Recently, the 34th annual restaurant awards has awarded Provence Vancouver an honourable mention for the ‘Best French’ category restaurant. These awards honour the talent and hard work of all who dedicate themselves in the food and hospitality industry, so to be recognized amongst all others is a feat.
And what better a way to celebrate than with reopening of their adjoining wine bar, simply and literally named “The Wine Bar”. The Wine Bar (TWB) has not been open since the pandemic, but now they can and are ready to celebrate their 10th year anniversary with said reopening for summer. Just in time for the warmer weather, this making them a hot spot with their patio’s unobstructed view.
The bar was created to be a first stop or the last on your night out. Pop-in for a snack and a pre or post drink. You can also stay for dinner, but with small plates it is designed to be a pit stop.
But the draw is the definitely the ability to order wine by the glass, choosing from 125 different types, on rotation at any given time. And today we would be sampling from 30 of the 125 bottles, which is approximately 24% of the wines they have on tap and being corked in between pours. An impressive number and statistic to have you looking their way when you want the ability to taste and have from the largest wine by the glass collection in Vancouver.
Here, The Wine Bar focuses on unique wines from the South of France, given sister restaurant, Provence’s heritage. And from BC, as they are proud to support and represent the province in their offerings.
TWB also has wine on tap. And you may be wondering how can the wine be still fresh from the first glass to the last? At The Wine Bar, they utilize nitrogen to displace any oxygen in their kegs, thus ensuring the wine is not over oxidized. Oxygen helps the wine open up, but too much, it starts to go bad. Each keg they put on tap serves 130 glasses. And you can either order it by the glass or break it down by ounce.
As for the corked bottles, they meticulously date everything they open, and with each pour, a smell test is conducted. All their bartenders and servers are trained to ascertain if a wine is still viable through scent alone. And if there is ever a question, the wine is discarded.
Here are a few of the wines we sampled. Starting with Summerhill Pyramid Winery’s copes brut from Kelowna, BC as our welcome sparkling. It is a blend of Riesling, Pinot Blanc, and Chardonnay done in a classic champagne style. It is neutral on the nose with a citrusy crisp start, that ends sweet with orchard fruits.
We were all instantly fans of the 2021 Modest Wine cinq sink rose from west Kelowna, BC. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet franc, and Petit Verdot. It was floral and fragrant like cherry blossoms, with apple on the nose, and a warming berry finish.
The Le Vieux pin petit rogue from 2021 Oliver BC was a smooth and easy drinking red from a mix with Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Then moving on to some French wines we had the Res Fortes Roussillon Blanc 2018 Cotes du Roussillon from France. A blend of Macabeau, Grenache Blanc, and Grenache gris poured from the TWB by the glass program. It was a white that was medicinal on the nose with a rise to apricot. And a similar transition in taste, ending more neutral on the palate.
The room was excited with the announcement that Champagne bubbles would be next. Valentin Leflaive Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut from Champagne, France. Mostly Chardonnay grapes, it had a unique funk on the nose and an oil on the lips.
Another crowd favourite was the Clos Cibonne Cuvée, a traditional rose. 2020 cotes de Provence, Provence France with Tibouren and Grenache grapes. This is a $150 bottle on the featured wine menu and you need not commit to purchasing the whole bottle if you want but a taste. This is the beauty of The Wine Bar and their wine program, being able to order a glass from the $150 bottle you may not otherwise be able to afford.
We also got a chance to “tour the taps” sampling a Phantom Creek rosé, and the Monte Creek Riesling from their wine taps. And I can confirm it tasted no different than if popped from the bottle, having had both of the above wines previously. They even had Negronis on on tap. This was seriously fun to see and have a drink straight from.
But for those who are not a fan of wine, but are at this wine bar, they also have cocktails, beer, and cider available. However, you don’t go to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. Get the wine!
And with all the wines to try you, you also want to consider having some food with it. So the following is almost everything that you can order from the TWB happy hour food menu, minus the classic bowl of mixed olives that we all know exactly how they look and taste like.
Apparently they are known for their popcorn so we started with an order in its comical ceramic container, striped in either blue or red. Popcorn with brown butter, plus the option to add on truffle oil for even more decadence. Each kernel full of flavour, shame I am not a big fan of the texture of popcorn.
When in a French restaurant you get the snails. Escargots Provençal with garlic, parsley, brandy, and butter sauce. Rich and sumptuous as we know snails to be, ideal with a loaf of their amazing bread. I don’t visit Provence and TWB without getting a couple half loaves throughout my time there.
Fresh baked half baguette served in bag with butter. The bread is so crispy and chewy it is some of the best that I have had, and it is even tasty as is. But if you are looking for even more indulgence, double down with the Jim Beam butter and/or the balsamic vinegar and olive oil for spreading and dipping. The bourbon gave the bread new life in lusciousness. Great with all the richer wines we were having.
Half a dozen house oysters with pear vinegar mignonette and fresh lemon. These were creamy oysters dressed in a tangy-sweet vinaigrette.
The Crispy calamari was lightly breaded squid, aioli, and lemon. The squid was tender and chewy with a fine crisp. The aioli gives it its flavour.
The Kalamata olive and anchovy tapenade over house made crostinis was a salty and briny mash over a crispy cracker. It leaves you reaching for your drink.
For something heartier look to the Garlic parsley meatballs with onion and tomato sauce. A juicy marinara sauce that is sweet and tangy to balance out the hearty beef.
Not quite a salad, but it ate like one. Half a grilled avocado with baby shrimp. It is and tastes exactly as it reads.
In conclusion, this is a great spot for Happy Hour. If the majestic water view is not enough, behold their vast wine selection within. Wine by the glass from bottle or tap, the possibilities are endless.
The Wine Bar at Provence Marinaside
1167 Marinaside Crescent, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2Y2