There’s few countries on the planet that offer more value for a winelover than Argentina. For more than a decade Malbec has been the category killer in red wine. From a backyard BBQ to a pizza night with friends this is the budget conscious buy. This month you can try a dozen of Argentina’s best at the BC Liquor Signature store on Cambie Street at 39th Avenue. The free tasting will be accompanied by empanadas for the perfect pairing. Included in the tasting are the three wines pictured above. The Masi Paso Doble is an absolute steal at $12.99. This organic Malbec is loaded with flavours of dark fruit and a spicy finish. The Luigi Bosca Malbec is a more medium bodied red that earned a 90 point rating. It’s on sale for $19.99. The Dona Paula Estate Malbec is the easiest drinking of the trio. It too is a 90 point wine and on sale for $15.99. Check out the free tasting, stock up and save!
Price: Starting at $12.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor Signature store 39th and Cambie Friday, August 10th and Friday, August 17th from 2pm-6pm.
I’m such a fan of restaurants that offer interesting wine with their Happy Hour. Mission in Kits is an exceptional food experience complimented by an enjoyable wine companion. Both the red (pictured) and white are French. Each costs $5.00 during Happy Hour when they offer appetizers at 50% off. The red is a traditional red blend, think Rhone valley, while the white from Gascogne was a pleasant, medium bodied and food friendly wine. Speaking of the food, it was superb. The pork terrine (pictured) came with crackers, chutney and mustard and all are house made. They also offer artisanal cheese from Farmhouse cheese in Agassiz which is not to be missed. Other snack choices include beef croquette and hummus. Once you visit for Happy Hour you’ll want to come back for dinner. Another reason to add Mission to your dining out list is their weekend brunch where every bottle of wine on their impressive list is 50% off! That includes Champagne. Enjoy.
2042 West 4th Avenue
Happy Hour M-F 5:30-6:30
I’m on a mission that speaks to the winelover in me. Find restaurants and bars where their Happy Hour wine offerings are front of mind and not an afterthought. Chewie’s is one of those places. On a recent visit to the Coal Harbour location their white wine was Lock & Worth Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and the red was The Hatch Pinot Noir. Both are relatively new entries to the B.C. wine scene but they should be on your radar. Given that Chewie’s Happy Hour has some of the freshest oysters available in the city the Lock & Worth white is the perfect choice. The food options reflect the restaurant’s Cajun inspired menu. I also tried the crab cakes and the house made sausage which is not to be missed. The Hatch Pinot Noir worked so well with the sausage. Their Kitsilano location was pouring different B.C. Wines but they too were quality choices. What also caught my wine eye was the modest mark-up on premium pours like Nota Bene, Caymus Zinfandel and Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin. No 150% gouging that’s commonplace at many restaurants. That reflects a wine forward approach that I support. I like saving at Happy Hour so I can go back on special occasions and splurge. Chewie’s makes that option less expensive too. Well done!
Chewie’s Steam and Oyster Bar in Coal Harbour and Kitsilano
Happy Hour daily from 3-6 p.m.
There’s a very good reason for the playfully named “Tappy Hour” at The Wine Wine Bar which is adjacent to Provence Marinaside. The restaurant and wine bar have dozens of wines on tap including the largest list by far for Happy Hour. Many are on tap, just like beer, hence “Tappy Hour.” Equally important for the quality of the wine you’ll enjoy is the relationship building of Rachelle Goudreau who runs the wine program. She works with some of B.C’s best wineries to create blends unique to The Wine Bar. The white wine pictured on this review comes from Evolve. It’s a delicious blend of Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Absolutely note perfect with the chilled seafood salad. That’s just one example of how “Tappy Hour” raises the bar in Vancouver. Each of the wines on offer are $5.00 a glass. The accompanying bites are $5.00 or $6.00. For variety, quality and taste of wine and food I think The Wine Bar at Provence Marinaside is, in my opinion, the best Happy Hour of the dozens I’ve visited in YVR.
The Wine Bar/Provence Marinaside
Tappy Hour 3-5 daily
It’s been less than two years since B.C. allowed bars and restaurants to offer Happy Hour promotions. The results have been decidedly mixed. As much miss as hit. For the record a cheap highball and deep fried pickle is NOT my definition of a proper Happy Hour. Jules Bistro in Gastown gets it with classic French cuisine paired with three quality wines. A white, red and rose. The three wines are pictured in this review. At $5 a glass these wines are what I expect from a restaurant that takes wine seriously. I’ve been a fan of Jules Bistro’s food for years. For Happy Hour you can enjoy classics like Moules and Frits or Beet Salad with warm goat’s cheese at $8 each. Don’t miss the cheese plate. Quality and value make this Happy Hour a Cheapandcheerful pick.
216 Abbot Street
Happy Hour daily 3:30-5:30
When you walk into Provence Marinaside your eyes are drawn to the mirrored western wall and the taps. More than 40 taps signalling you’re in a restaurant that’s serious about wine. Each tap represents a different wine, more than thirty are from B.C. Some are blends exclusive to Provence so you’re trying a wine you’ll only find at the restaurant. That’s not all. Provence has more than 100 wines by the glass which gives you more choice at an affordable price than any restaurant in Vancouver. You can pair your appetizer with bubbles or rose. Then choose a different varietal to accompany your main course. That’s putting your customer first.
Alongside the restaurant is The Wine Bar which is a great casual place to enjoy one of the best Happy Hours in the city. Dubbed “Tappy Hour” you can choose from a list of a dozen wines at $5 a glass. Plus a good selection of bites also at $5.
So whether it’s a post work catch-up with friends or a relaxing dinner the choice is yours.