Graft Wine Shop

Reviews, Wine Features

Graft Wine Shop: https://www.graftchs.com/ 

700B King Street, Charleston SC 29403 (843) 718-3359

 

Once upon a time, I was terrified to start getting into wine.

Don’t get me wrong, I thought wine was so fascinating. The science and history alone was enough to get me hooked. The one thing though, that made me apprehensive about wine was wine people. I’m not talking about the woo-woo girls who drink $5 dollar bottles of sweet Riesling or the wine moms who down Pinot Grigio out of their monogrammed Tervis cups. I’m talking about the super serious, know-it-all, too-good-for-everything, I-only-drink-X wine people. They scared the sh*t out of me. I think there’s this idea that a lot of people have in their head that good quality, thoughtfully made, interesting and delicious wine is 1. too expensive and 2. reserved for more sophisticated folks. I know I did. In my head, serious wine drinkers were super rich, refined and classy with a stick the size of a pool cue stuck straight up their ass. Wine People would judge you for drinking anything less than the finest French burgundy and would rip your soul apart if you dared ask what the difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio was.

Refined and classy are the last words I would use to describe myself and I will fully admit I was also a complete and total moron when it came to wine. So, the idea of getting involved with a community that I saw as humorless and stuck-up snits was a bit daunting.

In reality, It took less than a month of being around people who really know and love wine to realize the majority of serious wine drinkers are just normal human beings who nerd out on good wine. They’ll talk your ear off for hours about the terroir of Loire Valley wines but immediately switch over to debating which cheap domestic beer is the best for shotgunning. I know this because I’ve had that exact conversation.  That being said, actually going into a shop to buy a bottle of wine can be a somewhat stressful experience.  There is a lot of aspects to take into consideration when choosing wine: varietals, price range, regions, subregions, viticulture, pairing, and scores; it’s all a bit overwhelming. 

Enter Graft.

Graft is what a wine shop should be. It’s in a central and hip location, right off of upper King Street near Pancito and Lefty and Leon’s Oyster Shop. It’s well-stocked with a variety of delicious and thoughtful wines at an affordable price range. Most importantly though, it’s unpretentious and inviting. A cooler to the left of the door is well-stocked with grower champagne, crisp rose, and vibrant whites and wall-length displays are filled with a variety of unique and fun wines. Usher, Biggie, Etta James and multiple other LP’s and books act as decor while a playlist of 90’s rap, soul, and today’s top hits play softly over the speakers. Three small tables and an L-shaped bar invite you to sit down, sip, and stay for a while.  The best part about Graft though is the actual people that work there.  Owners Femi Oyediran and Miles White are, by all means, people who know their sh*t when it comes to wine. Both certified sommeliers, Femi being an advanced level III, they’ve literally got the credentials to be know-it-all wine people and yet they’re the most down to earth and relaxed people I’ve ever talked about Garnacha with. Graft was opened with the intention of being a wine shop for wine drinkers, it’s a safe space to enjoy a glass whether you know the difference between A.O.C and A.O.P or just want a good glass of white, everyone can find a little something at Graft.

P.S.

Keep an eye out for their pop-up schedules too. They rotate through some new and up-and-coming restaurants and chefs here in Charleston. Sit, sip, and have a great meal.

 

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Pink Drink: Rosé Wine Weekly Pick- May 8

Uncategorized, Weekly Wine Pick, Wine Recommendations

This winter dragged on like a bad relationship. Charleston weather really seemed to double down on the commitment issues it’s always had, except instead of hot and cold, it became a total ice queen.  Snowpocalypse, multiple bouts of freezing rain, 38 as the high temperature pretty much all February, and 40 (!) something degree highs in April: Charleston was seriously cold-hearted, pretty literally.

These last two weeks it seems like Charleston has finally tired of the whole Ice Queen/Cold-Hearted B*tch act.  Warm days, clear blue skies, breezy nights, birds chirping, colorful flowers blooming in window boxes: all the wonderful signs that our Holy City has thawed out and is ready to get down with the sunshine. Finally and officially it’s the peak of Pink Drink season. You know what I’m talking about. Rosé.

While rosé has transitioned from being a summertime sipper to a year-round glass pour, there is something especially delicious and refreshing about rosé wine in the spring. A good glass of rosé on a cool spring night paired with a cotton-candy hued sunset and the heady scent of jasmine flowers is just about as close to magic as you can get.

Personally, I like my rosé on the drier side so the pick for this week is a Provence rosé that is a bit peppery and wonderfully crisp. Rosé de Printemps literally translates from French to “Spring Rose”, a name that seems to perfectly describe just how energetic and fresh this wine is.  I picked my bottle up at Whole Foods for a little over $16. At under $20, this rosé is a steal, most decent Provence rosés will definitely run a bit pricier.

Rosé de Printemps- Cotes de Provence- 2017

Country: France – Region: Provence- Cotes de Provence – Alc. by Vol: 13%

Varietals: 35% Grenache, 25% Carignan, 20% Cinsault, 15% Syrah, 5% Rolle
Imported by Grassroots Wine, Birmingham AL

Printemps

Nose: The best way to describe the initial nose is a jolly rancher; a mix of strawberry and grapefruit, both juicy and refreshing. Dig a little deeper and you’ll get hints of white blossom, vanilla, and just a tiny bit of grass. Much like springtime, it’s fragrant, inviting, and absolutely intoxicating.

Taste: On the first sip, you’ll get some of the tart strawberries initially found in the nose. followed by apricot, and just the most subtle hint of something tropical . Keep drinking and you’ll find citrus, pithy and slightly sour in the best way.  Printemps finishes smoothly and subtlety with a minerality that isn’t overwhelming but just enough to keep your mouth watering.

Pairings: Shellfish, oysters, clams, mussels, and grilled or fried fish. Grilled or smoked meats, the fattier the better. Fresh cheeses like burrata, mozzarella, or goat cheese.  Dessert-wise, fruit-based desserts of any sort, fresh slightly tart fruits like strawberries or blackberries, or soft cheeses, like camembert or brie. Printemps minerality matches and amplifies the brine in seafood and can help cut through and balance out fish that are oily or more intense in flavor.  The acidity of this wine brings harmony to the most decadent dishes of spring and summer and it’s light enough you can have multiple glasses without feeling too weighed down. Perfect for picnics, cookouts, BBQ’s, beach days, and porch-drinking.

 

 

 

 

Get Fizzy with It: Why You Should be Drinking Lambrusco this Summer.

Wine Features, Wine Recommendations

Poor Lambrusco has gotten the short end of the stick.  This red wine from Italy has so much potential to be a crowd pleaser.  It’s delicious, easy to drink, a bit fizzy and generally pairs well with a variety of foods, but it’s stuck with a reputation that seems to scare even the biggest wine novice off. Its underserved notoriety is based on the garbage that people remember as Lambrusco: the frothy and saccharine red wine from the 70’s and 80’s, a relic of the past like polyester disco pants, best left to history.  I, however, know a different Lambrusco, one that’s bold and lively or light and flavorful and can rival the best rosé on a summer day and I’m damned determined to make sure that other people know it too.

You see, I want Lambrusco to happen so bad. I want Lambrusco to happen almost as much as Gretchen Weiners wanted “Fetch” to happen. Except that getting people to like Lambrusco has been as easy as getting people to start using “Fetch”, which is to say, pretty difficult. Much like Gretchen Weiners, I’ve had my fair share of Regina George’s telling me “Stop trying to make Lambrusco happen, it’s not going to happen!”  The mere mention of Lambrusco triggers an almost horrified response of judgy noses scrunched up into the air along with grumblings about how lowbrow of a wine it is. After some serious prodding and insistence that “No, it’s actually not wine soda, I promise”, they’ll grudgingly agree to taste it and that is immediately followed by “Are you sure this is Lambrusco? It’s delicious!”

 My response to these newly converted naysayers is a smug  “SEE. I told you so.”

 Lambrusco is delicious, and flavorful, and bubbly and most importantly a far cry from the cloying wine soda from years past. It’s an interesting, fun, and an easy to drink wine with a slight sparkle and vibrant flavor and dammit, it deserves a chance.

What You Need to Know About Lambrusco

Lambrusco is both a variety of grape and a red wine that hails from the Emilia-Romagna Region in northeast Italy. (If Emilia-Romagna sounds familiar it’s because it’s the region that’s home to other delicious gastronomic treasures such as Balsamic Vinegar, Prosciutto di Parma, and the “King of Cheeses” Parmigiano Reggiano.) Lambrusco grapes are one of the oldest varieties of grapes, dating back to nearly 800 B.C. and were known for being a farmer’s dream due to their high yields and durability. Ancient rulers were most likely popping amphoras filled with Lambrusco grape wine.

Lambrusco wine nowadays is typically made in a frizzante style or semi-sparkling, so while it doesn’t have the bubble power to rival Champagne, it’s still got the effervescent mouthfeel that makes it great for summertime sipping.  It comes in three styles ranging from dry to sweet but I find the best and most interesting ones are made in a secco (dry) and semisecco (barely sweet) style. For those with the sweet tooth, dolce (sweet) is available also. There are about 10 varieties of grapes but ones to keep in mind while shopping is Lambrusco Sobara, Lambrusco Salamino, and Lambrusco Grasparossa.

If you’re ready to open your heart to Lambrusco, below are my recommendations. Serve them chilled and I dare say you’ve got a wine that’s pretty fetch.

Tenuta Perderzana “Gibe”- Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro doc- 2016

 This lively and springy Lambrusco is perfect for those looking for a delicious and affordable introduction into Lambrusco. It’s a plum-hued wine that’s fresh and fruity; think wild strawberries, cherries, and raspberries. Moderate tannins and 12% ABV keeps this wine from being too gentle, giving it a bit of welcome zip that will keep you coming back for more.  Serve chilled alongside your favorite pasta or fish dish and I guarantee you’ll be hooked.

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Cleto Chiarli Vecchi Modena Lambrusco di Sobara Secco- No Vintage 

Don’t let the mushroom-shaped cap or slightly complicated name scare you away from this gem. This dry Lambrusco is interesting and lively with a lovely effervescent mouthfeel. Pale Red in color, it could almost be mistaken for a dark rosé in your glass. Crisp and slightly acidic, this Lambrusco has a wonderful berry nose with pops of plum and cherry. At 11% ABV, this makes the perfect porch sipper. Serve chilled and pair with just about anything. It’s that good.

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Bertolani- Rosso All’Antica Reggiano Lambrusco- 2016

This ruby-red Lambrusco is a classic. Dry, complex, and slightly earthy, this Lambrusco is full-bodied with lots of dark plummy fruits and a wonderful fizz to balance it out. At 11% ABV, this plush wine is the perfect accompaniment for all your summer BBQ’s.  Serve slightly chilled with grilled meats, pork, or any classic Italian dishes. This vivacious wine can handle the bolder flavors.

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Bertolani Dolce Fiore Lambrusco Emilia- 2017

This is truly a wine for those who love things sweet. Jammy and seriously fruity, this Lambrusco is soft and simple. Frizzy Bubbles and some slight acidity keep this wine from being over-the-top and bring it down to the perfect balance. At 7% ABV, feel free to have a bit of a larger glass, or two or three. Serve chilled by itself for an ultimate treat of a dessert wine. If you’re feeling really decadent, pair with some funky cheese and a bit of fruit.

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