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.
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
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.
Finding wine bargains can be a challenge as the B.C. government squeezes consumers for every last penny. If you travel to Ontario or Quebec check out the price of your favorite wine. You’ll see what I mean. Here’s a terrific value red from a winery that always delivers quality at a fair price. I first tasted Paul Mas wines about five years ago and at the time I had to double check the price on the bottle. How could a wine this good be priced so low? The Grenache Noir is another example from the Mas family you should check out. This is a great everyday wine, smooth and delicious with flavours of dark berries and a hint of spice. Pair it with your favourite comfort food like a hearty stew.
Price: $11.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores and Everything Wine in North Vancouver, South Vancouver, South Surrey and Langley
When you promise to recommend great wines at a great price you become familiar with regions that over deliver. Puglia is an excellent example and this wine is proof positive. The Primitivo grape is described as the father of Zinfandel by winemaker Luccarelli. This is a red that ticks all the boxes for easy drinking, fruit forward and smooth flavour. It begins with a beautiful, fruity aroma that leads to a delicious taste of berries, chocolate and a bit of pepper. Great on its own or pair with pizza, pasta or charcuterie. On sale until the end of October so load up for Thanksgiving because this red will go very well with turkey.
Price: $13.99 plus tax
Available: B.C. Liquor stores
The recently announced WineAlign National Wine Awards are further evidence of how far B.C wines have come. I shared four examples on Global B.C. Noon News that illustrate that point. The Coolshanagh Chardonnay 2016 is made from grapes grown just north of the Naramata Bench. Crafted by winemaker Matt Dumayne at Okanagan Crush Pad this is a wine I loved from first sip. A creamy flavour of apples and pears with great acidity, this is an Okanagan chard that can stand up to the world’s best. Available at coolshanagh.ca.
Rose is a massively popular wine category and Blue Grouse Estate Winery is fully deserving of the gold medal for their Quill Rose. Winemaker Bailey Williamson relies on Gamay grapes for his pink and the result is a knockout! Bone dry, juicy and fresh with a beautiful tartness and bracing acidity this Rose is the perfect partner for your favorite seafood. Blue Grouse is located in the beautiful Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island and the winery offers a warm welcome in their gorgeous tasting room. You can find Blue Grouse at Marquis Wine Cellars and Firefly Wines.
Singeltree Winery Pinot Noir offers more proof that B.C. is a great place to find a wide range of styles of Pinot. Located in the Fraser Valley, daytrippers from Vancouver take note, Singletree delivers a terrific wine for the price. This is a dark, intense Pinot with a lovely toasted finish that reflects eleven months aging in oak. At $22.00 this may be the best buy Pinot you’ll find for the price so jump in the car with your best #winelover and head to Singletree.
Time Winery Meritage 2016 is a wonderful wine to celebrate the late Harry McWatters. One of the true pioneers in B.C. wine, Harry played a leading role in bringing this style of red to our province. His final vintage is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Decant this beauty and take in the beautiful aroma of cherries and herbs. A deep and delicious red, loaded with rich flavour but soft on the palate and pairs beautifully with steak. Available at Save-On-Foods Wines across B.C.
From my first taste of B.C. Cab Franc I’ve been a fan. At least with the bigger bodied, more robust style that I can pair with a steak off the BBQ. Stag’s Hollow answers the bell with this wine which i thoroughly enjoyed. Loved the aroma of blackberries and cherries. The flavour of blackberries with soft tannins and a smoky finish was really appealing. It has a splash of Merlot and Petit Verdot and spent a year in the bottle before it was released. All that adds up to a more interesting wine for me.
Price: $23.89 (plus tax)
Available: Save-On Wines at Pemberton plaza in North Vancouver
Price: $28.99 (plus tax)
Available: Swirl Wines in Yaletown
When you’re having a big party and you’re on a budget you shouldn’t have to sacrifice quality. This trio of Santa Carolina Reserva wines more than delivers the goods and they’re on sale until the end of December. The Pinot Noir is medium bodied with loads of cherries and very food friendly. The Sauvignon Blanc is a crispy, fruit forward style with a touch of lemon. The Cabernet Sauvignon is remarkably deep for such a young wine with loads of black fruit and a hint of spice. Don’t miss this triple threat of tasty wines at a bargain price.
Price: $11.49-$12.49 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. liquor stores
There are many reasons why Road 13 was named Winery of the Year in Canada. Rather than read about it, can I suggest you open a bottle and let your taste buds tell you why. The Seventy-Four K is the perfect introduction. This delicious red blend combines Merlot and Syrah in a silky, dry wine that’s a perennial favorite. One of the reasons I’ve enjoyed Road 13 wines for so many years is the sense of place. From the moment you enjoy the beautiful aroma it’s as if you’ve been transported to their south Okanagan vineyard. The flavour is bold and spicy, plum and cassis with a lingering finish. I’ve paired this wine with steaks, roasts and turkey. You can also get it on sale until the end of December at several retail outlets so shop carefully. Both the 2016 and 2017 vintages are on the shelf depending on where you buy your wine.
Price: $23.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores, Save-On Wines on Marine Drive in North Vancouver and Everything Wine in North Vancouver, South Vancouver, South Surrey and Langley
Price: $28.73 (plus tax)
Available: Village VQA Wines in Kitsilano
Price: $28.99 (plus tax)
Available: Swirl Wine Store in Yaletown
I am a huge fan of Gamay and in B.C. there’s no shortage of excellent options. Road 13, Joie and Desert Hills are among my favourite examples of this varietal. If you haven’t discovered Rust Wine Co. make sure you add their Gamay to your list. From the nose to the palate this is one beautiful wine. The aroma of cherries with spicy notes is impressive but wait until the first sip. There’s so much depth to Rust’s Gamay with plenty of cherries in an earthy, savoury wine that demands a second glass. If you’re accustomed to lighter bodied Gamays, Rust will surprise you with a much deeper flavour. It’s lovely as a sipper but a very food friendly red too. Pair it with Brie or smoked salmon at any festive gathering. Another reason to love this wine is the price. Stock up for the holidays. It’s also available by the glass at TWB-The Wine Bar in Yaletown.
Price: $22.00 (plus tax)
Available: Everything Wine in North Vancouver, South Vancouver, South Surrey and Langley and Village VQA in Kitsilano
Price: 22.49 (plus tax)
Available: Save-On Wines on Marine Drive in North Vancouver
Price: $22.52 (plus tax) at Sutton Place Wine Merchant on Burrard street
Price: $22.99 (plus tax)
Available: Swirl Wines in Yaletown