Giovane wine bar menu

Giovane Café’s wine bar, open now for a handful of months, offers wine and food pairings just a stone’s throw away from the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel. I recently met with Giovane sommelier Jill Spoor to both learn about the wine menu and to taste a flight of wine and food pairings. Jill’s training includes 10 years of living and researching wine and food in Italy’s Lombardia region, later pursuing and completing an advanced wine degree from the Art Institute of Vancouver in 2008.

Giovane wine bar menu

There’s a wide array of food and Italian wine on the menu, but once Jill knows your preference for reds, whites (or both), as well as what type of cheeses and meats to prepare, a sampling is put together from the Formaggi E Salumi menu to complement the wines, broken down on Giovane’s wine menu by colour and region.

I selected two cheeses, one meat, and three wines (two whites and a red) for my tasting experience. Served alongside the dishes are whole grain bread and sea salt flatbread, all baked in-house. The wines were brought out alone at first, in order to taste them ahead of the food.

Giovane wine bar tasting

Jill explained that the wines are better appreciated when you’re able to first sip them on their own, then add the food, and lastly, bread and other condiments. In Italy, condiments aren’t typically served with food and wine; Giovane respects that lifestyle by keeping the bread basket apart from the food. The wines were arranged from light to dark. I admired the colours of each as I lifted the glasses one after another to get a small taste in my palette and note the distinct flavours.

Terradora Falanghina DOC 2009
[Terradora Falanghina DOC 2009]

My flight included a Terradora Falanghina DOC 2009 from the Campania region, a Veneto Ca’ Rugate Monte Alto Soave Classico DOC, and a G. Alessandria Barbera d’Alba DOC 2009 from Piedmonte, a region I fondly remember visiting during my university years while backpacking through Europe.

Buffalo mozzarella

The Falanghina was paired with Buffalo mozzarella, aged balsamic, and basil leaves. The light and fruity wine worked so well with the basil and soft silkiness of the Buffalo. I drizzled a little aged balsamic onto the cheese to further compliment the combination of flavours. Giovane’s mozzarella is divine, so creamy and delicate that it starts to slowly melt with each moment that it spends on the plate. Not to waste precious time, I savoured the last piece atop a slice of the still warm whole grain bread.

Ca’ Rugate Monte Alto Soave Classico DOC
[Ca’ Rugate Monte Alto Soave Classico DOC]

The sweet-salty crunchiness of candied walnuts went perfectly with the Fontina cheese and my second wine, the Veneto Ca’ Rugate Monte Alto Soave. A decidedly bolder white with a nutty flavour of its own, the pairing was a treat.

Fontina cheese, candied walnuts

My final wine, G. Alessandria Barbera d’Alba, was paired with Prosciutto di Parma served with a small dish of pear butter. This hearty red contains a mouthful of fruity aromas, to my palette reminiscent of a Pinot noir. It had a gorgeous colour and nice body to it.

G. Alessandria Barbera d'Alba DOC 2009
[G. Alessandria Barbera d’Alba DOC 2009]

The prosciutto was flavourful, not too salty, but worked so well with the soft, delicate pear butter. After first enjoying it alone with the wine, I then added a piece of whole grain bread to complete the pairing.

Prosciutto di Parma, pear butter

Giovane wine bar Enomatic wine system

The café bar showcases the Italian Enomatic wine preservation system that will keep wine fresh for 20-60 days. On stock are 24 reds and 12 whites ready to be poured in 1/2 oz., 2 oz. (for pairings), and 5 oz. (by the glass) portions.

Giovane wine bar

The rest of the café contains a few tables close to the wine bar, and a lower seating area, where some of Giovane’s famous cream buns can be ordered with coffee as well. On the night that I was there, a manager’s reception was taking place at the bar, while in the café, the after-work crowd gradually started to fill the tables. The staff is very attentive. Giovane is the perfect place to meet friends or to enjoy a meal after a walk near the waterfront.

Giovane wine and cheese pairing

Both food and wine can be ordered separately or by combining three tastings for $16, six for $30, or a full tasting that includes condiments, breads, and assorted locally made chocolates for $75. Vino Uno ($32) includes three cheeses, bread, and condiments paired with three wines. The chocolate option mentioned above is also possible for an additional $6.

Giovane wine bar

On a side note, Veneto, Italy’s largest wine producing region, will be showcased on October 12, when Giovane will offer an intimate dining experience and wine seminar from the land of Prosecco, Pinot grigio, and Amarone. Reserve by emailing Katherine.vanderGracht [at] Fairmont [dot] com for your chance to savour the best of Veneto. This event will be held at the Giovane Café from 7 to 8:30 pm.


  • Pingback by A Taste of Giovane Café’s Wine Bar | The Vespa Diaries | — October 3, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

    […] A Taste of Giovane Café’s Wine Bar Giovane Café's wine bar, open now for a handful of months, offers wine and food pairings just a stone's throw away from the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel. Source: […]

  • Comment by Amy — October 5, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

    Thanks for posting! I’m going there this week so this post has got me excited. The food servings, the cheese in particular, look quite generous which is a welcomed surprise.

  • Comment by arianec — October 11, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

    Hi Amy,

    How was Giovane?

  • Comment by Andrew — October 14, 2011 @ 12:01 am

    Perfect I know were I’ll be after school.

  • Pingback by Novo Pizzeria: Crusty Goodness | ariane c design — November 7, 2011 @ 1:04 pm

    […] Enomatic is starting to make more appearances in our city. This Italian state of the art wine preservation system will keep wine fresh for 20-60 […]

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