Why you order a solitary stem of sparkling is up to you. Where you choose to do so can make all the difference
There are many reasons you might want just a single, perfect glass of bubble instead of a whole bottle. Maybe you still have to pick up the kids at school but took a detour for a little adult “me” time. Perhaps you want a moment of zen before a dentist’s appointment and experience has proved that one is your limit (unless you want Dr. Zussman to know how handsome you think he is). Or perhaps, you want to celebrate a modest success in line with a simple flute of the good stuff, like winning $50 in the lottery or making it through another Monday.
Here’s our list of the best by-the-glass sparkling lists in B.C...
1. Blue Water Cafe
With its dark, moody atmosphere and mahogany bar, Blue Water Cafe is as close to an institution as you can get in a neighbourhood that popped up in the 1990s. Wine director William Mulholland’s list is impressive, no less so because of its strong sparkling component, with five offerings including a refreshing La Vida al Camp cava ($15), the luxurious Lanson Rosé ($32), and the delightful Delamotte, a small champagne producer that’s the historical house of the Laurent-Perrier empire ($32).
Walking Vancouver’s Seawall can work up quite a thirst. Luckily, Ancora is right there, just waiting for a quick champagne pit stop. During the month of August (International Champagne Month, FYI), the waterfront resto’s by-the-glass list boasts that it will be pouring coupes from “some of the most prestigious houses,” and it ain’t lyin’: Chanoine ($23.50), Moutard ($24), Mandois ($28) and Bollinger ($38) are front and centre, as is one of our favourites, the oh-so-classique Ruinart Brut ($36.50).
3. Burdock & Co.
The revolving “Bubbles of the Moment” ($13) at Main Street’s Burdock & Co. in Vancouver is a master class in local naturalist sparkling wines, thanks to wine director Matthew Sherlock. Perfect for experimentation and discovery, it’s where we first tasted the addictive Bella Wine’s sparkling Gamay Noir from Naramata, B.C.
4. The Wine Bar (TWB)
You already know that Dom Pérignon invented champagne, right? Actually, he didn’t. In fact, he was trying to find a way to stop his wines from double fermenting. He failed miserably, and champagne was born! There’s nowhere in B.C. where you can celebrate the monk’s fortuitous ineptitude like you can at Province Marinaside TWB – The Wine Bar. Sommelier Josh Carlson regularly offers up over two dozen cavas, proseccos, crémants and champagnes by the glass thanks to a Le Verre de Vin preservation system that injects neutral gas into each popped bottle, keeping it “just-opened fresh” for up to two weeks. From the cheap and cheerful (Montelvini Prosecco, $8) to the gansta flash (vintage 2009 Cristal, a.k.a. “rapper’s delight, $110), there’s something for every taste and budget on the rotating list. And on Saturdays, take an additional 25% off.
5. Il Giardino
Arguably the first restaurant to put Vancouver on the culinary map, celebrity chef Umberto Menghi’s fine dining Il Giardino re-opened last year with one of the most beautiful hidden patios in the heart of city. Similarly, the by-the-glass bubbles list is a source of rare and obscure gems like Nicolas Maillart “Platine” ($26) and Henriot Rosé Brut ($38).
6. Wine & Art/Wilbur’s Piano Bar
Part gallery, part arts-and-crafts studio and part piano bar and restaurant, Kelowna’s Wine & Art is many things. Add to that list the largest selection of by-the-glass Okanagan wines in the region and you’ve got a recipe for success. On the sparkling list at the moment you’ll find Intrigue I Do and Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Fitz Brut, but blink and either could change for another terrific local bubble selection.
7. The Empress
Victoria’s iconic harbor-front Empress hotel has just emerged from a multi-million-dollar renovation. While she’s had a total makeover, the old gal is still serving her beloved afternoon tea, only now its in partnership with another grande dame, la Veuve Clicquot. Yes, now you can add on a glass of Veuve’s hard-to-find Rosé Brut to sip with your dainties and tea, just as God intended ($115 for the Royal Champagne Tea).
For our purposes, the most exciting part of the recent renovations at the Fairmont Pan Pacific’s new Botanist is the Champagne Lounge. Yes, an entire space devoted to the king of wines and its less luxurious relations. The by-the-glass list runs the gamut from Varichon et Clerc Crémant de Savoie ($14) to Salon Le Mesnil Grand Cru Brut ($335). But, for our money, we’ll stick to the Barons de Rothschild Brut at a mere $63 a glass.