Wednesday, March 24, 2010

'Does The Glass Make The Wine'? & Food Review

Due to weather, and time constraints Partners In Wine Club has only now gotten to our 'Does The Glass Make The Wine' review. I am briefly going to discuss what and how, but a larger piece will be up over at our official Wine, Beer, Spirits and Food E-Zine site. A concept that is taking hold in the hybrid journal/magazine-blog world, and an exciting way to get the buzz about what is going on in the food industry and restaurant reviews.

First though let me get a restaurant review out of the way- We chose to host our glass testing soiree at a not so new, but 'new' restaurant in Lawrenceville, New Jersey- Dennis Foy's Lawrenceville Inn. This once 'on the map-destination eatery' has changed ownership four times in the past two years, but now is now under ownership of Dennis Foy. The outside still supports the old signage. Mr. Foy had made a name for him self as a restaurateur back in the 80's, and you can read more via the internet.

Partners In Wine Club decided we would make this the 'Glass' testing/tasting destination, and hopefully enjoy a nice dinner, with for warning to them of course. After arriving and carting in endless boxes of stemware we opened a nice bottle of Newton 'Lightly Oaked' Chardonnay, order, and then begin the comparisons. Hubby and I ordered soups- Mushroom and Butternut squash- our guest ordered salads. Food came, were lacking, and not so great- hubby still talking about it burning his tongue.

The overall feeling as you enter the restaurant is quaint Inn, with outdated Ikea style tables and chairs (I read this on Chowhound after the fact) from his other restaurant, and the place seems more like an art gallery- the owner is a painter.

Then the main course came down to two orders of Duck, and two New York Strips specials with roasted root vegetables and scalloped potatoes for the table to share. Our entrees eventually came out- not even luke warm. Suddenly the pit of my stomach was queasy- did we just find ourselves in a children story- Goldy Locks and the Three Bears (Adrienne being the only Goldy at the table). Because the wine- Was just right!

Sure it all looked good on the surface, but inside- One bite of the steak that was suppose to be Med-rare, was RARE/cold, and the other steak suppose to be Medium, was Med-Rare/cold, and honestly was more on the rare side. Overwhelmed with balsamic vinegar (en-crusted), and so sad, because it was one of the most tender NY Strip steaks I had ever had, but where was the meat flavor. Keep it simple- EVO, and a little salt and pepper before grilling. The duck was too salty due to an overwhelming soy marinade, and we were told it was a Peking Duck style, but cold. Even the side dishes were cold. Okay you get the message. Not happy, and we all agree we would never return. This is a warning for Princetonians only- negative sorry...

Now our conclusion on the glasses were great! The Ravenscroft Chardonnay and Bordeaux glasses we received to try out, were fantastic. We put them up against Riedel Vinum,  Riedel Vinum Extreme, and stemless restaurant red and white glasses. Sure not apples to apples, but we wanted to see if they were worthy to recommended for a medium range crystal stemware on our website, and to our friends.

Here are our notes, and also let me add that the Newton 08 'Lightly Oaked' Chardonnay that we first had at Spice Market in NYC only five or six months ago, was just as splendid as our first taste! A keeper! A great bargain, and most retail wine stores will order it for you at $22 a bottle!!! We also tasted a Barollo and a Pinot Noir that I had just purchased for $23 a bottle, again superb!

Hubby and I KNEW when we opened the Ravenscroft stemware boxes they were keepers. Light weight, slim and trim crystal that did not tip over easily when filled or otherwise. The Tinsele strength seemed to be in good order.

Stemware Comparison:
  • Ravenscroft Chardonnay- Great bouquet, room to swirl, light crystal, beautiful stemware
  • Ravenscroft Bordeaux- Good bouquet, room to swirl, light crystal, beautiful stemware
The entire testing crew agreed- up against the Riedel, they were great- although the Riedel Vinum Extreme out weighed the Ravenscroft Bordeaux on all accounts, but apples to apples it was not a contest.

For a beginner set of wine glasses, or if you do not want to spend the money for more expensive stemware available on the market, we give them a thumbs up! Even compared to the restaurant quality stemware we own for catering and stemless glasses we own, and the ones sitting on table at Dennis Foy's. The restaurant stemless were bulky and made the Chardonnay taste like water- no bouquet, mouth feel, or finish was comparable- like water? Yes, it was unbelievable...water!

You may purchase these glasses soon through our Partners In Wine Club on-line market, but if you would like to purchase a set now for a gift, email:, and I will set you up!

The moral of this story is go with your gut feeling when it comes down to choices!

Disclaimer: The Ravenscroft glasses were given to us as a free promotional gift to try from- CSN Promotions