The ambience at Ricco Bambino is Italian elegance meets new nostalgia; understated and fun, inviting and relaxed. It’s feminine with a sexy, masculine edge – think Sean Connery as Bond in Thunderball in his open pink shirt and white shorts. The upholstery is crushed velvet; the colour scheme is light pink and pale gold, accented with large potted palms, green spaces and two state-of-the-art concrete and stainless-steel tanks. This space is every iconic image you’ve ever known: Sophia Loren’s ’70s-style mink coat, Michelle Pfeiffer’s long white halter dress in Scarface, Madonna strutting the stage in her iconic Gaultier bustier. Everything here screams Rome, yet somehow feels like Kelowna. This urban winery blurs the lines between winery, wine shop and bar.
Typically, wineries start as estates growing grapes, and slowly evolve into becoming wineries. Ricco Bambino, on the other hand, started by making wines to suit its vision and then found a space. Though this winery’s evolution was avant-garde, be assured the operators know what they’re doing. Unusual as their approach might be, it has allowed them certain freedoms. In particular, the ability — from vintage to vintage — to select the very best organic grapes from a variety of estates in the South Okanagan, thus guaranteeing top quality fruit to create enticing, unforgettable, minimal-interference wines that showcase the region’s unique microclimate.
Introducing Crooked Crown
Ricco Bambino recently purchased Crooked Crown, a gorgeous 10-acre estate in Oliver, a region celebrated for the quality of its terroir. The winery is planning for the future. Eventually, they want a land-based winery housed on the estate; a site where they can continue creating their special brand of less-is-more wines.
Come Enjoy a Personal Wine Experience
Another significant distinction is their wine-tasting philosophy. Here, the emphasis is on crafting a personal wine experience centred around the needs of the guest. The sommelier will visit the guest’s table. Learn from them as little or as much as you like; if you’re curious, go deep. If not, relax and enjoy the wines. Tastings feature three or six wines, all extraordinary. Our advice: try all six.
Start with the Kicked Out of the Country Club Brut, a Metodo Italiano Sparkling Brut that, like Ricco Bambino’s ambience, is delightfully light and classic. This wine goes down far too easily. It’s crisp and fresh with subtle lemon notes, peaches and blossoms. Invite your significant other to indulge and share a bottle.
Very Troubled Child Rosé Brut is a Metodo Italiano Sparkling Rosé Brut the same colour of pink as the winery’s walls. It is elegant, yet approachable, filled with endless fine bubbles. Imagine hints of sumptuous cherry blossom cream, ripe strawberries and bright red cherries.
Unrefined, unfiltered, unapologetic, the Syrah is tremendously drinkable. Brave and bursting with bold red fruits, it emulates classic white pepper with a complementry yet subtle bouquet of lavender, sage and aloe. It’s a brilliant example of what nature can produce under a masterful but gentle hand.
The Rosé is a charming enigma, made of 100% Cabernet Franc. It’s field strawberries with a hit of savoury aromatics and a kick of dry spice. Perfect for drinking après shoe-shopping with friends. Be warned: it’s mouth-watering, and with only 350 cases, it certainly won’t last.
The Vino Bianco is a charismatic blend of Riesling and Viognier. Crisp, bright and refreshing, it’s also far too drinkable — it’s nearly impossible to drink only one glass. This persuasive wine presents notes of pineapple, pear, bright lemon and white flower, with a subtle mineral finish.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Viognier. Light and dry, it presents plush aromatics with a sumptuous mouthfeel of apricot, pineapple and ripe lemon pulp. Textured floral notes and lemon drops linger for a long finish. It is a wine designed for hot, lingering Sunday afternoons on the patio.
Get Your Limited Edition Wines
Not only are Ricco Bambino’s wines scrumptious but they’re packaged beautifully. The bottles, which are made in France by Verallia and Saver glass, look like antique decanters. The glass stops look like crystal doorknobs and can be reused. All Ricco Bambino’s wines are limited editions. They’re available online, at The Curious Café and La Bussola Restaurant, and at Ricco Bambino’s in Kelowna, where the motto is: “Come for a taste, stay for a glass, leave with a bottle.”