News & Events

FEATURED: Warehouse Tasting & Sale 2020

This October marks our 20th anniversary. What a long strange trip it’s been!

Thank you for being on this incredible ride with us. There will be more fanfare (and schwag) in the weeks and probably months to come.

A time-honored tradition of ours has been to host the Illinois beverage community at our Pilsen warehouse for the annual Cream Warehouse Tasting & Sale usually held around the last day of summer or first day of fall depending on your vibe. We grill encased meats, listen to music, and showcase new and upcoming releases, dust off some old favorites, and sharpen the pencil on some overall deliciousness that needs attention, fans and good homes. We skipped last year due to office renovations. For obvious reasons, we cannot have an in-person tasting this year.

Always meant to be a celebratory tasting—our thank you to the community—we have decided to try something new. Our Warehouse “Tasting” & Sale items are going virtual and will drop 9.21.2020 (trade only)! We hope you find many items that can continue to make you profitable this fall, winter and beyond.

We appreciate your business and support now more than ever. Stay safe. Stay strong.








FEATURED: Skeptic Distillery

“I always thought most liquor tasted harsh, needing mixers or chasers to drink. I wanted fresher tasting and smoother spirits. As a homebrewer and craft beer lover, I saw that cold distillation would allow me to take the huge variety and creativity of craft beer into the whiskey and gin world, and create entirely new, fresh tasting spirits.” - Karl Loepke, President

Located in Melrose Park, Illinois, Skeptic Distillery is spearheading the future of spirits distilling. They are using a little known process called cold vacuum distillation, and are one of only a handful in the world using this cutting-edge technology.

Vacuum distillation is a process that distills spirits at cooler temperatures (around 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit), without applying high heat. High heat distillation can change the quality of many aromas. In this vacuum, ethanol distills at room temperature, allowing the delicate and otherwise unattainable botanical flavors to blossom, which then shine through in the finished spirit.

Founder Karl Loepke custom build Skeptic’s two vacuum distillation systems. One is used to craft their award-winning gin and vodka, and one is used to convert beer into whiskey. The resulting spirits are smooth, versatile, fresh, and flavorful. The vodka and gin are both corn based, naturally gluten free, and free of artificial additives or sugars.

Social Media
Instagram: @skepticdistillery
Facebook: @skepticchicago
Twitter: @skepticchicago

FEATURED: Valentina Passalacqua

We have imported and distributed the wines of Valentina Passalacqua in Illinois since October 2019.

We are aware of the arrest of Valentina’s father, Settimio and the allegations of underpaying migrant workers as well as not providing safe working conditions in his agricultural businesses. We are also aware that, while not formally charged, Valentina has been implicated for allegedly using these same workers in her vineyards as well as still having ownership and involvement in her father’s businesses in question.

Valentina maintains she runs her wine business independently and treats and pays her workers fairly.

We take all these allegations very seriously and have asked Valentina for detailed information, transparency and a plan of action going forward. We will monitor this information and process all developments, independent news and reports, as well as do our best to follow the facts and our feelings before deciding whether or not to continue importing her wines. We believe in fairness and due process.

We currently have a selection of Valentina Passalacqua wines in stock. Our sales team does not have to sell these wines if they do not want to. We also understand if our trade clients do not want to purchase and support these wines, need to pause or would like any of these wines picked up. Regardless of the outcome, we will be donating a portion of the sales of this inventory to charities of our choosing and supporting local organizations defending migrant worker and immigration rights.

To be clear, in order for us to continue a collaboration, we require all workers be treated with dignity, safety, fairness and paid a livable wage. We also ask for reparations and real leadership to help dismantle the systemic abuse of migrant agricultural workers in this region.

We are learning more about the ‘caporalato’ phenomenon, a system prevalent in Puglia, that exploits migrant workers, violates minimum wage requirements, imposes inhumane working conditions and perpetuates racial and economic segregation.

We realize sadly that this is not the only region, country or industry where worker exploitation exists. Hopefully with more awareness, accountability, transparency and collective leadership, positive changes will result around the world. As for Puglia, we hope that Valentina and her family can use their land, wealth and influence to be leaders in changing what appears to be a broken system. We are all too familiar with broken systems in the United States. We all can do better.

We believe that regardless of size or scope, every business must pay their workers a fair wage, treat them well and provide access to healthcare. Businesses must also not discriminate based on gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Anything less is not real or sustainable and should not be acceptable or tolerated in a free society.

Andy Pates
Cream Wine Co

FEATURED: New Producer Alert! The seaside ciders of Cidrerie du Leguer


Cédric Le Bloas was born and raised in Brittany, France, a five hour, scenic drive west from Paris and a welcome refuge from the tourist’s beaten path. With a wild and lengthy rugged coastline, the peninsula is known for it’s pink-ish hued sands, thick forests and strong Celtic heritage. Compared to Normandy, the well-known heart of cider production in France and Brittany’s inland neighbor to the north, the more maritime, extreme climate of Brittany lends a hand in producing excellent artisanal ciders with a higher level of acidity, bitterness and ability to handle a little more residual sugar.

Cédric left Brittany to study agriculture and travel through France, but he and his wife Kate eventually made their return to the peninsula, upon which discovering a four hectare large, “almost abandoned” cider farm in the town of Lannion. Featuring granite soils with various levels of clay and a diverse mix of both heirloom and indigneous apple trees, it was here that the couple embarked on their next adventure, Cidrerie du Léguer, celebrating their inaugral 2016 vintage soon after.

Cédric and his wife (along with their trusty labrador, Goël) farm organically, but the truth is even more simple than this: they mow the law, prune the trees, and encourage natural predators for pest control. That’s it. In true Bronson Alcott, Fruitlands-era spirit, Cédric collects apples only once they have fallen, putting them in crates to further ripen. From harvest to bottling, all work is done by hand and with minimal intervention. Instead of filtering the juice, Cédric uses the old-school process of “keeving” to clean the musts and remove pectin. Apples are washed with simply water, all fermentations occur naturally and the ciders are bottled with no sulfur or other additives.

Still in the early years of production, Cidrerie du Leguer’s terroir-driven ciders already have an undeniable depth and toothsome grip. Cédric is continuing to focus on experimentation, tasting and learning. His ciders are neither totally rustic, nor polished and suave; they feel rounded and brimming with flavor, yet crystalline and direct. The key, as Cédric sees it, is learning to tame the apple’s high acidity and fine but very pervasive tannins. Early experiments with black currant (for the rosé) and hops have resulted in beautiful, integrated ciders that have more complexity, yet don’t lose their vinous quality. Cidrerie de Leuger’s first chapter has begun, and we could not be more excited to introduce these ciders to Illinois.

Cidrerie du Leguer 2018 ‘BrutBrut’ Cidre, Cidre de Bretagne IGP
Cidrerie du Leguer 2018 ‘Granit’ Cidre, Cidre de Bretagne IGP
Cidrerie du Leguer 2018 ‘Granit’ Rose Cidre, Brittany
Cidrerie du Leguer 2018 ‘Premium’ Cidre, Cidre de Bretagne IGP

Happy Presidents' Day! Drink like George Washington

This fortified wine has a longevity that is simply remarkable. Plus, it doesn’t go bad once opened! The powerful aromas and vivid flavors last for centuries, and upon open, the wine can still last for years without losing character.

Madeira has great acidity that makes it a wonderful accompaniment to any meal. Egg tarts (pasteis de nata) are a staple in any Portuguese bakery. Walk into a cafe on an afternoon, and you’ll certainly see people enjoying their custard tarts with a small glass of semi-dry madeira. (Guess what? You can try this combo at Fat Rice!) The harmony between the meal and the madeira will depend on the acidity, alcohol content, and degree of sweetness the madeira possesses, which brings us to the different kinds of madeira wine.

Madeira = The Everlasting Wine
This fortified wine has a longevity that is simply remarkable. Plus, it doesn’t go bad once opened! The powerful aromas and vivid flavors last for centuries, and upon open, the wine can still last for years without losing character.

Madeira has great acidity that makes it a wonderful accompaniment to any meal. Egg tarts (pasteis de nata) are a staple in any Portuguese bakery. Walk into a cafe on an afternoon, and you’ll certainly see people enjoying their custard tarts with a small glass of semi-dry madeira. (Guess what? You can try this combo at Fat Rice!) The harmony between the meal and the madeira will depend on the acidity, alcohol content, and degree of sweetness the madeira possesses, which brings us to the different kinds of madeira wine.

Vintage Madeira

Vintage madeira, or Frasqueira, produced by the solera system are the island of Madeira’s claim to greatness. These wines are not simply a selection of the best wines from the best years, but they are made from particular ‘noble’ grape varieties after which the wines are named. These names not only describe the grape variety, but also describe the style.

Sercial is the driest of the wines. It is light in color, full-bodied and refreshing. Try this wine with toasted almonds, smoked fish, sushi, or sheep cheese.

Verdelho is a medium dry wine. It is golden in color. Try this wine with dry fruits, fresh cream soups and mushroom dishes.

Boal is a medium rich wine. It is full-bodied and fruity. Try this wine with tropical fruits, fruit tarts, soft cheese, or with older Boal try mature cheese.

Malvasia is a rich and oily wine. It is dark in color, full-bodied and aromatic. Try with walnuts, hazelnuts, fruit tarts, dark chocolate, pralines, and blue cheese.

Two Rare Madeira Grapes

You can only find the grape Bastardo in old vintages and soleras. Many Madeira drinkers have never seen a bottle, owing to its miniscule yields and vulnerability to insects, little was ever planted and even less was ever bottled on its own. Even though Bastardo is a sweet grape, the style of the vintage wines is often on the dry side. But some glorious old vintages do exist.

The Terrantez grape is hardly grown anymore, and with many vines killed from phylloxera, the wine is also rare to come by. However, efforts are underway to replant the variety. This wine can produce two styles of Madeira - rich and sweet or dry with a certain bitterness at the end.

Madeira = A Versatile Ingredient
Madeira is a multifunctional fortified wine! It can be used in baking, similar to the use of dry sherry. We remember Fat Rice once using it to make jelly cubes for a chocolate mousse cake; we love how that restaurant experiments a lot with madeira. Similarly, the wine can be used for savory recipes like adding it to classic Beef Wellington gravy or marinating pork chops. Cocktails! If you don’t like drinking madeira neat, then try it in a cocktail. Madeira can create complex and delicious cocktails - sweet or savory.

History & Trade Winds
Were it not for the sailors traveling to the Americas, Africa, and India, this grand wine might have never been. Trade winds took their ships to the Portuguese island of Madeira along their voyage; this island did not tax wine like those levied on the French wines. The American colonies perhaps drank madeira to defy taxes! Sailors would fill their ship with wine in Madeira as well as add brandy to prevent spoilage on the long journeys. Fortification, oxidation, and something else, unknown at the time, were at work creating the madeira style we have today: the sun. The blazing heat of the sun during the voyage transformed the flavor. These wines began to be called vina da roda “wines of the round voyage” as producers sent casks of the wine on voyages around the world in order to develop greater character from heating.

Today, once fortified, the wines either go through estufagem or canteiro to become heated.

FEATURED: Unpasteurized Cream 2020: Pizza and Natural Wine

UnpasteurizedCream_offsoiftradeinvite_2020 (1).jpg

Thank you for everyone who came out to the tasting. Much love to you all!

Invite artwork by our friend Catie Olson:

#lovepotion: A Dozen Rosés

If you’re like us, we’d prefer a dozen rosés to a dozen roses any day. We’ve singled out (no pun intended!) several rosés that make the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. Looking for a list of all our rosés? Click here.

Domaine Montrose 1701 & Domaine Montrose Prestige
These are the top rosé wines by our favorite rosé producer Domaine Montrose, established in 1701 and family-owned since. Not only are the bottles simply beautiful, the wines can technically be a 3-in-1 gift!
1. A bottle of delicious rosé
2. Glass stopper turns the bottle into a reusable pitcher
3. Peel the label off and that’s one fine looking vase

Zorzal 2018 Terroir Unico Pinot Noir Rose, Tupungato
Is it too soon to start our countdown to spring? Probably, but at least this rosé from Zorzal tastes just as good in the snow. Crisp and vibrant with notes of strawberries, raspberries and fresh cut watermelon.

Le Fraghe 2018 ‘Rodon’ Bardolino Chiaretto: Le Fraghe means strawberries and is named after the wild strawberries that grow among the vines on this organic estate. Cue “Strawberry Fields Forever” by The Beatles. Not a Beatles fan? What about Shakespeare? This estate is only 29 minutes from Verona “the city of love” where the story of Romeo and Juliet unfolds.

Summer Water 2018 Rosé in both 750ml AND 187ml

How does a rosé with the name “Summer Water” tie into a cold, Chicago Valentine’s Day? This is where the idea of a love potion really comes into play. Perhaps if you give a bottle of this, that winter relationship just might make it to summer…#rawrr

Benanti 2018 Etna Rosato & Azores 2018 Rosé Vulcanico:
About to ASH the question? Does he/she MAGMA you crazy? Is it a relationship of great MAGMATUDE? We could go on and on, but seriously these volcanic wines are delicious and unique and perfect for that special someone

Villa Creek 2018 Rosé, Paso Robles
Grow with love. We’re not sure if those are vines or tree branches on the label. We are sure that the label is soothing to look at. This organic GMS blend showcases strawberries, melons and spring flowers.

Lammidia 2017 ‘Miscela’ Rosé, Abruzzo: Dame más gasolina! As the name of the wine anticipates (Miscela means blend in Italian), we are faced with a super blend of white, rosé and red wines intended to create an explosive mixture for enjoyability and drinkability. It’s the fuel to light that fire on V-day.

Absentee 2018 ‘I Love You My Dear’ Rosé & Chateau de Beru 2018 ‘Love Joy’ Rosé
Obvious choices for Valentine’s Day as they’re basically greeting cards wrapped on a bottle.

Domaine Isle Saint Pierre 2018 Rose, Mediterranee IGP
Can’t get away to an island this winter? Isle Saint Pierre rosé isn’t a bad place to start. This rosé is produced as a blend of saignée and direct pressed wine made from 100% free run juice. It has a lively and fruity nose, with hints of red fruit, dried fig and fresh notes of raspberry and gooseberry.

Cream Cocktails: Cupid's Salty Dog

CocktailFormatCupid.jpg Ingredients
- 1.5 oz Valentine White Blossom Vodka
- 1.5 oz ruby red grapefruit juice
- .5 oz Bordiga Vermouth Rosso di Torino
- .5 oz lime juice
- .5 oz simple syrup
- 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- pinch of salt

Directions: Shake and double strain into coupe glass that has been rimmed with a mix of kosher salt and crushed pink peppercorn.

FEATURED: New Producer Alert! Idlewild Wines

SamBilbroGrapes.jpgThe youngest son of Marietta Cellars’ Chris Bilbro, Sam Bilbro grew up tending vineyards and hanging out in his father’s old cow barn-turned winery. While Sonoma would always be home, it was through working in the restaurant industry that Sam garnered a passion for Piedmont-grown varieties. Inspired to bring the spirit of Northwest Italy to the rugged hills of Mendocino County, Sam founded Idlewild in 2012 as a side project while working for a local biodynamic winery. He quickly found his stride, quitting his 9-5 two years later to focus entirely on Idlewild.

Sam practices minimalist intervention in both the vineyard and the cellar. Fruit is sourced from Wild Ruth Ranch and Fox Hill Vineyard, both managed by the collaborative venture between Idlewild and Ruth Lewandowski Wines, Wild Ruth Farming. These small vineyards are progressively-farmed with a holistic approach, ensuring that both the site and vintage are allowed to speak. While not dogmatic in practice, this honest and sustainable approach is fundamental to the winemaking at Idlewild. In the cellar, wines are made naturally, with nothing added other than minimal sulfur additions.

As in Italy, where wine is an intrinsic part of culture and dining, Sam’s elegant and gulpable Piedmontese varietal blends strike that sought after balance of joy and depth. Uniquely fresh and focused, with notable vibrancy in fruit and savory qualities, Idlewild’s single varietal and vineyard wines have gained a following for their varietal typicity, energy, and balance.

Sam has also been instrumental in the organization of the “Seven % Solution,” a coalition of like minded small North Coast producers dedicated to celebrating and encouraging the cultivation of varieties other than the 93% of vineyards planted to the eight mainstream grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, Petite Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Encouraging the diversification and progression in New World wine, these wineries defy the divide between old world and new world wine making and embody the spirit of the movement defined in Jon Bonne’s book “The New California Wine.”

Idlewild 2018 ‘Flora & Fauna’ White, North Coast
The explosive aromatics of Muscat Canelli fill the cellar, but upon tasting the juice, the balance of the early take of Arneis shows the structural bones. The wine is highlighted by honey, wildflowers, wet stones, salty air, jasmine, and orange blossoms. The mouth feel is shaped like a diamond: lean on the front, a touch of oiliness and richness through the mid, and then racy and driving through the finish.

Idlewild 2018 ‘Flora & Fauna’ Rosé, Mendocino
This vintage of Idlewild’s rosé shows all the bright and fresh sides of rosé we all love with an added depth to pair with food. There is a play between savory versus fresh and subtlety versus power that make this wine very intriguing. The aromas are wound up around orange peel, celery salt, grapefruit, alpine herbs, wildflowers, blood orange, and sea spray. The three varieties can all be seen in the structure: Nebbiolo lends the crunchy minerality, Dolcetto lends a delicate softness, and Barbera lends firm acidity.

FEATURED: New Producer Alert! Cacique Maravilla

MaravillaBottles.jpgManuel Moraga Gutierrez is the owner and winemaker of Cacique Maravilla, a winery focused on traditional and non-interventionist Chilean wines in Yumbel in the Bio-Bio Valley of Chile’s Southern Regions. Manuel is the seventh generation of the Gutierrez family to call Yumbel home, and at least the fourth generation to tend vines. His great, great, great, great, great grandfather, Francisco Gutierrez Gutierrez, arrived in Chile in 1750 from the Canary Islands in search of gold and eventually amassed enough treasure to acquire land in Yumbel, some of which has remained in the family and is still owned by Manuel Moraga today. Francisco Gutierrez earned the respect of the local indigenous Mapuche people and was given the nickname ‘Cacique Maravilla’ (roughly translating to ‘Magnificent Chief’).

Although the Gutierrez family has been tending vines in Yumbel for generations, Manuel is the first to bottle and sell the wine under his own label, instead of selling grapes and bulk wine to other larger producers as his predecessors did. The 16-hectare estate consists of old, pre-phylloxera vines (some well over 100 years old) of País, Moscatel de Alejandria, Torontel, and Corinto. The volcanic vineyards are completely dry-farmed with no irrigation, no chemical intervention, and minimal pruning. In the winery, Manuel is similarly hands off. Fermentation is always spontaneous, the wines are never filtered, and no sulfur is added.

Tragically, Manuel’s first vintage coincided with the February 27, 2010 earthquake in Chile, one of the most powerful earthquakes in recorded history. The winery and much of their machinery were completely destroyed in the earthquake. Manuel still managed to make wine that year with practically no means at all. Content with the outcome of that first year, he realized not much was needed to make wine and this has been their philosophy ever since. He has spent the last ten years slowly rebuilding while making honest, rustic wines that evoke a crystal clear sense of place. As Manuel says, “One day I want good, trained sommeliers to taste my wine and say ‘This wine is from Yumbel, Chile.’”

Cacique Maravilla 2019 ‘Gutiflower’ White Pet Nat, Bio-Bio Valley
Sparkling wine is not traditionally made in Chile, but Manuel’s father stumbled upon the Pet Nat method that the winery continues to use to this day. This wine is best served very cold! Before serving, chill wine with the bottle resting upright so sediment settles to the bottom of the bottle.

Cacique Maravilla 2019 ‘Chacoli’ Rose Pet Nat, Bio-Bio Valley
The name chacolí is a reference to the process in which the wine is made, very much like the txakolis of old in the Basque Country. Serve very cold with apertifs and desserts.

Cacique Maravilla 2019 Vino Naranja (Orange Wine), Bio-Bio Valley
An orange wine of 100% Moscatel de Alejandria. Skin contact lasts 2 months in open vats of Raulí (native Chilean pink oak) without any punchdowns or pump overs.

Cacique Maravilla (1 L) 2019 Pipeno, Bio-Bio Valley
Pipeño is an old style of Chilean wine that was produced in a simple manner and meant to be enjoyed by farmers straight from the “Pip” or pipe. Cacique Maravilla makes this 100% País Pipeño that honors traditional winemaking in the Bio-Bio Valley from which it comes. This light-bodied wine shows red fruits with great acidity and balanced tannins. Serve slightly chilled. Anything less than a liter is not enough!

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