Saturday, I was with my family in the beautiful city of Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, where I purchased this bottle of wine. We were on a three day Holland America cruise out of Seattle, our first stop was at Victoria.
After three hours of walking around downtown Victoria, I finally saw a store I wanted to visit. The Artisan Wine Shop on Government Street. Faced with a wall of unfamiliar Canadian wines, I found this bottle of Rigamarole in the back corner of the Shop. It was one of three wines with tags stating that they were recommended by the staff. Not knowing any of the wines, I put my trust in the shops palate and took a chance with the Rigamarole Red (*there was an employee behind the wine bar, but he was uninterested in my attempts at engaging him in conversation, he would not even make eye contact - a shame).
On the wine label is posed the question – “Why is the elephant dining on hummingbird soup?” Okay... back in my room, I ignored the label and twisted off the cap and poured myself a glass. At first taste I would guess this to be a Pinot Noir, but no, it is a blend of Blend of Gamay, Pinot Noir and Merlot. One of the reasons I selected this wine is because it is a Canadian red wine and I'm intrigued by what they are doing in the Okanagan Valley. Yes, Canada is making red wine.
But how good was this Canadian red wine?
On the nose was pink carnation petals, chalk, cedar and wine barrel. It had moderate tannins backed by pleasing acidity, most noticeable down the middle of the tongue. The spicy flavor was enhanced by currant and leather, oak was present, but it was not over the top. The Rigamarole Red wrapped up with a pleasing finish and enough character to please many. At 13.5% alc. this is a food wine suitable for grilled meats, lamb kabobs, schwarma, Osso Buco and pasta with red sauce. This wine will not dominate your meal, it will compliment it and enhance it. A pretty good value for $15, recommended.
After several hours this clear ruby color wine darkens and becomes more intriguing, the nose more integrated with aromas of light anise and plum. At this point, the wine seems more suited to an antipasto plate of hard, aged cheeses, cured meats, almonds and olives. This Okanagan Valley wine should drink well over the next few years.
I've become far more sensitive to the quality of service I receive when shopping and dining out. Perhaps it's a function of age, but I respond best when people are polite and interested in engaging with me. My typical response to an indifferent wine steward/shop employee would be to walk out of the store. Saturday I chose to purchase instead of walking out, because I was only in Victoria for the day, and did not want to miss out on sampling at least one BC wine. It's a shame when employees and their employers do not value their customers enough to give them some attention. It might actually help sell more wine, eh?
Rigamarole Winery -
Artisan Wine Shop, Victoria, BC -
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