Friday, July 20, 2012

Accent On Wine In Summerville-Serving Great Wine And Gourmet Items With Light Conversation

It was a typical TGIF night in Summerville. The sun had settled below the tree line. The last of its amber rays were filtering through the motionless trees. There was no breeze to play on the leaves or to evaporate the humidity that clung to my skin. I circled the square to evaluate the parking situation.

The Montreux was jam packed with local patrons on the prowl armed with an arsenal of one-liners looking to down some domestic suds with a side order of "are you from Tennessee". The bartenders masterfully juggled the drink requests while Zero To Never played loudly. If you were looking to have a quiet conversation, your were in the wrong place. The back patio was more conducive to chit-chat, if you didn't mind the smoke.

I was more specifically in town to case out one of Summerville's more popular, cozy establishments where conversation is as light as a Nederburg Lyric. I had to settle for a parking space with a bit of a walk and made the trek toward the W. Richardson end of the store strip right on the town square. The pavement was still warm from the days heat. My sandals were still slightly damp from an earlier swim.

When I entered through the store's door there was no mistaking the main attraction that draws the residents and visitors of Summerville to this quaint shop. Accent is on wine. The interior space was unobstructed, and even though the space was not large, the illusion of being larger than it actually was prevailed upon my senses. The walls on both sides were lined with shelves of bottled wine from all over the world. Seating was to the left and right by the front windows. A large bar was straight ahead from the entrance with wooden stools around its perimeter. The bar area was the obvious center of attention.
Shelves of wines
Some of the seating area
I took a seat at the bar. I was immediately greeted by the bartender. I am not a wine freak. I know wine basically as red and white, sweet and not so sweet. Beyond that, wine names are as illusive to me as the ghosts of Charleston. When I do drink wine, I usually choose red simply because I had read that red wine is better for you. Something to do with antioxidants. So, I was in serious need of assistance on what wine to select. A close friend sitting next to me already knew what she wanted and suggested I try her choice. The bartender quickly produced a glass and offered me a sample, which I appreciated. It was a Pinot Grigio produced by Cornaro from the region of Veneto, Italy. This selection was entered on the bill and attached to a small wind up toy with an identical one set on the bar in front of us. This was their unique way of keeping track of each customer's order.

While sitting at the bar, the conversations came as easy as swinging on the wooden swings in Waterfront Park on a Sunday morning. Within the few brief moments of introductions, I learned the couple to my left were regular visitors. They offered their experience and shared their life stories. Before my brief visit to Accent on Wine came to an end, I knew them intimately. It brought to mind a French proverb, "In water one sees one's own face, but in wine one beholds the heart of another." Sip on wine and suddenly you are a philosopher, eat chocolate and you are suddenly a lover. I apologetically hesitate calling the servers bartenders because they are much more. The two on duty that night fielded questions and orders proficiently. They are wine advisors. After leaving, I decided to return another day to get a more detailed summary of the story and the staff that make Accent on Wine a success.

Two days later I returned. I introduced myself to the wine advisor on duty, Joshua Walker, who was accompanied by Vinny Wedderspoon. He informed me the owner, Stephane Peltier, was not present. He was in France, which also is his place of birth. So, I didn't get to meet him in person. Joshua shared with me some background information on Stephane. First, he emphasized that Stephane is a humble man who doesn't like to elaborate about himself or his accomplishments, but wants all attention focused on the store and what it brings to historic Summerville. He was a sommelier for fourteen years at the prestigious Woodlands Inn with a resume that includes serving the Queen of England.
Vinny Wedderspoon and Joshua Walker
There were only two other patrons in the store besides myself. So, Joshua was able to take some time to enlighten me on what they offered. The store has a selection of wines you can purchase by the bottle, which includes 40 wines under $10 and 150 over $10. At the bar, 30 different wines are available for you to sample provided for the sole purpose of teasing your wine buds in the right direction. Aside from the wines, 50 specialty beers from around the world are offered. If you want something without the kick, there is a large selection of non-alcoholic beverages as well.

A great wine store for sure, but Accent on Wine is also a gourmet shop. It offers numerous cheese platters accompanied with bread and apple at $5 a serving. Charcuterie, seafood, pate', mousse, and terrine platters are offered at $5 a serving. But the highlight of my visit was being treated to Accent on Wine's offering called Lunch Bites. It is a three inch nosh served with apple slices, raisins, and nuts on a wooden platter. You can purchase one for $1.90, but bet you can't eat just one. I was served "The Vinny". C'est magnifique. There is a long list of "Lunch Bites" choose from. Menu selection.
The Vinny
Chocolat de Fumee
Accent on Wine is open 11am to 9 pm Monday to Wednesday, 10 pm Thursday to Saturday, closed Sunday. Tuesday is wine tasting day. July 24th is "Great Discovery Wines" event from 5pm to 7pm for $10 a person. Wednesday is "Teacher Appreciation Day" all day. Thursday is "Bellini Special Night" at only $3 a glass. July 31st is "Food and Wine Tasting with Paul from Sellsfish Premium Seafood" starting at 5 pm and ending 7 pm for $10. Location is 132 S. Main Street. Phone: 843-832-1212. Calendar of events.

The ladies should like this famous wine quote. "Men are like a fine wine. They all start out like grapes, and it's our job to stomp on them and keep them in the dark until they mature into something you'd like to have dinner with."

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