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Wu-Tang's Raekwon Cooks Up 'Special Potion' Lambrusco-Based Wine

The rap icon told us about the Sicilian inspiration behind his new Licataa sparkler—and how it connects to Staten Island. Also in Unfiltered, Anna Faris and Tituss Burgess "sleigh" in Barefoot's holiday music video
Once upon a time in Emilia-Romagna .... Raekwon, pictured at his local wine shop.
Photo by: Courtesy of Licataa
Once upon a time in Emilia-Romagna .... Raekwon, pictured at his local wine shop.

Posted: November 29, 2018

Hip-hop all-star Raekwon may go by "Raekwon da Chef," but his latest concoction comes not from the pantry but the cellar: a new fizzy wine called Licataa, made in collaboration with Lambrusco producer Cantine Ceci and just launched this month in New York. Raekwon told Unfiltered he recently traveled to Italy to do tastings that helped determine the "special potion" Lambrusco-based blend. "It's a velvety, smooth taste that still has a little sparkling feeling to it," he said. "Licataa won't be something that you feel like is a little too dry, or too fruity; [it's] right in the middle."

The Only Built 4 Cuban Linx … rapper joked that he could have easily named his wine "Raekwon the Chef," but, as in his lyrics, he wanted to tell a story. "Licata [one "a"] is a small [town] in Sicily where a lot of people that were immigrants to America came from," he said, drawing a connection to the Wu-Tang Clan's home borough, which also requires a bit of a journey. "In Staten Island, we're the farthest out from New York City—you have to go across the water. I love the name; it's relatable." When choosing a design and logo on the blue-chrome bottles, Raekwon came up with the silhouette of an archer. You shoot the arrow "to make sure it sticks," he explained. "I wanted to be able to have a wine that, when I give to you, it sticks."

Courtesy of Licataa
Somethin' to fizz with

Licataa is now available in NYC at $35 a pop—Staten Island's Shaolin Liquor is among the stores that carries it—and will launch next month in California, Florida, Atlanta and New Jersey. Despite all the archery, there are no plans to weaponize the bottle's corks on national TV.

Anna Faris, Tituss Burgess 'Sleigh' in Barefoot's Holiday Music Video

'Tis the season for celebratory sips, holiday headaches and catchy tunes that will be stuck in your head until after the New Year. Bundling all three of these yuletide traditions together is the new song and music video "Sleighin' the Holidays" from Barefoot Wine's "Slay Team," an all-star cast including Anna Faris, Saturday Night Live's Cecily Strong, Yvonne Orji (from HBO's Insecure) and Chrissie Fit (Pitch Perfect 2 and 3), with a special appearance by "Peeno Noir" lover Tituss Burgess.

With the help of ever-present bottles of wine, the group cheerfully navigate a gamut of holiday mishaps, such as oversized luggage at the airport, a cancelled office party, a surprise visit from a great aunt and, of course, the dreaded re-gift: "Socks, candles, scarves and ties," Burgess raps/laments. "All I want for Christmas is sparkling wine."

Courtesy of Barefoot Wines
"Alkaline, midsize shrine, spaaaaarkling wiiine …"

According to Anna Bell, vice president of marketing for Barefoot, the fun didn't end when cameras stopped rolling. "There were a ton of great moments on set, especially seeing the Slay Team members bond so quickly, as this was the first time that each of them have had the opportunity to work together," she told Unfiltered. "One of my personal favorite moments was watching Anna Faris attempt to stay in character throughout the entire time she was on set—talk about commitment!"

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