Wine category: RED

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

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.

Price: $19.99 plus tax
Available: B.C.Liquor stores
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

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.

Paul Mas Grenache Noir France 2018

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

Luccarelli Primativo Puglia Italy 2017

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