February 2020
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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

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


#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

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.

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