Charleston has a plethora of ways to enjoy great wine, from fine dining to wine-and-cheese bars all the way to self-serve wine bars. Most people assume they need to travel to France or Napa Valley to get a good wine education, but the reality is all they need to do is travel to the closest self-serve wine bar. You’ll find easy access to great wine and have the ability to not only sample wines from all over the world but learn about it at the same time.
Bin 526 is located on Daniel Island. It is the perfect atmosphere for a post-work wine tasting or happy hour on their outdoor patio. It is home to 48 different types of wine from all over the world. All you need to do in order to sample at this self-serve wine bar is hand your credit card over to the people at the counter when you walk in, take the card they give you and swipe it at the wine dispensers. You can choose small, medium or large pours. Bin 526 also offers private wine classes, making it the ultimate way to get started on your wine education. The best way to enjoy yourself at Bin 526 is not only by sampling various wines but also enjoying their select wine-and-food pairing — Champagne and a lobster roll! Bin 526 gets their lobster fresh from Maine, and Champagne couldn’t make for a more perfect pairing.
Uncork Charleston is located on Upper King Street. This self-serve wine bar has a small but great selection of old- and new-world wines. Here, you are also given a card to swipe at each dispenser and can choose small, medium or large pours. Uncork aims to educate their patrons not only about great wine but also how to pair great wine with the right cheese and meat through their fabulous charcuterie offerings. The cheese is kept seasonal and is meant to remind you of something familiar. Uncork provides a creative, customized tasting experience by choosing wines with tasting notes that complement your charcuterie. The best pairing would be the Barbaresco sauvignon blanc with the Morbier cheese and prosciutto. The creamy and tangy taste of the cheese pairs perfectly with the tropical and slight citrus flavor of the sauvignon blanc.
ARDOA WINE BAR
Ardoa is a self-serve wine bar in Mount Pleasant, owned by husband-and-wife duo Abby and Clément Batut. Clément is from Paris, and Abby grew up in the U.S. Together, they combined their love of good wine and cheese and opened Ardoa five years ago. Ardoa has the same process of swiping a card at the wine dispensers and choosing pour size. They also have a unique selection of cheese, meat and even chocolates to choose from. The wine bar is small and has more of a sultry vibe. It would be the perfect place for a date night or for pre-dinner wine and cheese. The best cheese-and-wine pairing at Ardoa is their California chardonnay paired with the black truffle cheddar cheese. The chardonnay has a great, oaky bitterness that complements the spicy flavor of the black truffle cheddar cheese. As for meats, the best pairings are their Southern Belle red wine, which is aged in bourbon barrels with the lomo cured pork tenderloin, the bresaola cured beef or the wine and peppercorn-infused Felino. The lomo is smoky and tangy in flavor, the bresaola is just slightly smoky in flavor, and the Felino is a bit more toned down in smoky flavor but contains a hint of sweet flavor from the wine. The Southern Belle is earthy and slightly sweet, complementing the smoky flavors of the meat quite well.
If you’re looking for a great way to sample a variety of different wines from all over the world, be sure to head to your nearest self-serve wine bar. There’s truly no better way to please your palate. Each wine bar is unique in its own way, but all aim to educate their patrons while creating a fun experience.
By Laura Donnellon
Charleston Foodies on a Budget is a local food blog run by two best friends, Ashley Hargrove and Laura Donnellon. We focus on the best ways to eat your way through the Lowcountry while staying within your budget. We started our blog almost two years ago and since have been nominated for “Best Local Interest Blog” twice in the Best of Charleston Awards. We thoroughly enjoy being able to share the beauty of the Charleston culinary scene with the Charleston community. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.