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Popping the Cork

Local wine shop features five unique wines

"Italian wines are very popular in Fort Worth," says Chris Keel, owner of 'Put a Cork in It,' a wine boutique and tasting room in Fort Worth. Keel is an Italian Wine Ambassador, one of only 300 in the world; he travels abroad to some of the most desirable wine destinations, bringing his Fort Worth customers exclusive bottles and blends. Take a look at some of Keel's current favorites and join his wine club to keep the party going!

Name: Champagne Lanson “Le Black Label” Brut

Region: Reims, Champagne 

Style: Non-Vintage, base is 2016

Grape: 50% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay & 15% Meunier

Aroma? Floral, fresh bread

What's the flavor? Apple, pear, toast, almond finish

"This is a classic champagne; it hits all the notes you want," says Keel. "It pairs nicely with a cheese board or salmon, fish and chips or even a bag of potato chips."

Name: Cascina Feipu dei Massaretti Pigato 2020

Region: Riviera Ligure di Ponente DOC, Liguria, Italy

Grape: 100% Pigato 

Aroma? Floral, fresh peaches, dry hay

What's the flavor? White fruits, floral, and almond finish.

Keel included this crisp, clean wine in his Italian wine club this month. It pairs nicely with any kind of pasta or classic Italian dish. "The grape is similar to Vermentino, which is actually grown in Texas now; it's another one of my favorite grapes," says Keel. "I went down a rabbit hole of Vermentino, and that's where I found this Pigato."

Name: Montagu Pinot Noir 2020

Region: Fort Ross-Seaview, Sonoma County, CA

Aroma? plum, baking spices

What's the flavor? raspberry, cherry, plum, mushroom/tea leaf

Prominent Fort Worth winemaker, Weston Eidson is behind this bottle. With only a hundred cases made, it's very rare. "Weston's cab, Silver Ghost, is one of our best-selling," says Keel, a testament to Eidson's skill. A light to medium-bodied wine, it pairs best with mushroom risotto or grilled pork or chicken. 

Name: Saint Jean du Barroux  by Philippe Gimel

Region: Ventoux, Rhone Valley, France 

Style: L’Argile 2017 red blend  

Grape: 75% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 5% Carignan & 5% Cinsault

Aroma? Blackberry compote, rosemary, thyme

What's the flavor? Blackberry compote, white pepper, savory spices

"Philipe is the most passionate guy about wine," chuckles Keel, "he just loves making wine, and the Rhone valley is one of my top five places to drink it." And Keel's is the only shop in Texas carrying this wine, as it's difficult to obtain, "I had to jump through a lot of hoops!"

Traditionally, lamb meat works well with any type of Rhone wine; pair this one with lamb, rotisserie chicken or other lighter meats. 

Name: Bibi Graetz “Testamatta” Rosso 2019

Region: Toscana IGT, Italy

Grape: 100% Sangiovese 

Aroma? Red fruits, cedar box, tobacco, rose

What's the flavor? Higher tannins, red fruits, cherry, strawberry, rosemary

"This winery is north of Florence, and it was one of the best tastings I've had in a long time. (Bibi Graetz) bought an old hotel, turning it into his personal home and also his winery," says Keel. The bottle also sports an artistic twentieth anniversary label, as Graetz also loves to paint.

A wine this full-bodied pairs best with a big, simply cooked steak. Pass the butter, extra rich. 

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