There’s no better place to be if you’re a #winelover than VanWineFest. 1700 wines are being poured at Vancouver Convention Centre through Saturday night. I’m posting my picks on social media so make sure you’re following Ron Wilson on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. This is a rare opportunity to try wines that are only available at the Festival. Cheers
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
If you like wine then the annual VanWineFest in February should be on your radar already. The annual celebration of the grape is the largest and best wine festival in our country and this year’s event will celebrate Canada.
It’s a unique opportunity to try wine from around the world, chat with the people who made what’s in your glass and make new wine friends. There’s no better way to grow your wine IQ than by tasting something new.
You can also buy tickets to wine dinners where some of Vancouver’s best chefs will create a unique culinary experience paired with wines chosen to compliment each course. A rare opportunity and a sensory experience that’s not to be missed.
Tickets go on sale at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and you can get all the details at www.vanwinefest.ca. Check out the website ahead of time so you know what’s on offer. I’ll see you next month at VanWineFest!
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 always a healthy debate about B.C’s signature wine. I’ve heard many weigh in on the side of Pinot Gris, Cabernet Franc and Meritage. But this year I’ve become a convert to Rose which seems to get better with every vintage. Let me add Fort Berens to the list of wineries turning out an absolutely first rate rose. This wine is a blend of Pinot Noir and Merlot. So you’ll taste plenty of strawberries along with some pomegranate and a hint of spice. An absolutely pure expression of B.C. winemaking that’ll have you pouring a second or third glass. As for a food wine you can’t do better because I’ve tried this rose with everything from spicy grilled sausages to a salmon salad. Well done Fort Berens!
Price: $19.99 (plus tax)
Available: Swirl Wine Store in Yaletown
Price: $20.11 (plus tax)
Available: Village VQA in Kitsilano
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
The amount of rose wine being produced and purchased in B.C. grows year after year. No surprise really. It’s easy to drink, affordable and pairs with anything and everything. Now Monster Vineyards has added a new twist to their lineup with Rosie. Essentially a sparkling rose. It’s absolutely the perfect wine for your next party or reception. I love the strawberry aroma in the glass. The taste of strawberries carries through with your first sip and there’s also a touch of cranberry. Grab this fizzy pink and let the fun begin!
Price: $19.12 (plus tax)
Available: Swirl Wine store in Yaletown
Price: $23.39 (plus tax)
Available: Marquis Wine Cellars
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
There are few wineries in B.C. that offer as much wine for the dollar as Road 13. I’ve been enjoying their wines for a decade and often recommend them to wine friends new to our province’s offerings. Their Rose is a prime example of great value in a bottle. Road 13 has crafted a wine that blends Gamay Noir (a personal fave) with Merlot and a splash of Viognier. Expect to taste plenty of strawberries and cherries with spicy notes that’ll make you ask for more. Those in the know recognize Rose as one of the most food friendly wines. You can pair this with salad to bbq ribs and everything in between.
Price: $15.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores
What would a summer day be without a glass of rose? I actually drink this rose year round because it’s that good. Haywire has earned a reputation for award winning wines. They’re juicy and fresh and true to their roots. This rose invokes Provence to my nose and tastebuds. It’s delicate, dry and delicious. There’s strawberries aplenty to smell and taste along with some mild peppery notes. Its balance and finish tell me this is a wine that you can hold onto for several years and it’ll get more complex. I love Haywire’s Gamay so using that grape in the rose makes this a winner. If you’re a foodie here’s a wine that’ll make all of your dishes better…seafood, salad or steak…think pink and grab Haywire’s Gamay Noir Rose.
Price: $21.73 (plus tax)
Available: Swirl Wines in Yaletown