Author Archives: Ronald Wilson

Fiore Mercato in South Granville

Apparently it was the Greek philosopher Plato who authored the phrase “necessity is the mother of invention.” If ever there was a time for invention in the wine world it’s now. The pandemic has closed restaurants and bars while others have pivoted with creativity to meet difficult times head on. Credit Matthew Landry (pictured) and the team at Fiore Mercato with an impressive reinvention that speaks to the winelover in me. There’s several options, dine-in, takeout, or buy all the ingredients from the market at the front of house and make in yourself. House made pasta, sauces, a focacia kit, olive oil, balsamic vinegars and WINE, glorious wine. Somm of the year Landry has a well chosen selection that pairs perfectly with the cuisine. It’s for sale at retail pricing that starts at under $20.00 a bottle. No need to stop off at your local bottle shop. The pasta and pizza menu shouldn’t be missed and discover that the wines of Italy go far beyond Pinot Grigio. The Vernaccia paired with squid ink spaghetti and prawns in garlic butter was note perfect. Given the difficult times facing the hospitality industry here’s an example of how they’re fighting back. All they need is our support. Cheers!

Fiore Mercato is on West 12th Avenue in the South Granville neighborhood.

Mt. Boucherie Pinot Noir B.C. 2018

I think i can safely say this is the best priced B.C. Pinot Noir I’ve tasted this year. However it depends on where you buy your wine. I found it for just over $20.00 but also discovered one major retailer charging more than $29.00! So just as important as the taste is the price. What drew me in was first the aroma followed by an earthy, savoury wine that really impressed me. There’s cherries on the nose and the palate, good acidity along with an intensity I didn’t expect. The perfect companion for mushroom risotto, grilled salmon or a roast turkey sandwich. Hello Thanksgiving!

Price: $20.89 plus tax
Available: Save-On-Foods wines across B.C.
Price: $24.99 plus tax
Available: Swirl Wines in Yaletown and winery direct
Price: $29.00 plus tax at Legacy Liquor in Olympic Village

Haywire Pinot Gris B.C. 2019

I’ve made no secret of my love of the wines from Okanagan Crush Pad. Haywire was my introduction but I’ve also enjoyed Narrative and Free Form that are also produced at the Summerland winery.
The Pinot Gris has always been a favourite and the 2019 vintage is hitting all the right notes for me. In the glass it’s a beautiful pale yellow which is a hint of what you’re about to enjoy. This is a wine of subtlety and restraint. Yet one that rewards you from first sip.
The aroma of stone fruit gives way to flavours of pears and peaches. There’s a tinge of lemon and a little toasted note and a medium finish which i really enjoyed. For those who seek out acidic styles of pinot gris this is a refreshing alternative. To me it’s all about the fruit and Haywire has used grapes from four different vineyards in the 2019 vintage. This should be your go-to summer white whether it’s to sip on the deck or pair with sockeye salmon off the grill.

Price: $21.99 (plus tax)
Available: Save-On wines across B.C.
Price: $24.26 (plus tax)
Available: Marquis Wine Cellars on Davie street
Price: $24.99 (plus tax)
Available: Swirl wines in Yaletown

Okanagan Crush Pad Narrative Rose B.C. 2019

About six years ago I asked a B.C. wine insider what he thought was the dominant characteristics of our wine. He summed it up with just two words. Fresh. Juicy. Those words stuck with me and often when I’m tasting a B.C. wine I can’t avoid thinking…how bang on. The Narrative Rose from Okanagan Crush Pad is the latest. A pretty salmon pink in the glass this Rose is made from Pinot Noir. That gives you a lovely fruity aroma followed by a savoury, bone dry wine with good acidity and a long finish. You can pair this with almost any of your summer favorites. Right now you can grab it from the winery in the magnum size for $30.00. That works out to about $15 bucks each for the equivalent of two 750ml bottles. Keep checking back because there will be the standard size bottle released soon and when it hits retail outlets in Vancouver I’ll update my review. P.S. I love the new label.

Price: $30.00 (plus tax) 1.5l
Available: www.okanagancrushpad.com

Spier Signature Chenin Blanc South Africa 2019

To taste Chenin Blanc is to love it. I don’t know of a better way to sing the praises of this South African gem. Spier has crafted a wine that is lush and polished and at a price that beggars belief. It’s on sale for $12.99 until July 4th! Find me a white of comparable quality for a better price and I’ll quaff the bottle on the steps of City Hall. What you’ll get from the Signature Chenin Blanc is a crisp, fruity wine loaded with flavours of apples and pears. Beautifully balanced it really delivers incredible value. Pair it with goat’s cheese salad, grab and go suishi or just chill a couple of bottles and invite friends over to gulp it down. I say again, this is a crazy good value!

Price: $12.99 (plus tax) until July 4th
Available: B.C. liquor stores

Provence Marinaside is back!

I think most of us have a few favourite restaurants that have become like a second home. Provence Marinaside is that for me. As a wine writer I sought out places that moved the wine dial because I wanted to encourage followers to taste more often. Provence is a winelover’s dream. So I’m delighted to see them reopen while closely following safety protocols. I’ve posted some other photos on my social media accounts so please check them out. The reopening menu has plenty of familiar dishes, both appies and mains. As always the wine list, although pared down, has great options as befits an award winning restaurant. (Pictured) That’s SeaStar’s superb rose paired with the delicious crusted goats cheese salad.
The expanded patio and restaurant have physically distanced tables and the servers are cleaning them carefully after each guest. So if you’re tired of your own cooking and ready to venture out here’s where you’ll find me! Provence Marinaside is at the end of Davie street in Yaletown.

SeaStar Blanc de Noir Rose 2019 B.C.

For the last four years this Rose has been one of my favorites. Introduced to it by the terrific wine team at Provence-The Wine Bar it never disappoints. The latest vintage follows that trend but for me this is a bittersweet review. An explanation will follow but first the wine. Made from Pinot Noir from vineyards on Pender and Saturna islands this vintage has a bit more depth than previous years. Still bone dry, fresh and with lip smacking acidity which explains my love affair with SeaStar’s rose. A lovely pale pink in the glass, flavours of strawberry with a touch of cranberry tartness. This is the real deal and clearly takes its cue from France. It always sells out so grab it while you can. I’d get some friends together and share a case!
Now the reason for my mixed emotions is the news that owner David Goudge has put the Winery up for sale! He’s decided that living on Pender Island is best enjoyed as a gentleman of leisure. Running a winery is simply eating up too much time. So thank you David for delivering some beautiful wines during your ownership. I’ll be reviewing more of SeaStar’s stellar lineup in the days to come.

Price: $25.00 (taxes in)
Available: Winery direct at www.seastarvineyards.ca
Price: $28.99 (plus tax)
Available: Marquis Wine Cellars on Davie street. However you must call the store to get on the list to buy the wine. Yes, it’s that popular!

Quails’ Gate Rose B.C. 2019

This marks a return to the tried and true for Quails’ Gate and their hugely popular Rose. Last year’s vintage was an outlier and not what I expected and frankly I didn’t enjoy it as much. Having just tasted the 2019 I’m a happy to declare Quails’ Gate is back. A beautiful pale pink with an aroma of summer flowers giving way to flavours of berries and a slice of watermelon. Crispy and dry with good acidity and a terrific finish. It’s also a great buy. This is a classic rose style and will be the perfect dinner companion all summer long.

Price: $17.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores
Price: $18.39 (plus tax)
Available: Save-On wines across B.C.

Rust Wine Co. Rose B.C. 2019

Many of us see Rose as the quintessential good time wine. Although I #drinkpink year round I still associate it with patios, summer parties and fun times with friends. Rust may just have nailed the good time Rose of the season. Winemaker Ryan de Witte acknowledged to my friend Kristoff Gillese that he wanted his Rose to be “gulpable.” Sounds perfect to me and I think he’s delivered with the 2019 vintage. This is a fruit bomb made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and I love it. Quite a stark contrast to the pale pink, lighter bodied styles that dominate this wine category but don’t overlook Rust. It’s fruity and rich to the taste which might trick your palate into thinking it’s a sweet wine. That’s not what I taste but each of us will decide based on the first sip. It paired perfectly with Spicey Rib from Kosoo restaurant in the West End.

Price: $18.99 (plus tax)
Available: Save-On Wines across the lower mainland. This is the sale price until July 6th!
Price: $21.99 (plus tax)
Available: Everything Wine in North Vancouver, South Vancouver, South Surrey and Langley
Price: $22.00 (plus tax)
Available: Winery direct at www.rustwine.com

Winemaker’s Cut Rose B.C. 2019

One of the most enjoyable aspects of writing about wine is discovering a new winery that grabs your attention and your palate. Last year I tasted Winemaker’s Cut for the first time and was instantly impressed. I’m glad to be sharing this beautiful rose with my readers.
From start to finish this is a terrific wine. Pro tip: don’t overchill or you’ll lose the beautiful aroma of apple blossom. What made this rose standout for me is that it delivers a beautiful nose, an interesting mix of fresh fruit flavours, a medium body and good acidity. In other words it’s the complete package. This rose is 90% Cabernet Franc and 10% Syrah so expect good structure too. If you’re looking for a new rose to try this spring grab Winemaker’s Cut.

Price: $21.09 (plus tax)
Available: Save-On wines across B.C.
Price: $26.00 (taxes in)
Available: Winery direct at www.winemakerscut.ca
Price: $24.99 (plus tax)
Available: Swirl Wines in Yaletown