Wine List Once-Over: The Italian Osteria and Cheesebar in Langley

Are there deals in the 'burbs?

June 13, 2018

By Neal McLennan

There are two types of diners: those who Google a restaurant before they go so they can check out the wine lists and those who are terminally lame and bad conversationalists. For the first group we present this new series—concise, unsparing parsing of some of the city’s wine lists to show you who cares about deals and who’s trying to pull the wool over your eyes.


Today, we start with a long drive and the great open spaces of Langley to see if low rents translate into low wine prices.

The Spot: The Italian, the new concept from the Joseph Richard Group, juggernaut of the suburbs. See the list here.

The Sommelier/Wine Director: General Manager Quinn Schneider with JRG’s George Tachejian (Vice President) and Ryan Moreno (CEO).

The Theme: Mostly mainstream Italian, with Canada and France playing small supporting roles.

The First Impression: If you’re looking for smoking deals then you’ve come to the right place. If you want super esoteric, geeky wines or anything with age, stay in Vancouver.

The Steal: Oh, where to start? How about the $39 (retail) bottle of Crognolo for $75? Or the Burrowing Owl cabernet franc that sells for $35 at the winery but is only $59 here. Or the amazing Umani Ronchi Verdicchio ($19) which they charge only $35 for here. Amazing.

The Splurge: Really, there’s nothing on this list that even gets close to a more than 2.5 times markup. Although if I had to choose something I’d say that the great Ornellaia, priced here at $395 is not as an amazing deal for a wine that’s $230 at the BCLDB given the amounts we’re dealing with, but I’m grasping here.

The Surprise: The hipster fave Lapierre Morgon from Beaujolais makes a surprise appearance and is a steal at $77. That same wine is $110 at The Botanist.

The Disappointment: Not a hell of a lot. Several key Italian wines—Barbaresco, Etna Rosso, Falanghina—are absent and both the Chianti and Brunello selections are a tad underwhelming. Also no vintages listed, which is a bit of a problem on a $90 Barolo from Damilano even when it’s smokingly priced at $90. Or on the above noted $395 Ornellaia.

The Grade: A. Sure, it could be a bit more diverse but when it comes to value this is the reigning champ so far—not just of Langley but of the entire Lower Mainland.

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.