Escorihuela 1884 Malbec 2019 Argentina

Tasting this wine was another reminder of how young our B.C. wine industry is when compared to this Argentine Malbec. Escorihuela was founded in 1884 which explains the label on this quaffable red. Fruit forward, medium bodied with soft tannins and the perfect companion for firing up the BBQ. You can’t beat the price on this red and it’s readily available too which makes it a popular choice. Meet your new house wine! I’ve recommended this Malbec to many wine friends and clients and it always gets a big thumbs up.

Price: $17.99 plus tax
Available: B.C. Liquor stores
Price: $17.99 plus tax
Available: Marquis Wine Cellar on Davie Street

Road 13 Rose B.C. 2020

It’s spring so time to drink pink! Once again Road 13 delivers a very drinkable rose at a terrific price. The nose jumps out of the bottle like a basket of fresh fruit. Flavours of cherries and strawberries with a balanced acidity and a lively finish. Rose goes with everything and I’ve already enjoyed this wine with taco salad and a mixed grill. Load up this month because it’s on sale!

Price: $15.99 plus tax
Available: B.C. Liquor stores
Price: $16.79 plus tax
Available: Save-On-Foods wines across B.C.
Price: $22.99 plus tax
Available: Swirl Wines in Yaletown

Winemaker’s Cut Syrah 2017/18 B.C.

If ever a new vineyard hit the ground running it would have to be Winemaker’s Cut near Osoyoos. I was captured by their Sauvignon Blanc at first, then their Rose and now I’m blown away by their Syrah. I tasted two vintages and as you’d expect the more mature of the two had more polish and finesse but both are equally delicious. This is another example of the excellence to be found in B.C. wine. Syrah of the quality of Le Vieux Pin, Black Hills and C.C. Jentsch. Decanting allowed the Winemaker’s Cut to really express everything in the bottle. A beautiful aroma of black fruit with a hint of pepper. The taste of plum and currents with beautiful acidity and a lovely spicy finish. This wine benefits from winery owners Martina and Michal Mosny’s love of the black earth that feeds the vines. Depending on where you shop you’ll find different vintages.

Price: $27.79 plus tax
Available: Save-On-Foods wines across B.C.
Price: $31.00 plus tax
Available: Marquis Wines on Davie Street and Swirl Wines in Yaletown

Gold Hill Cabernet Franc B.C. 2016

There’s a regular debate among winelovers to identify the quintessential B.C. wine. Some choose Pinot Noir, others opt for Riesling while another group goes for Cabernet Franc. A healthy debate because we have such a healthy wine industry in our province. Although I’ve been tasting B.C. wine for more than twenty years I have never opened a bottle of Gold Hill. Until now. All I can say is….”what took me so long?”
Their Cabernet Franc is a winner! A medium to full bodied red that offers a well made, polished take on this varietal. Flavours of blackberry and a touch of plum with some lovely notes of herb and coffee. It’s a juicy wine with a good finish and will pair with anything from grilled meats to a hearty stew.

Price: $28.00 plus tax
Available: Save-On-Foods wines across B.C.
Winery direct at www.goldhillwinery.com

Homer Street Cafe Happy Hour

Dining out at your favourite restaurant or cafe was one of the first casualties of the Pandemic. It seems Vancouver has managed the impact much better than elsewhere in Canada. I’ve noticed Happy Hours have returned and decided to check out the offering at Homer Street Cafe. They’re following the direction of Dr. Henry with Covid-19 protocols in place. Contact tracing, staff wearing masks, appropriate spacing which I found reassuring. It’s important to remember your dining companion must be part of your individual bubble! The wine offering for HH is a reliable trio of French red, white and rose from the Languedoc. At $6 a glass you can pair that with everything from steak tartar to brussel sprouts bagna cauda and charcuterie. Service was excellent and prices affordable which encouraged me to seek out other options to add to my website. Stay tuned!

Homer Street Cafe Happy Hour is from 2:30-5:30 daily.

C.C. Jentsch The Chase 2018 B.C.

This has consistently been one of the best value wines produced in B.C. Particularly if you shop wisely! The last few vintages were Cabernet dominant but the 2018 is Merlot dominant which means it’s a softer, more plush take on a classic Bordeaux blend. The medium boded red is juicy and delicious with a generous finish and a lovely aroma of blackberries. I still think it overdelivers for the price when you’re shopping for wine to pair with pizza. C.C. Jentsch has won awards for some superb premium wines and those looking for a bargain can count on The Chase to please your palate too.

Price: $18.99 plus tax
Available: Save-On-Foods wines across B.C.
Price: $24.99 plus tax
Available: Swirl Wines in Yaletown

Bizou + Yukon Savvy Franc B.C.

If the world wide pandemic has taught me anything it’s that the wine biz has learned how to innovate. From Zoom tastings to targeted new products there’s been an element of fun added to the wine experience. Here’s one that caught my eye because it comes from one of B.C.’s best wineries. Wine in a bag is something I’d never experienced until this month. The Savvy Franc is a red blend from Summerland’s Okanagan Crush Pad. Bizou and Yukon are the winery dogs who visitors often encounter. So a little fun paired with a fresh, easy drinking blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s my new house wine that’s priced as low as $35.00 for a 1.5 litre bag. Doing the math that works out to $17.50 for each of two standard 750ml bottles. I like the wine and I like that its carbon footprint is a fraction of the glass bottle. The pour spout works seamlessly and these “pooch pouches” also come in a white blend that you can chill in your fridge. Good wine at a good price. What’s not to like?

Price: $35.00 plus tax for 1.5 litre
Available: Save-On-Foods wines across B.C.
Price: $39.99 plus tax for 1.5 litre
Available: Kits Wine Cellars on 4th Avenue in Kitsilano
Price: $40.00 includes taxes
Available: Bowen Beer and Wine Cellar on Bowen Island

Evolve Pink Effervescence B.C.

I’ve always felt a special connection to Evolve Cellars because I launched my website the same year they released their first vintage. My impression of their wines then holds true today. Evolve offers quality B.C. wine at a great price. This lovely pink sparkler proves the point. From the tiny bubbles, usually called frizzante, to the fresh fruity flavour and dry style this is a wine I enjoy year round. I taste berries in every glass…strawberries and raspberries to my palate which makes it a lovely sipper and very food friendly. I think of charcuterie as the perfect pairing for this wine.

Price: $21.49 plus tax
Available: B.C. Liquor Stores
Price: $21.99 plus tax
Available: Save-On-Foods Wines across B.C.

Blue Grouse Estate Winery Quill White 2019 B.C.

It’s always a good day when you can find a favorite wine in your own backyard. Blue Grouse Estate Winery has twice been named winery of the year on Vancouver Island. Now you can taste for yourself and see why I’m such a big fan of what’s going on in the Cowichan Valley. The Quill White is a magical blend of Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Schonburger and Siegerrebe. There’s a delightful fragrance on this off-dry white and flavours of lemon, peaches and orange peel. In a world awash in white blends this offering from Blue Grouse really stands out for being balanced and delicious. It is a lovely sipper on its own or pair it with your favorite seafood dish. I bet you’ll be pouring a second glass…the true test of wine enjoyment.

Available: Save-On-Foods wines across B.C.
Price: $19.99 plus tax
Available: Swirl Wines in Yaletown
Price: $21.99 plus tax

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.