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One Block,
Two Extraordinary Wine Lists

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Photo by Jennifer Hitchcock

It’s the day to toast your special honey-baby-sweetie-pie with a glass of vino, so that got us to thinking about wine lists. We’ve seen a lot of them, and a lot of them are solid (go Southern sommeliers!), but when thinking about ones that stand out, actually two came to mind – located in the same block of King Street in Charleston, in fact.

The Ordinary and Indaco both have extraordinary wine lists because their food pairings were the first consideration, not what simply might be popular varietals.

“We don’t have a pinot grigio by the glass,” says Vonda Freeman, wine director for The Indigo Road, the restaurant group who owns Indaco.

That’s bold for an Italian restaurant, and Freeman admits that when she was building the all-Italian wine list, she heard from her industry friends that it wouldn’t work. However, she boldly went where few Italian restaurants have gone before and stuck to her conviction. She trained the staff on wines that might be similar and relished the restaurant’s role of introducing new wines to its guests.

“Italian wines are food friendly wines, so that is what we’re showcasing – that pairing.”

Photo by Jennifer Hitchcock
Photo by Jennifer Hitchcock

You’ll find a Grillo from Sicily with excellent minerality, and a Vernaccia, Sangiovese and Merlot from Tuscany, all of which are popular with guests.

The Ordinary, a seafood and oyster hall, also has a commitment to a wine list that accompanies its deliciously fresh menu.

“I have always loved the white wines of the Loire Valley – it is what I prefer to drink, so this menu was a great opportunity to focus on that region as its core,” says Adam Nemirow, one of the owners of The Ordinary. The list includes light reds from Burgundy and the United States, interesting rosés, and coastal whites from Spain, Greece, Italy and Lebanon as well.

“These are wines that made sense with the bright, fresh, briny food we are serving,” he explains.

So remember, whether or not you have a honey-baby-sweetie-pie to toast to this day, wine is as much of an adventure as romance, especially if you toast to the experience.