Wine List Once-Over: Provence Marinaside

Is this Yaletown's greatest list?

January 8, 2019

By Neal McLennan

The Spot: The Yaletown Seawall stalwart Provence Marinaside.

The Theme: Well it’s over 15 pages long so the major theme is “If you want it, we got it.” View the list here.

The First Impression: This is a monster list—your really need some sort of game plan going in or really patient dining companions. The Okanagan is a standout, but the quirky and hidden side that you don’t often see (especially in Yaletown), like Moon Curser’s always-sold-out Arneis (well priced at $55), or the only-at-the-winery Riesling “lab” from Tantalus (weirdly, not such a good deal at $55 for a $17.50 wine). They also have 21 (21!) bottles of rosé and a killer selection of bubbles. Oh and an amazing selection of French reds. No Azerbaijani wine though.

The Steal: Well, where to begin. How about the very first entry on the list: Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs, a super cool and nerdy English bottle of sparkling that is very on point these days—it’s $145 here for an $83 bottle of wine—a less-than-2x very good start. On the same page you have a bottle of Martin’s Lane Naramata Ranch Pinot for $155 for a wine that’s $100…at the winery. They also sell the amazing Summerhill Cipes 2008 Blanc de Noirs for $70, for a wine that’s $40 at the winery and way underpriced at that. And the Madiran from Chateau Montus—a very cool tannat from Gascony that’s only $70 for a $40 wine. And then the deep-pocketed doozie: if you can pay $375 for the Paul Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle, you’re getting a very good deal on a $256 wine. But wait—$256 is for the 2013 vintage at the BCLDB. They’re selling the 1999 for $375—probably lower than the average auction price for that wine.

The Not So Much: There’s nothing egregious on the list at all—this is the land where 3x retail doesn’t exist (can’t we all live in that land?). Still there are less-good deals: the Selbach “Fish Label” Riesling is $50 for a $17 bottle of wine, and that seems to be the steepest mark-up here. And the only real oddball: $75 for the the 2007 Mastroberardino Alglianico, which I think is about $27.50? I suppose some might take issue with markup amounts (not the markup %) on the Louis Roederer Cristal ($500 for a $285 wine) or the Dom Perignon ($475 for $230), but that’s sort of grasping—and they’re likely just trying to move their customer to a more unexpected treasure in the bubbles section.

Cool-Factor Bottle: Well there’s the Gusbourne mentioned above, and then there are the requisite somm bottles every place in Vancouver is honour-bound to carry: The Fontodi Chianti ($80),  the Lapierre Morgon from Beaujolais ($90). There’s a rosé Cremant from the Jura (Andre & Mireille Tissot, $80) and a Bret Brothers Chard from the Macon (Le Clos de grand Pere, $145). This isn’t nerd central, but even the geekiest will find some solace here.

The Copy Editor: All clear!

The Head-Scratcher: Beats me…nothing from Sardinia or Corsica? I suppose they’re light in both Oregon and California Pinot and there aren’t any real Napa stars here, and the Italian whites could be a bit more expansive, but that’s about it. I will say I don’t love the layout of the list—somm selections first (aren’t they all somm selections?), then flights, then bubbles by the glass, but you don’t get to bottles of Champagne until, like 9 pages later, after the red wines. But really, who cares about order when the content is so good.

The Grade: A+. Even knowing that they had a great list I was still surprised at the wonderful nexus of selection and value here. Hands down a destination spot if you care about what’s in your glass.

Get the Newsletter

Own your city with Vancouver’s thrice-weekly scoop on the latest restaurant news, must-shop hotspots and can’t miss events. Rest assured your email is safe with us.