Last Call: Wednesday, October 29, 2008
WineStyles of Camp Bowie
6323 Camp Bowie Blvd, Ste 141, FW. 817-737-VINO.

LightCatcher Winery
6925 Confederate Park Rd, FW. 817-237-2626.

2525 Rodeo Plaza in the Stockyards, FW. 817-740-1533.
No Wine-ing

I’m just not good with wine. I know what I like when I taste it. Conversely, I know what I want to spit out (and not in the tasting way). When confronted with buying wine, I’m usually the one standing there for minutes on end, mouth agape, inevitably deciding to pick some swill because the bottle’s pretty.
Enter Josh Ray, owner of WineStyles of Camp Bowie. The franchise, like all the other WineStyles locations in Tarrant County, looks like some kind of high-class European cellar, but it’s a good place to start if you’re vino-impaired. Ray hosts tastings and happy hours, with the goal of helping the ignorant pick a label. In case you feel like a walking mark because of the lost look on your face, know that most selections are under $25, making them, ahem, easy to swallow. While you might find wine cheaper at a big-box retailer, you won’t get the bonus there of having what you’re tasting broken down for you by a cute guy who knows grapes.
After assessing what I said I liked, Ray popped open a bottle of Argentian New Age White: sweet but not too sweet, plus the label said it had “flavors of mango and melon.” Didn’t taste any mango, but the bottle sure was pretty. And it was a steal at $12.99.
Ray also poured a heavy red cabernet sauvignon called, oddly enough, Educated Guess. It’s described as “rich, ripe, juicy blackberry … with a creamy, smooth vanilla middle” and a “lingering” finish. I got no cream and no vanilla, just heaviness and wood. My friend said the “finish” was “like licking an oak tree.” At $24.99, it’s still a deal if you like your cab bold, manly, and outdoors-y.
Armed with my scanty new knowledge, I headed to the LightCatcher Winery, where they grow their own. The small vineyard is on the corner of “Where the hell are we?” and “I think we’re lost,” just outside Lake Worth.
You might think that only yuppies drink wine at wineries. But the large table full of Harley-riding, chain-smoking regulars was an argument to the contrary. So is Caris Turpen, winemaker, proprietor of LightCatcher, and larger-than-life character. After spending more than two decades in LaLa Land as a director of photography and an Emmy-winning visual-effects supervisor, Turpen came here a couple of years ago and turned her winemaking hobby into a second career.
LightCatcher offers tastings Wednesday through Sunday. Belly up to the bar, and for $5 you can sample three ounce-sized pours of more than a dozen wines, all made from combinations of LightCatcher’s own grapes, sometimes with other, mostly Texas-grown grapes.
The 2007 Texas Kiss merlot rosé ($14 per bottle) is crisp, not too sweet, and, yes, it comes in a pretty bottle. And although I know I don’t like dark red wine, the 2003 LightCatcher merlot ($36) caught my eye. Maybe it was the deDELETEion: chocolate, black cherry, cinnamon, and clove. Whatever the case, it was, unlike the cabernet, sweet, slightly earthy, and … wait, I think I caught clove! The LightCatcher folks told me their merlot is the first Texas wine in seven years to appear on Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House’s super-exclusive wine list. Impressive.
As I stood there, glass of vino in hand, “volatizing my esters” (that’s fancy wine-talk for doing that swirly thing, rotating the glass at the base and all), I got lost in thought, contemplating why the phenol from grape skins leads to wines with high tannin contents and why my preference for whites is predicated on my instinctual dislike of bitter flavors.
See, an hour with Josh the wine guy could make almost any fool sound pretty smarty-pants about the stuff.
– Laurie Barker James

On Friday, the newest addition to non-countrified Stockyards nightlife will belatedly celebrate its grand opening. Fubar (“Fun Unique Bar And Restaurant,” not what you think) opened in August and is operating only on weekends. Located in that large, enviable corner spot that briefly housed the Rockyard concert venue in Rodeo Plaza, Fubar also has a full, pretty haute-cuisine menu and will be hosting live music soon. As previous Stockyards dance clubs have been run out on a rail by the powers-that-be, Fubar might prove to be the one risky venture that will help diversify the famous tourist spot. Finally. – Anthony Mariani

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