We caught up with Ryan Johnson, Assistant Wine Director and bartender extraordinaire at Provence Marinaside, to collaborate on this month’s Valentine’s inspired wine cocktail and he’s come up with a stunner! Provence Marinaside is located across the street from False Creek and the bustling seawall in Yaletown, downtown Vancouver. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner it’s the ideal spot to not only people watch but also to enjoy a creative mix of flavours from the south of France and the Canadian West Coast. Their extensive wine list includes an impressive selection of wines by the glass for you to peruse or better yet, ask your server for a recommendation!
We asked Ryan a few questions related to wine cocktails as a warmup for the main event.
Hello Ryan! Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. But first, please tell us a bit about yourself:
Where you work: Provence Marinaside
Job role: Assistant Wine Director
Years worked in the industry: 17
Favourite cocktail: Depends on the time of year, I’ll go with a Cynar Spritz.
We. Love. Wine!… but don’t normally think to use it in a cocktail unless we’re making something obvious like a Mimosa or Sangria. Why should we open our minds and mouths to a wine-based cocktail?
“Wine cocktails can be very complex and layered with flavours. They can be bright and citrusy, tropical and fruity, or rich and savoury. Pair your favourite wine with flavours that accentuate it!”
What is the ideal cocktail to impress our Valentine this Feb 14th?
“Try out Caféier Frizzante! The blackberry and raspberry liqueur accentuates the Lambrusco wine with its high acidity and aromatics while the coffee and rosemary coaxes out its more savoury notes. You’ll be surprised by the complex depth of flavours and so will your Valentine.”
Pairing wine with food can create a memorable experience and enhance both what’s on our plate and in our glass. Can you tell us about a wine and dish you paired together that really impressed your guests at Provence?
“One of my favourite dishes at Provence is our bouillabaisse served with a punchy garlic rouille. It really sings when paired with our Tibouren rosé from Clos Cibonne. This Provençal rosé is fermented with native yeasts and uniquely aged sur lie under a veil of yeast in 100-year-old foudre for 12 months. Bouillabaisse is a strong flavoured dish and this Rosé more than holds its own with strawberry and peach flavours that turn to more savoury notes of thyme, bitter orange, and the Mediterranean Sea.”
Can you recall what it was that first ignited your passion for wine?
“The more I learned about wine the less I knew about wine. Seeing and tasting how wine worked with certain dishes got me curious as to why it worked with certain dishes and down the rabbit hole I went. I love how poetic and thought-provoking a beautiful wine can be. The sensory sensations of one sip can engrain in your mind like a certain song can take you to a place and time.”
If you could whisk your Valentine away to any wine region in the world, where would you go and why?
“Santorini, Greece. I would love to see the wineries and the basket-shaped low trained vines that region is famous for. The Aegean Sea, the white Blue-domed houses, and cliff sides would look so beautiful and amazing especially with a glass of Assyrtiko in our hands.”
- 3/4 oz. Raspberry Liqueur (Giffard Framboise de Ronce)
- 3/4 oz. coffee liqueur
- 4 oz. Semi-sparkling, slightly sweet red wine (Lambrusco Di Sorbara)
- 3 dashes of Apothecary cacao coffee bitters
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- Blackberry (optional)
Muddle 1 sprig of rosemary with the liqueurs and bitters to the bottom of an old-fashioned glass. Add a large ice cube (or regular ice) and top with Lambrusco. Garnish with a rosemary skewered blackberry
Tiegan Ford is the Marketing Coordinator at Paired, with an interest in design as well. As a novice wine drinker, she enjoys learning about wine, what foods to pair with different wines, and tasting notes to further expand her knowledge and enhance her wine tasting experience.