Thursday, August 18 is officially National Pinot Noir Day, and there’s no shortage of places to grab a glass or bottle in Charleston. Instead of spending time at a grocery store trying to figure out which bottle of pinot to celebrate the day with, take a stroll in town and spend the day with sommeliers and wine lovers alike.
Pro-tip from owner of The Tippling House Matthew Conway before going out to get a glass of pinot noir: “It’s really hard to make inexpensive pinot noir taste good. It’s such a finicky grape. And there’s so many things that can go wrong and it’s so hard to hide anything that does go wrong, unlike some other grape varietals like zinfandel, syrah or shiraz.”
If you’re craving a nice, light-bodied glass of pinot noir to celebrate the holiday, check out these wine bars around town.
Accent on Wine Park Circle
1056 E Montague Ave (Park Circle)
Open Mon.-Wed. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Thurs. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
Accent offers wine either by the bottle or by the glass. As of Aug. 2, the pinot noirs offered are from California’s 10 Span Vineyards and Oregon’s Bench Lands. For bottles, choose from four different pinot noirs from California, two from France and one from New Zealand. Pair a glass with charcuterie and desserts for a relaxing post-dinner meal and drink.
Avondale Wine & Cheese
813 Savannah Hwy (West Ashley)
Open Mon.-Wed. 3-9 p.m., Thurs.-Sat. 12-9 p.m.
Voted Best Wine Bar by City Paper readers this year, Avondale Wine & Cheese currently offers two different pinot noirs, which can be ordered by the glass or bottle. The Elk Cove Rose provides more citrus notes and is lighter in color compared to other pinots, like its Pinot Noir Poppy from California. The Poppy has an oaky finish with raspberry and spice notes. And of course, Avondale Wine & Cheese also offers a variety of charcuterie and cheese board options.
Graft Wine Shop & Bar
700b King St. (Downtown)
Open daily 12-10 p.m.
This year, City Paper readers voted Graft Best Wine Selection and Best Local Wine Shop — and for good reason. Curated by Best Sommelier Femi Oyediran and his business partner Miles White, the two choose the wines in a specific fashion. “A really great wine selection of a store, or even a restaurant, is very well thought out in the same vein as a playlist, right?” Oyediran said of the store’s wine selection. “Everything kind of conveys perspective. It says something about your tastes. It’s your commentary on what you’ve learned, or what your reflections are on the world of wine.” Graft currently offers the 2019 Shiba Wichern from Oregon on its by-the-glass list.
106 Grove St. (Downtown)
Open Mon. 4-9 p.m., Tues.-Thurs. 12-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 12-10 p.m.
Kellie Holmes, wine consultant for HERD Provisions, offers suggestions on the HERD’s wine selection and which dishes to pair with your favorite varietal. Holmes said the notes of raspberries, blood oranges and fresh soft herbs in the 2021 Nouveau would pair well with the cilantro pesto and daikon ground into the restaurant’s pork belly dish. The EST sparkling pinot noir, she added, would go great with the “beef tartare, the wings or any rich and salty appetizer” as a nice palette cleanser.
Monarch Wine Merchants
1107 King St. Suite B (Downtown)
Open Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. 12-5 p.m.
Monarch Wine Merchants offers a limited number of pinot noir choices, all with their own distinct tastes. Don’t know which to choose? Monarch is all about education, and owner Justin Coleman and crew are dedicated to helping customers find the right bottle.
Rooted Bottle Market and Bar
3510 Park Avenue Blvd. (Mount Pleasant)
Open Tues.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Owners Kevin Regan and Peter Demarest have two pinot noirs they both recommend to celebrate Pinot Noir Day at their shop. The Hazelfern pinot noir is “more approachable domestic style with French/Burgundy influence [with] tons of structure and flavor with notes of Rainier cherry and baking spice,” Regan said. Demarest added that the Domaine Charlopin-Tissier “are wrought with elegance, [and] the aromas of red fruit are so delicately intertwined with mushroom and dried herb that the elusive notes quickly swell into a symphony.”
SAVI Cucina + Wine Bar
1324 Theater Drive (Mount Pleasant)
Open Sun.-Thurs. 4-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 4-10 p.m.
Take a seat and trust that the team at SAVI Cucina + Wine Bar will get you the right pinot noir for the day. For the third year in a row, the wine bar won a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. SAVI offers wine flights, selected by SAVI’s in-house sommeliers along with more than 150 wines by the bottle and an extensive list of more than 35 wines by the glass. So after you’ve had the celebratory glass of pinot noir for the day, there’s plenty more to try at SAVI.
The Tippling House
221 Coming St. (Downtown)
Open Tues.-Thurs. 4-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 4-10 p.m.
Owner Matthew Conway carries a few different selections at his cozy wine bar on Coming Street. Though the daily menu changes often depending on availability, Conway recommends the Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara, a bottle they’ve kept on their list since opening because “it’s really hard to find better, are domestically at that price point,” he said. Hirsch Pinot Noir is also another of Conway’s favorites. David Hirsch, the owner of the vineyard that produces the wine, is, according to Conway, “arguably or maybe even inarguably the greatest pinot noir farmer in the U.S. It’s really hard to find better or more thoughtful domestic pinot noir.”
476 King St. (Downtown)
Open Thurs.-Sat. 1 p.m.-12 a.m., Sun. and Wed. 1-9 p.m.
Uncork Charleston offers a different wine tasting experience. Using automated machines that offer three different pours per bottle — taste, half glass and full glass. The wine bar allows customers to self serve, but the staff at Uncork is there to help find the right glass. If you want to try more than one varietal, you have the option to pour tasting sizes as well.
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