We finally culminated Ms. Yoga’s birthday at the Establishment in Charleston. Originally, another friend of Ms. Yoga was going to fly down for the weekend, but at the last minute that fell through. Then Ms. Yoga invited another couple that we have never met, and it was different. Ms. Yoga had suggested a chain restaurant and I thought we could find something more interesting. I used my trusty Wine Spectator annual restaurant guide and found someplace very appealing, Ms. Yoga acquiesced, but the other couple that currently lived in Charleston were for the chain venue, until Ms. Yoga started asking around and got rave reviews, and when the concierge at her hotel gave it high marks, as well as the bar service at the two other bars did the same, it was all good.
The Establishment list themselves as “Charleston’s Seafood Restaurant” and a lofty title that is. It is located in the historic James Gregorie House in downtown Charleston and they have two dining areas, two private dining rooms, an open kitchen with a chef’s counter, a curated wine carte and a full cocktail bar. My Bride and I decided to share an appetizer and an entrée, which is becoming our norm. We started off with Chicken Liver Mousse and Duck Rillette, Cornichon and Blackberry Mustard. Then we had Golden Tilefish, White Beans and Lacinato Kale, as this was a new fish for both of us. I figured that since everyone at the table was getting fish or sea food, I would start with Senda Verde Godello Bierzo DO 2020. Senda Verde is a collection of artisanal wines that follow the 43ºN parallel along the northern coastline of Spain, the collection belongs to MGH Wines of Spain. Bierzo was once inhabited by the Romans who mined tons of gold from the region. The soil is predominately slate and granite, which makes for a mineral character and a very refreshing wine. Bierzo was accorded DO status in 1989, which greatly improved the region for popularity and profile. The varietal Godello was considered for years as Verdelho, or the Portuguese Verdello, but DNA profiling shows that it is a separate entity of its own. The harvest is done by hand, cooled, then inspected, destemmed and pressed, the gross lees removed and then fermented. The juice is then aged on fine lees for four months presumably in Stainless Steel, clarified, filtered, and bottled. The wine was a straw-yellow color and offered notes of stone fruits, florals, spices, and minerals. On the palate tones of stone fruit, zests of lemon and lime, balanced with a nice medium finish of terroir. Ideal for the fish.
I was asked for my opinion of another wine, and was told by the other couple that only big reds are with fish, so I tried to find a red that I thought would compliment fish. I selected Domaine Julien Cecillon Syrah “Les Gravier” IGP Collines Rhodaniennes 2021. The estate was founded in 2011 by the American Nancy Kerschen and a Rhone native Julien Cecillon with a vineyard in Saint Joseph. The Syrah is a blend of fruit harvested from Northern Rhone, Ardeche, and Provencal. The vineyards are a mix of clay and granite. Collines Rhodandiennes is the IGP for all three colors of wine for the northern Rhone Valley. The soil is a mix of sandstone, limestone, and granite. A nice garnet red wine with notes of red fruit, pepper and a trace of violets. On the palate this wine was red fruit, spices, and soft tannins with a nice finish of terroir, this wine was made to be enjoyed young. My Bride and I enjoyed this wine with our appetizer.
Ms. Yoga decided that she wanted to order a bottle of wine as well, and she selected Finca Sophenia “Synthesis” Malbec Tupungato, Argentina 2019. Finca Sophenia started selling their wines form Tupungato, Mendoza in 2004. Tupungato is the northernmost subregion of the Uco Valley of Mendoza. It sits at the foot of a volcano by the same name on a high elevation as part of the Andes and has alluvial soil. It is considered one of the most important subregions of the area. The fruit is hand harvested and starts with cold maceration for about five day, and Initial Fermentation is done with local yeasts and Malolactic Fermentation follows for a total period of about a month. Then the wine is aged for almost a year in mostly French Oak with a small proportion of American Oak. A nice ruby red wine with notes of red fruits, florals, and spices. On the palate rich red fruit with some cocoa and vanilla, velvety tannins and a nice medium finish of fruit and terroir. My Bride and I enjoyed this wine after we finished our meal.