As the seasons change and the evenings get more brisk, you may find yourself hankering for a glass of wine that will warm you to your core.
We touched base with the top five best fall wine spots in Vancouver. They match this with a cozy restaurant atmosphere and warm tasty dishes. Get out of the cold and get your hands on a satisfying glass of vino at any of these fantastic spots.
Jenya Patrief, Chill Winston’s General Manager, is looking forward to continuing summer fruit flavours into the fall. Chill Winston is collaborating with Okanagon Crush Pad for their new estate blends, introduced on the menu on October 7. The wines will be, “fruity and fresh, but strong enough to carry us through the winter.” Chill Winston has wines from all around world, and focuses on finding specialty bottles that can’t be found in the liquor store.
For the fall, Patrief recommends Nichol Vineyard’s Pinot Gris, a peach and smooth white, along with the Joie Pinot Blanc, a muskier, apple flavoured wine. Patrief is hesitant to give up whites moving into fall. She say, “It’s nice to stick to our BC wines to taste all the pitted fruit – so still enjoy white varietals and wait for it to get really cold and wet before changing to reds.” Along with introducing its new estate blends, Chill Winston is changing its menu on October 7.
Be sure to get a taste of their bubbles flight before it changes as well. Currently it features Haywire Pink Bub, Anna de Cordoniu Brut, and Domaine Chanandon Brut. It is a perfect way to taste the elegance of different bubbly varietals and to expand your palate to find out what you enjoy most.
As the weather still has sunny days and cooler nights, take advantage of Chill Winston’s patio as long as the rain will let you, and once the rain inevitably arrives Patrief encourages you to come inside, “…even when it cools down you can come in here and it is warm and casual. You’re not under any pressure and you can enjoy the company that you’re with.”
Address: 3 Alexander Street
YEW seafood + bar at the Four Seasons Hotel is a welcoming and intriguing venue for wine tasting. Sommelier Emily Walker walked us through some fall wines that they will be featuring, emphasizing the warmth and texture are important things to look for. “Once you get into fall, you don’t want to jump from crisp profile right into a big wine, especially on the red side.” She recommends two whites and a red to transition your taste buds from summer to fall.
The Garnier & Fils Chablis is a lightly-oaked and textured white wine. It has the purity of fruit but a creamy, almost viscous texture that pairs well with heartier fall fish dishes like chowder and homemade fish and chips. Walker also suggests the Manoir de la Tete Rouge Chenin Blanc. It is a beautifully coloured wine from a small, biodynamic producer. It is extra dry, with a smooth honey flavour, which is extremely food friendly.
For reds, Walker enjoys Haywire’s Syrah. She likes that it is a, “red wine with very generous food characteristics…but you’ve got a lovely line of acidity going through it and the weight that you want from a Syrah.” It contains heavy berry and peppery flavours, perfect for hearty meat dishes. Keep an eye out for Walker’s Wine of the Week feature to stay in the loop of new and interesting wines, and be sure to get to YEW to try their extensive by-the-glass offerings.
Address: 791 W Georgia Street, Vancouver
Sommelier Lisa Cook is looking forward to fall by bulking up Vancouver Urban Winery’s selection of heavier reds and whites. For whites going into colder weather she looks for, “some toastier and more creamy styles..not so many citrusy wines, but earthier and more robust styles.” Vancouver Urban Winery’s house white is a Chardonnay done with Row 13. It is perfect for fall with a taste of caramel apples that lingers in your mouth. It can be currently found on tap.
Cook is also looking forward to their red collaboration with BC Wine Studio, which is a blend of Cabernet-Franc, Merlot and Cabernet. It features spicy and fruity flavours, like plum and blackcurrant. She also suggests Bartier Brothers Syrah and the 9 Mile Red from Nichol Vineyards. For whites, she has seen a lot of interest in the Siren’s Call Viognier, a nice citrus white, without the oakiness of a Chardonnay. She’s looking for a similar Viognier to feature in the fall, so keep your eyes open.
All of the taps at Vancouver Urban Winery are from B.C. Cook emphasizes that their space is all about sharing and community, “we also have beer, so if you have friends that don’t drink wine they don’t have to feel alienated. We want to make wine fun, but we also want people to learn a little about it.”
Address: 55 Dunlevy Avenue, Vancouver
At Brix, co-owner David Hannay looks forward to the richer reds for the fall season. He says, “in the fall we look at things like the bigger red grapes like the Syrahs, the Cabernets, and the Merlots.” Brix enjoys a lot of BC wines on their list and Hannay explains that this year B.C. had a banner year for red production.
In the Syrah category he suggests looking at Nichol Vineyards for exceptional taste. Further, he promotes Laughing Stock’s Bordeaux-blend and Serendipity’s Merlot. These reds pair exceptionally well with food like game, red meat and lamb. Being further from the equator, B.C. is able to get better balance in their red grapes.
“When we do have those vintages that allow us to get our grapes ripe we can have spectacular Bordeaux blends and merlots [that contain] a lot of fruit…and a nice acid balance,” Hannay said.
Brix offers tasting flights for those looking to try new wines. Currently, they have a BC Red flight, for those who haven’t been able to make it up to the Okanagan yet.
Brix is special, according to Hannay, because, “we care about all aspects of wine service, from the temperature of the wine, to the correct glass to serve the wine in, and also to having a person serving you who is knowledgeable about wine.” An intimate space, with a focus on local wine, Brix sets the tone for a romantic night with the fun of exploring new wines with your guest.
Address: 1138 Homer Street, Vancouver
Australian born Mitchell Kerr, the manager at Grain, is used to full bodied wines, common to the Australian harvest. In choosing the wines for Grain, Kerr “looks to the wines to mirror the food and not mask the flavours.” This means you’re going to get a diverse and original selection of mainly B.C. blends, that fits all your price points. Rather than running right into the cold autumn wind, slip into the cozy booths at Grain to warm your soul.
With a selection of wines primarily from B.C. Kerr suggests the Kettle Valley Semillon Sauvignon Blanc for those who are unwilling to give up summer just yet. Expect lots of grapefruit, followed by distinct honey notes leaving you with a lovely long finish. Also in the white category is Stag Hollow’s Viognier. This wine has a stainless steel finish, giving you crispness, and a clean finish, but also allowing some stone fruit flavours to peak through.
Moving to reds, Kerr suggests the elegant 2013 Desert Hills Gamay. Perfect with your Turkey dinner, this Gamay, while quite jammy, elegantly carries both peppery and black fruit flavours, creating an experience both comforting but light. A more strong red that Kerr suggests is the 2010 Cassini Syrah. Of all the wines this was definitely the most full bodied, though not so heavy as to weigh you down.
Grain bridges the gap between night out and business, expect it to be busy with the business crowd from 4 to 7 p.m. most days, if that’s not your scene come a little later to enjoy the dimmed lighting, candles, and did we mention great wine?
Address: 655 Burrard Street, Vancouver
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