Cafe Reviewed: Wednesday, August 6, 2003
Into the Glass
Chardonnay tasting flight $13
Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz taste $5/taste
Pine Ridge Stags Leap district
Cabernet $11/taste
Antipasto $9
Charcuterie $10
Roasted garlic with goat cheese
medallions $8
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Take a Swirl

Fall Into the Glass and fall in love with wine.

By NANCY SCHAADT

Into the Glass

230 State St, Southlake. 817-442-1969. Wed-Sat 4pm-10pm (or later), Sun 1-6pm. Credit Cards: AE, D, MC, V.

person could get seriously pickled at Into the Glass in Southlake, especially if said person loved wine and really wanted to explore Australian chardonnay, dessert wines, or three years of Spring Mountain cabernet. The place is a candy store for oenophiles. But it’s also friendly to casual wine drinkers who just want a nice glass of wine and a snack before heading off someplace else for dinner.

Using fancy Riedel stemware, even the thicker-stemmed restaurant line, an-nounces to the world that Into the Glass takes wine very, very seriously. But not in a snotty, we-know-more-than-you-do way. Yes, the wines are top shelf, but the arrogance ends with the flavor of Pine Ridge Stags Leap district 1999 cabernet. Enjoying wine is very democratic. “Our motto is we drink wine every day, and we think you should too,” said Into the Glass manager Wayne Turner.

Most of the wines are from boutique vineyards that keep the number of bottles released per year to a minimum. This means you’ll always find unusual vintages but may not be able to buy any when the store and bar stock runs out.

The bar offers flights of three two-ounce tastes of wine, grouped by similarities. For a wine admirer, tasting a flight is a terrific opportunity to educate the palate, especially if you bring a wine-loving companion (as I did on my recent visit to Into the Glass).

One stinking hot evening, I took a little flight. The Vega Sindoa from Spain was oaky with an apple finish, the Carmel Road (from Monterey, Calif.) had a tiny kick of citrus, while the French La Soufrandiere Pouilly Vinzelles was tinny and ordinary. After a few rounds of swirling, sniffing, and sipping, we were measuring the depth and character of each wine and having a damned good time.

For our red wine flight, we selected three wines with wildly different prices and styles. I admit, we tried one red, Pine Ridge Stags Leap district 1999 cabernet, only because it was so damned expensive — $120 per bottle — and we knew we’d not have the opportunity to taste such a beauty, even if the taste ($11) cost more than a 12-pack of Shiner.

The food seems designed only to soak up the alcohol. The goat cheese rounds with roasted garlic, tomatoes, and a sliced baguette would have been better with a robust ale. Garlic deadens the taste buds so it repels serious oenophiles as well as vampires.

We tried the antipasto and charcuterie from the “wine friendly plates” menu. The two collections of meats and cheeses arrived on a single plate, so discerning one food item from the other was rather difficult. The charcuterie plate of French items had one tablespoon-sized piece of heavy, country-style pork pâté, a few half-circles of mild salami, some olives, and some undistinguished cheeses. The antipasto was meatier, with slices of hard salami, boiled ham, olives, and marinated carrots and pickles. Olive bread and toast came with the plates. It all was a nicely executed little (very little) plate of pricey nibbles. To the kitchen’s credit, neither the olives nor the marinated carrots and pickles tasted canned.

Although the staff will, upon request, fill out a card with the name of the wine you tasted, I’d prefer a hand-out with space for notes. I’d also like to see baskets of water crackers at each table and a glass for spitting out wine that you don’t want to swallow.

The bar looks more like a boutique than a bar, with fancy napkins and comfortable banquettes all around. The walls are the color of eggplant and hung with original art. One of the artists, Tami Rose, has priced her electric-bright decorative (and funky) portraits, scenes, and still lifes quite reasonably, with small canvases selling for $80.

Owners Tom and Becky Flookes liked the “try before you buy” atmosphere of Napa Valley, so they opened tasting a wine shop and tasting room called Off the Vine in Grapevine. Realizing that the new and improved town center of Southlake would probably attract a wine store, they opened Into the Glass last year.


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