Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival Sipping Series: Texas Fine Wine

Posted on February 3, 2016
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Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival’s growth is impressive! Wildly popular events over four days in March are all Texas by birth. New events are being added throughout the year. The Sipping Series: Texas Fine Wine was held recently at Classic Wine Storage.

Texas Fine WineDenise Clarke of Texas Fine Wines, said that Texas Fine Wines was formed to promote the wineries and their wines to sommeliers, retail, and restaurant wine buyers, media, and wine educators. The Website,, welcomes visitors to discover a “distinctive group of highly respected wineries recognized for making quality wines from Texas appellation vineyards.”

Pat Brennan of Brennan Vineyards said at the Sipping Series event that when presenting wines at various venues, people will make comments like, “That’s pretty good for a Texas wine.” Texas Fine Wines hopes to end that qualifier “for a Texas wine” from being said. Nearly 40 wines from the member wineries have won awards since the 2015 Texsom International Wine Competition.

TexasFineWines The Sipping Series Tastings:

Bending Branch’s 2014 Comfortage This Roussanne was floral and perfumery and very full-bodied for a white with a nice oak finish.

Pedernales 2014 Texas Viognier was the Top Texas Wine of the 2016 Rodeo Uncorked! competition. Fruit-forward with grapefruit, peach, and melon aromas and pleasing green apple notes, this wine was very smooth and lush.

Winner of one of Texas Monthly’s Best Texas Wines of 2015, Duchman Family Winery’s 2012 Montepulciano continues to be Duchman’s most popular wine. The nose has plum, pipe tobacco, and vanilla, with flavors of blackberry, black cherry, and a hint of spice and nice acidity.

The newest member of Texas Fine Wines is Spicewood Vineyards, owned by “one cool dude,” Ron Yates. Yates is part of Texas wine royalty as the nephew of Ed and Susan Auler of Fall Creek Vineyards. Spicewood’s 2013 Syrah, made with grapes from Escondido Valley in Southwest Texas, has aromas of blackberry and smoked meats and is round and tangy.

Rated by many the star of the night was Brennan Vineyards 2012 Super Nero (Nero d’Avola). This Sicilian grape does well because as the sugar goes up, it maintains its acidity. This wine is much lighter than traditional Nero d’Avolas from Italy, which are very dark, inky, intense, and meant to be only sipped with food. Brennan’s wine was full-bodied with tart strawberries, prunes, black currants, cedar and vanilla notes, and drinkable just for the pleasure of it. Everyone at our table loved the cedar flavor! Due to spring freezes, production of this vintage is limited. Let’s hope future vintages are more plentiful!

Happy 10th Anniversary to Put a Cork In It

Posted on January 28, 2016
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Put a Cork in it Ten years ago, Fort Worth got a jewel of a wine shop. Put a Cork In It opened on January 27, 2006. Two months later, I wrote an article for the Fort Worth Business Press talking about Chris and Deedra Keel’s working dream. As with the fine wines they sell, they have not just gotten older, they have gotten better!

Colorful, comtemporary, and refreshing — that’s what the new wine shop on Park Hill at University is all about. Chris Keel and his wife Deedra opened Put a Cork in It on January 27 with about 270 wines or as Chris put it “with a little something from everywhere.”

With purple walls, high ceilings, horizontal chrome wine racks, a custom fitted ladder, a wooden breakfront, and several Ikea rugs with yellow, red, purple and green, there is a clean yet welcoming feel to the shop. Deedra’s cousin has done the art work in colorful Van Gogh style.

Seventy-five percent of the wine is under $25. On Fridays and Saturdays they have free tastings of two or three selections sometimes with a theme. Stop by, put your name on their email list, and those patrons will be notified what’s to be tasted that weekend. They encourage customers to step out of the box and try something new.

Keel’s cousin who owns Park Hill Café next door told him about the space that had become available. For Chris Keel owning a wine store isn’t too far fetched. In south Texas Keel sold glass bottles to wineries for a living. The theme at Put a Cork in It is ‘Sell some wine and have a good time.’

The address is 2972 Park Hill Drive, Fort Worth. Hours are Monday – Thursday 10:00am – 8:00pm and Friday and Saturday 10:00am – 9:00pm.

Ten years later Put a Cork In It fulfills its same promise with even more depth and versatility. Days and hours are longer for the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday tastings. Wines chosen are even more eclectic and enticing often grouped by country or varietal. If you are one of many sincerely interested folks in learning more about global wines, what better place to taste and talk with those of like interests. Taste characteristics are one thing but a ’round table’ of relaxed conversation about wine regions, who is behind the action in the vineyards and in the winery, and reasons for producing certain varietals, lend to gaining wine knowledge without even realizing it. After all, it’s Friday night and time to wine-down.

Thanks for ten wonderful years, and here’s to many more!


Posted on June 27, 2014
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Think of Angelica in the same category as Port. Angelica is the first of fortified wines that will be discussed in Varietal Vignettes. Fortified wine has a spirit added to it, usually brandy or a neutral spirit such as vodka, making it 17% to 21% alcohol. Other examples of fortified wine are Madeira, Sherry, and Marsala.

The origin of Angelica can be traced to the Mission period in California. Franciscan missionaries produced it from Mission grapes and is thought to be named after the City of Angels, Los Angeles. There are still several producers in California that continue to produce Mission-based Angelica although many producers have switched to using Muscat grapes for Angelica.

Gypsy Canyon Angelica

One producer that still uses Mission grapes is Deborah Hall of Gypsy Canyon. Hall performed extensive research on Mission grapes and Angelica after discovering long dormant vines on her property. She follows the recipe described by Franciscans that she uncovered in her research. Since she produces less than one barrel of Angelica each year, it can only be purchased on her Website. The Muscat-produced Angelica wines are more plentiful and much easier to find.

Angelica is amber-colored with caramel on the nose. Flavors of honey, apricot, figs, and sage combine in a silky mouthfeel and a nutty (hazelnut or pecan) finish. One Franciscan missionary wrote in his journal that it was suitable for sipping at any occasion, but when serving with dessert, it pairs best with fresh fruits or smoky cheeses.

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