.

He’s crushing on:

Warre’s 20 Year Old Tawny Port Wine 2011 ($14 by the glass at Farina’s, $49 retail at Goody Goody).

“It is one of the best ports I’ve found. It is mellow and smooth, with a beautiful amber color,” Farina says of the wine described on its website as having a long creme brulee finish. “I like it for an after-dinner drink. We also like to pair it with our Chocolate Kahlua cake… It’s just a great marriage with chocolate.”

10. GO FOR A GROWER CHAMPAGNE.

When it’s time to celebrate, only a true champagne will do. For a good value, look for a “grower” champagne, suggests Jenny Kornblum, sommelier at Grace restaurant ( www.gracefortworth.com/).

“Growers sell their grapes to big champagne houses like Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Taittinger or Perrier-Jouët ... who spend a lot of money on fancy marketing campaigns, which then drives the price of champagne through the roof,” she says. “Growers tend to keep the best grapes for themselves and sell the rest ... so the value of a grower champagne is amazing.”

She’s crushing on:

Paul Goerg 1er Cru, Brut, Blanc de Blancs 2002 ($119 served at Grace, $53 retail at Put a Cork in It).

“This is a grower champagne, meaning it comes directly from the families who own the vineyards,” Kornblum says. Some 85 percent of the Paul Goerg’s Vertus vineyards are planted with chardonnay grapes, which is somewhat rare in the Champagne region of France, since chardonnay grapes are limited to only 28 percent of vines in the famous area. (Goerg will be featured at a champagne dinner Nov. 11 at the restaurant.)

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