News & Events


Cream Cocktails: Fancy Grappka Lemonade

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Turning lemons into lemonade the Italian way, by distilling grape pomace into an even boozier digestif. When it comes to alcohol, Grappa is just about as zero waste as you can get. During the winemaking process, grape juice is pressed out and fermented, leaving behind skins, pulp, seeds and stems. While many consider this pomace to be waste, legend has it that a particularly thrifty Roman soldier discovered that these leftover grape remnants were in fact packed with flavor and aromatics, and could be boiled, distilled and extracted for alcohol.

This recycled grape must elixir is now a protected name under European law, and is widely produced and consumed across Italy. Typically ranging from 35-60% ABV, the potent and boozy Grappa is frequently served as a digestif or mixed straight into coffee, called a caffè corretto or “corrected coffee.” Although it got a bad rep in the past as Italy’s moonshine, in recent years, Grappa has become more popular in American bars and restaurants, where it has been recognized for it’s great potential in cocktails.

Grappa is coming up on it’s moment here in the states, and Ransom Wines & Spirits has some of the best home grown stuff you can find. Ransom’s Tad Seestedt released his first Grappa in 1997, and has been making it in limited production ever since. Based in the Willamette Valley, Ransom’s Grappa is carefully crafted to an unparalleled standard of quality. Aromatic white varieties are harvested at optimum ripeness and lightly pressed. The free-run juice becomes wine while the pomace, which still holds a high percentage of juice, is used for the grappa. The pomace is covered with water, lightly pressed and distilled in alambic copper stills. The resulting Grappa is an elegant, effusive expression of both the varietal character of the grapes and the time-honored traditions of fermentation and alembic distillation. An ethereal, inviting nose showcases elderflower, heirloom pear, and tea rose. Hints of stone fruit and cassia show on a long, elegant finish. Drink neat, pour into your coffee, or add to your bar as your new favorite mixer.

Fancy Grappka Lemonade

Ingredients
1oz Valentine Vodka
1oz Ransom Wines & Spirits Grappa
.75oz Lemon Oleo Sacchrum
Check out Difford’s Guide for the ultimate Lemon Oleo recipe
.25 Lemon Juice

Directions
Shake, strain over Ice in Collins glass.


National Rum Day: Negroni x Admiral Rodney

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The not-so-secret ingredient in your favorite tiki cocktails, rum is made from sugarcane juice, cane syrup or molasses that has been fermented, distilled, and frequently aged in oak barrels. While today it is produced around the world, the heart of rum’s production is found in the Caribbean, where it was first distilled from the sugar canes planted by European colonizers. Distinct styles evolved from the islands different production methods, which can be generally grouped into British, Spanish and French-style rum.

Rum has been intertwined with the Caribbean’s culture and heritage for nearly 400 years. The Authentic Caribbean Rum (ACR) Marque was developed to celebrate this history, and act as a symbol of authenticity, provenance and quality for rums within the West Indies Rum and Spirts Producers’ Association Inc. (WIRSPA) family. This marque on the bottle indicates the rum was distilled in one of 30 Caribbean distilleries that have guaranteed the origin and provenance of their rum. No additives are permitted to ACR rums, and the age indicated on the bottle must be the youngest of the blend in the bottle. As usage of the marque grows it will act as a visual symbol to help trade customers and consumers identify ACR brands as a distinct sector within the drinks industry.

Chairman’s Reserve Rum was the first rum in the US to bear the ACR marquee. Chairman’s rums are produced by St. Lucia Distillers, the only distillery on the island of St. Lucia, and the home base for Bounty and Admiral Rodney rums. St. Lucia Distillers has four different stills, which gives them the ability to make different rums with varying flavor profiles. These British-style rums capture the island’s dynamic and festive qualities, which stem from the island’s traditional and cultural roots.

The Admiral Rodney series of rare and matured rums are handcrafted using traditional methods with an unbreakable commitment to quality. All Admiral Rodney rums are distilled using the distillery’s 45-plate Coffey still, which was commissioned in 1984. Admiral Rodney rums are extracted from the bottom plates of the Coffey still as these distillates have the balance of flavors which enable a long maturation period to provide intensity and complexity. All of the rums are aged in old bourbon barrels.

Negroni x Admiral Rodney

Ingredients
1.5oz Admiral Rodney Princessa
.75oz Bordiga Aperitivo
.75oz Ransom Sweet Vermouth

Directions Stir, strain into coupe or over a large rock (which ever you prefer) express and garnish with an orange peel.


Taking it Slow with Slacker

slacker.jpgOne of the most revered producers in Paso Robles, Matt Trevisan’s conceptual and artisan wines have made him a pioneer in California’s small production wine movement. Born in South California, Matt moved to San Luis Obispo in 1990 to study biochemistry at Cal Poly University. It was during this period that he began apprenticing at local wineries, sparking his passion in winemaking and (unknowingly) launching a career in the field. Matt started Linne Calodo in 1998 as a side project while driving forklifts at Wild Horse Winery, with the intention of producing small batch, low intervention wines that showed the very best of West Paso terroir. 

And that he did - always fine-tuning, Matt has become known for his impressive, fresh blends of Central Coast grown Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache and Zinfandel (among others). Polyculture is thriving. Vineyards are farmed sustainably, and vines are surrounded by oak trees, olives and fruit trees. In the cellar, there’s no formula - Matt makes wine by the taste and feel, crushing fruit straight into the barrel. 

Linne Calodo’s minimalist wines have gained a cult following among passionate consumers and sophisticated somms alike, and Slacker, Matt’s second label, has all there is to love at a more accessible price point. Straight out of the Line Calodo cellar, the first vintage of Slacker was released in 2003, and is now it’s own label. In Matt’s own words, if Slacker was forced pronounce a philosophy it might be this: “Whatever. It’s wine. Just enjoy it.”

Matt’s wines are a balance between art and science, and Slacker’s cinematic, alternative labels fit the bill. The labels are part of a long overdue collaboration with Director and Photographer Philip Andelman, who helped out with a Calodo harvest in 2005 and continues to be a friend of the winery. Philip started his career working for photographer Annie Leibovitz, and later began directing music videos and commercials for a wide range of artists and clients such as Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Nora Jones, Nike and NFL. Alongside film work, Philip recently returned to photography, working closely in the past few years with a select handful of musicians, casually following them on and off the road. From Jack White to Ryan Adams, the Beastie Boys and Beck. Philips work has evolved out of his love of music and travel, his series of photographs resembling scrapbooks chronicling his life.

Swimming with the big boys but having more fun doing it, Slacker wines don’t worry about expectations, reviews, and scores. Grapes are manually harvested, sorted by hand and ferment with native yeast. These fun blends showcase Matt’s ability to constantly keep creating and pioneering the exciting possibilities of the Paso Robles wine regions.

Slacker Wines 2017 ‘Pink’ Rose of Grenache, Paso Robles
Dry, refreshing and fuller bodied, the Pink has become a staple in the Cream fridge. 100% saignee Grenache, the Pink get it’s rose-hued color from 1-3 hours of skin contact. This is a complex Rose, with notes of dried strawberries, citrus and white flowers. With more depth and flesh than other summer sippers, the balanced Pink is a total food wine. Pairs great with grilled chicken, summer vegetables or watermelon feta salad.

Slacker Wines 2016 ‘Stereotype’ Paso Robles
A Paso Robles Côtes du Rhône-style wine, the Stereotype is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. Notes of raspberry, plum and bramble fruit are balanced with light, smooth tannins. Grenache lends some spice to this medium bodied red, with hints of cinnamon and anise. The Stereotype is an easy-drinker with depth. Light, bright and full of flavor, this is a quintessential BBQ wine - with the lazy day morning-after label to boot.

Slacker Wines 2016 ‘Wanna Be’ Paso Robles
Don’t worry about dessert - the Wanna Be is a savory glass of blackberry pie. Jammy, full bodied and super smooth, this is Zin for your friend who doesn’t like Zin. This is another well balanced, fresh and fruit forward red from Slacker, with a bit of spice and sweet, smoky tobacco. The Zin-Syrah-Mourvedre blend make for a rich, red fruit driven wine with depth. Ringing in at 15% alcohol, this is the perfect wine for pizza nights, pot lucks and curry-spiced dishes.


FEATURED: New Producer Alert! The Farm of Seven Moons

New Producer from the Northern Rhône: La Ferme des Sept Lunes

Letter from Andy Pates:
A few years ago, friend and colleague Doug Polaner introduced us to La Ferme des Sept Lunes by sharing some bottles and knowledge. If you know Doug, this is a common occurrence. I found the Sept Lunes wines to be singular, energetic and alive. They are undeniably Northern Rhone, but not as weighty, polished, or fancy as expected from years of emotional wine baggage. I was immediately attracted to the freshness and friendliness of the wines as well as the start of a lively evolved secondary.

This past January in France I was able to meet and taste with Jean Delobre of La Ferme des Sept Lunes and secure a small allocation for Illinois. Thank you Doug and Jean for such an honor to be in collaboration. These wines have recently arrived and are available for purchase. Reach out to your Cream sales representative for availability and tasting.

Cheers!
Andy


FermedesSeptLunes_Jean.jpg Founded in 1984, third generation Jean Delobre is the current proprietor and vigneron of his family farm La Ferme des Sept Lunes (The Farm of Seven Moons). Sept Lunes is located in the hilltop village of Bogy, between Vienne and Valence, and is one of the highest estates in Saint-Joseph (about 1,150 feet above the valley floor), which exposes it to cool winds. Polyculture is practiced to create a harmonious environment for the plants to thrive naturally. The biodiversity is truly majestic; wildflowers, grasses, and fruit trees grow in and around the vines. Meadows and grains fill several hectares on the property. The land is biodynamically farmed; conversion took place back in 1997.

Jean owns 30 hectares of which only about 7-10 hectares are planted to the grapes Syrah (50%), Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier, and Gamay. The vines range in age and composition. The soil is primarily granite. The wines are designated Saint-Joseph AOC (Syrah for red and Roussanne/Marsanne for white) as well as Vin de France. Each wine is site specific; parcels are vinified separately in an effort to capture the individual characteristics of each terroir.

Patience is key in the cellar. Jean Delobre allows the wines to evolve at their own pace. After the grapes are harvested by hand with careful sorting, they ferment spontaneously with wild yeast. Various fermentation and aging vessels are used. There is no new oak. Transparency of flavors and terroir is Jean’s goal. Malolactic fermentation occurs naturally. No additives are used with one exception; a low amount of sulfites are added at bottling only when it’s absolutely unavoidable.

The result? La Ferme des Sept Lunes wines have incredible energy, freshness, and depth of flavor that have earned the farm a cult following. The high elevation helps provide acidity and freshness to the wines. The natural winemaking creates texture and tension. There is a classic simplicity to the flavors; these are not funky natural wines. They are pure and alive with depth and delicious juiciness.

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La Ferme des Sept Lunes 2017 ‘Lune Rousse’ Saint-Joseph Blanc AOC The Roussanne is sourced from multiple parcels with varied exposure on a cool hillside. The resulting wine has beautiful tension and real energy. It is a bit reminiscent of dry Chenin Blanc. Expect lemon, apricot, and white peach on a creamy, medium-bodied palate.

La Ferme des Sept Lunes 2016 Saint-Joseph Blanc AOC The Roussanne and Marsanne grapes were manually harvested. Then they were vinified in stainless steel with indigenous yeast and aged separately for one year in old oak barrels. Malolactic fermentation occurred. The result is an impressive Saint-Joseph Blanc. This is waxy, earthy, and saline with incredible freshness and tension.

La Ferme des Sept Lunes 2016 ‘Pleine Lune’ Saint-Joseph AOC Pleine Lune, or “Full Moon,” is sourced from four hillside parcels in Saint-Désirat totaling 1.2 hectares. The vineyards have a southern exposure. The vines are biodynamically farmed with fruit trees, lilacs and wild herbs growing throughout the terraces.
The grapes are destemmed into concrete vats for spontaneous fermentation. Daily pump overs and foot pigéage is done. The Syrah ages in a combination of 80% neutral demi-muids and 20% old barrels for 12 months, then 3-4 months in tank before being bottled unfined, unfiltered, and without SO2.

La Ferme des Sept Lunes 2016 ‘Premier Quartier’ Saint-Joseph AOC Premier Quartier Saint-Joseph is a blend of multiple parcels with varied exposure on the Peyraud plateau. Plantings are from the early 1980s as well as massale selection vines from 2006-2008. The grapes are destemmed into concrete vats for spontaneous fermentation. Daily pump overs and foot pigéage is done. The Syrah ages in a combination of 90% old barrels and 10% neutral demi-muids for 12 months, then 3-4 months in tank before being bottled unfined, unfiltered, and with a about 15 mg/L of SO2.

La Ferme des Sept Lunes 2016 Saint-Joseph, Chemin Faisant, AOC
The grapes are destemmed into concrete vats for spontaneous fermentation. Daily pump overs and foot pigéage is done. The Syrah ages in a combination of 80% neutral demi-muids and 20% old barrels for 12 months, then 3-4 months in tank before being bottled unfined, unfiltered, and without SO2.


Move over Malbec, it's Bonarda's time to shine

pura.jpgBonarda is one of those wines that needs an intro - but we promise it’s worth the read. Bonarda, also known as Charbono, is a rare French variety that made its way across the pond with early European immigrants. Originally from Savoie, where it is called Douce Noir, new world Bonarda plantings in Argentina and California have historically been confused for the Italian variety, Bonarda Piemontese. Whatever you call it, these wines are loved for their juicy acidity, medium body and complex, fruity palate. Plantings of the true Douce Noir are limited - California’s Charbono plantings cover less than 100 acres of land. Limited Charbono supply has been brought back into the domestic market by passionate winemakers like Robert Foley, who’s winemaking career started with his first taste of Inglenook Winery’s 1969 Charbono straight from the cask.

Looking to get your hands on some of this sought after juice? While plantings are rare in California, Bonarda production trails right behind Malbec in Argentina. Bonarda was first introduced to Argentina at the end of the 19th century by European immigrants. At first thought to be the Italian variety, Bonarda Piemontese, it was not until 2009 that genetic testing proved that Argentina’s vines were in fact Douce Noir. While grown successfully in all parts of Argentina, the thin skinned and late ripening Bonarda thrives in Mendoza and San Juan’s warm, dry climate, where cool nights facilitate juicy acidity. Argentina’s Bonarda wines can be further recognized for their low tannins, low alcohol, and complex aromatics and palate, with notes of black cherry, plum, and allspice. This balancing act makes for ample food pairings; Bonarda’s medium body, lower tannins and high acidity make it a great match for spicy foods, pork and fish.

Bonarda is Malbec’s cool cousin that we definitely want to invite to the party, and we hope Matias Michelini comes too. Matias is the winemaker and agronomist of Via Revolucionaria, located in Tupungato, Uco Valley in the Mendoza. Matias strives to make experimental wines that express terroir. These wines are extremely low production and are drawn from multiple inspirations, regions, and styles. The wines are all sourced from a single vineyard and fermented with native yeast.

Via Revolucionaria 2018 ‘Pura’ Bonarda, Mendoza
The Bonarda grapes are sourced from the Manuel Pelegrina Vineyard in Tupungato, planted in 1972. This 100% carbonic macerated Bonarda was harvested by hand over four separate passages, and fermented with indigenous yeast. Ringing in at 12% ABV, Pura is an easy drinker with finesse. This wine has great tension and bright acidity, balanced by a soft and round midpalate. Acid jumps out at you from the glass, with notes of tart cherry and mixed berry jam.


When She Asks for Sauv Blanc

IMG_0827.jpgHailing from the Iberian Peninsula’s maritime coast, Albariño (alba-reen-yo) is the flagship wine of Galicia and the frequent guest star in Portugal’s fizzy and chuggable Vinho Verde. The heart of Spain’s Albariño production is found in Rías Biaxas, a wine region spanning the northwest coastline. These green-skinned grapes make for highly approachable wines with serious finesse. Albarino’s tend to be dry and racy with a bit of salinity, distinguished further by notes of citrus, stone fruit, and floral aromatics.

Fresh, crisp, and refreshing (think Sauv Blanc’s fun cousin), Albariño’s are made to be drunk like a Rías Biaxas local, with as much sunshine and seafood as you can come by. Light-bodied and acidic, Albariño’s can also take their fair share of of heat; they make a great pair to Thai curries and spicy fish stews. And don’t let these bottles collect any dust as Albariño is best enjoyed young, typically within 2 years after harvest.

The cat’s out of the bag… Albariño rocks! It’s popularity has soared over the past few decades, making it’s way onto wine lists everywhere. In Rías Biaxas, the number of vineyards have grown from 33 at it’s DO inception in 1988, to hundreds today. Albariño production has also found it’s way to the West Coast, popping up in both California and the Pacific Northwest. These stateside Albariño’s tend to be a bit riper than Galician grapes, while still showing notes of minerality and citrus aromatics.

There’s certainly a lot to love about Albariño, and lucky for us, we have enough of it to last the summer. Check out some of our favorites below.

Bodegas Zarate 2018 Albarino, Rías Biaxas DO
Fresh, fruity and balanced, with persisting minerality that upholds the integrity of Bodega Zarate’s mineral-rich, yellow granite soil. This is a fantastic Albariño. A fresh sea salt nose blends with citrus and a hint of anise spice.

Pazo Do Mar 2018 ‘Castelo do Mar’ Albarino, Rías Biaxas DO
A single vineyard estate Albariño to write home about. ‘Castelo do Mar’ opens with notes of honeysuckle, lemons and peaches. Aromatic and just dry enough, with a super concentrated finish. This Albariño is screaming for some ceviche, but will also pair great with grilled chicken, flaky white fish and spicy curries.

Ransom 2017 Albarino, Willamette Valley
Jump stateside for this Oregon Albariño. Ransom’s 2017 Albariño opens with fresh and vibrant aromatics of Meyer lemon and wildflower honey. On the palate, acid-driven flavors of lemon pastille and Asian pear complement layers of minerality and sur lie creaminess. The wine finishes with nerve and great energy.

Bodegas Albamar 2018 ‘Albamar’ Albarino, Rías Biaxas DO
Push me right into this minerally glass full of honey, citrus and stone fruit. Albamar’s 2018 vintage opens with killer aromatics reminiscent of a grilled prawn paella and sunshine filled Rías Biaxas vacation we haven’t taken yet. Peaches and pear, orange zest and beeswax.


Boiling Point 173: Cream x Sportsmans Cocktail Lineup

SportsmansCocktails.jpg Sportsman’s did some magic with our spirits last week for the Boiling Point 173 after party. Check out the recipe’s below!

#1
Ingredients
1.5oz Fortaleza Blanco
0.5oz Valdespino Amontillado
0.75oz Strawberry Hibiscus Syrup
0.5oz Lemon juice
Raventos Blanc de Blancs

Directions
Shake, serve tall topped with Raventos Blanc de Blancs Garnish with lemon peel

#2
Ingredients
1.5oz Chairman’s Reserve Original
0.5oz Mata Vermouth Blanco
0.75 Passion Fruit Syrup
0.25 Simple Syrup
0.75 Lime juice
Dash Absinthe
Dash Angostura

Directions
Shake, serve on the rocks
Garnish with mint sprig and dash Angostura on top

#3
Ingredients
1.5oz Ransom Old Tom Gin
0.75oz Mata Vermouth Blanco
0.5 Luicen Jacob Framboise
0.5 Simple syrup
0.75 Lemon Juice
Dash Angostura

Directions
Shake, serve down

#4
Ingredients
1.5oz Valentine Vodka
0.75oz Valdespino Manzanilla
0.75oz Grapefruit juice
0.75oz Lime juice
0.5oz Cane syrup
Pinch of salt
Tonic
Garnish: Grapefruit slice

Directions
Shake, serve tall topped with tonic
Garnish w/ Grapefruit half moon


Cream Cocktail: Old Pal

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With two books and an eponymous cocktail bar, Irish-born Harry MacElhone has given the drinking world a lot to sip on. After a stint working behind American wells, Harry made his way to Paris after the start of the First World War. In 1922, he began working at the Parisian bar, New York Bar, and he became such a hit around town that within the year they added his name to the sign. The notorious Harry’s New York Bar became the stomping ground for many a famous guest, including the likes of Ernest Sounding and CoCo Chanel.

The three-ingredient cocktail, Old Pal, makes an appearance in Harry’s 1927 book, Barflies and Cocktails. Named after New York Herald sports editor and Harry’s bar patron, William “Sparrow” Robinson, Old Pal consists of rye whiskey, dry vermouth and campari. Sound like a Boulevardier? You’re spot on! Old Pal is the drier, lighter version of the popular cocktail. In our twist on the Old Pal, we swapped out Campari for the Rossa Sicily Amara, lending unique depth and complexity.

Cream’s Old Pal

Ingredients:
1 1/2 Bull Run Straight Bourbon

3/4 oz Rossa Sicily Amara

3/4 Ransom Dry Vermouth

Garnish: lemon peel

Directions:

Stir the three ingredients together until well chilled (about 20 seconds). Strain into either a chilled cocktail glass or over rock. Garnish with lemon peel.


Cream Cocktail: Blood Orange Margarita

bloodorangemargarita.jpg The Orendain family is one of the oldest names in the tequila game. Making tequila since the early 1900s, the Orendains rebranded Arette after the famous Mexican horse Arete took home gold during the 1948 London Olympics. Their Tequilas are made from 100% estate agave and fermented in open stainless steel tanks or stone vessels.

Arette’s Tequila Blanco has all the characteristics of a lowland tequila. With notes of citrus, honey, floral notes and hints of pepper, it’s a no brainer choice for margaritas. Our Blood Orange Margarita is super refreshing and easy to make - and with a splash of the Rossa Sicily Amara, you won’t need to wait for citrus season!

Blood Orange Margarita

Ingredients:
1.5 oz Tequila Arette Blanco
.5 oz Rossa Sicily Blood Orange Amara
.75 oz simple syrup
.5 oz fresh squeezed lime
lime wedge for garnish

Directions:
Prepare a coupe, cocktail or rocks glass with a salted rim. Put all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake. Strain into the glass or over ice. Garnish with lime.


Cream Cocktail: Amezgarita de Jalisco

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The Amezgarita de Jalisco is a twist on a classic margarita with Rossa Sicily’s Blood Orange Amara and Raicilla from La Venenosa. La Venenosa Raicilla was created by Chef Esteban Morales to bring these hidden jewels of agave to the United States. Esteban crisscrossed the Jalisco in search of the best producers in each region. The results today are five unique raicillas from four different regions and species of agave made by different mezcaleros and different techniques.

Raicilla is a mezcal that has been produced in the state of Jalisco for over 400 years. In the 1780’s artisans who crafted their mezcals adapted the name raicilla to avoid a mezcal tax levied by the Spanish crown. The deception worked. Most people have little knowledge of raicilla because the world’s most famous mezcal, tequila, became so popular that it overshadowed the other mezcal production in the state of Jalisco. Jalisco offers a great diversity of agave species, second only to Oaxaca. For this reason, along with diverse terroir, equipment and technique, raicillas offer an amazing journey of flavor and history.

Amezgarita de Jalisco

Ingredients:
2 oz La Venenosa Raicilla ‘Tabernas’ Maximiliana (White Label)
3/4 oz Rossa Sicily Amara
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Directions:
Shake, double strain over ice in rocks glass.
Garnish with a lime wheel.

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