I thought The Wine Bar-Provence Marinaside couldn’t top their wines by the glass program but then I hadn’t met Joshua Carlson. The affable wine director wanted to build on the city’s most expansive “by the glass list” by adding bubbles. Thanks to modern technology you can pop the cork and pour a glass and restore the fizz! Who knew? Joshua did the research for us and now we can enjoy twenty-four sparkling wines up to and including Champagne! All because of the Le Verre de Vin system that keeps the bubbles without affecting the flavour. No longer do you need to buy an entire bottle to enjoy your favourite bubbly. The price per glass ranges from $8 for prosecco to $110 for a glass of Cristal if you feel the urge to party like a rapper. The wines Joshua has chosen include B.C. favourites from Bella and Evolve, prosecco and cava that offer tremendous value and Champagne from some of the best houses including Lanson, Bollinger and Moët et Chandon. Something for everyone and in all price points. Plus, drop in for Sparkling Saturday at The Wine Bar and all day you can save 25% on your bubbles of choice. What a deal! Save room for me please.
Price: $8.00-$110.00 per glass
Available: The Wine Bar adjacent to Provence Marinaside in Yaletown
Every winelover I know loves bubbles and luckily our B.C. sparkling wine options have never been better. Here’s another example from one of the Okanagan’s best wineries. Joie Farm Brut is a delight from first sniff. I detected an aroma of their fabulous A Noble Blend white when I poured my first glass. This bubbly is a blend of Riesling (90%) and Chardonnay. (10%) It has a beautiful mouth feel as the tiny bubbles dance across your tongue. Plenty of lemon and lime in this juicy, everyday bubbly that completes the experience with a lovely toasty finish. What a wine! However, supply is limited so don’t wait to grab a bottle or two of this sparkler or you may be disappointed.
Price: $22.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores
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
Since first trying this beautiful bubbly a couple of years ago, I find myself returning time and time again to Poema. For wine lovers Cava is to Spain what Prosecco is to Italy and Champagne is to France. In fact this Cava is made in exactly the same way as Champagne but costs a fraction of its French cousin. The aroma is full of apples and citrus. The flavour offers more of the same along with a lovely toasty finish. This is a deeper bubbly than others I’ve tasted so it pairs well with any dish or serve it to celebrate the New Year!
Price: $18.99 (plus tax)
Available: Kitsilano Wine Cellar and Dunderave Wine Cellar in West Vancouver
Price: $19.04 (plus tax)
Available: Marquis Wine Cellars on Davie street
When it comes to value and flavour Vaporetto is one of the best sparkling wines available in B.C. You can’t help notice there’s plenty of choices at your favourite wine store but not all Prosecco is created equally. This sparkling wine wins you over with the beautiful aroma of fruit and flowers. I tasted peaches and pears with a nice toasty finish and a touch of citrus. This is the Prosecco to pour when company drops by during the holidays. Or with the first course at a family feast. While you’ll find Prosecco that’s priced the same I think Vaporetto offers an elegance missing with others on the shelf.
Price: $17.49 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores
Just in time for holiday parties and celebrations of all sorts comes not just one but two B.C. sparkling wines. Better yet they come in at less than twenty dollars! As you see in the accompanying photo this bubbly comes in pink and white. The pink is mostly Pinot Blanc with a touch of Merlot. This is a lovely fruit bowl of strawberries and a touch of cherries. I loved the pop of the bubbles at first sip and then plenty of cream on the finish. The white is 70% Pinot Blanc and 30% Chardonnay. It’s drier than the pink with a peach aroma mixed with citrus. I tasted apples at first and then peaches or was it a mix of peaches and apples? Either way I thought this is a perfect party starter or add some orange juice for a brunch mimosa. I’ve listed the best price I could find for the two wines but noticed much higher prices elsewhere so shop carefully. You’ll find the white bubbly at Village VQA and the pink at Swirl Wine Store.
Price: $17.99 (taxes in)
Village VQA in Kitsilano
Price: $18.25 (plus tax)
Available: Swirl Wine Store in Yaletown
From the first time I tasted this gem of a sparkler I was a fan. It won me over from the citrus aroma bursting out of the glass. Then came a beautiful flavour of apples and pears with a lemon mousse that compliments this first rate Prosecco. Italy has really focussed on cornering the sparkling wine market. Ruffino has hit it out of the park at a price that’s hard to beat. If you’re looking for a bubbly to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or a new job grab a bottle or two of their Prosecco. Or if you need a great food wine don’t overlook Ruffino.
Price: $16.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores
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
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