Littlefoot's Wine Review Wine Geeks

Castello Monaci Kreos Rosé

There’s a common misconception among winos that the darker the rosé, the sweeter it will be—not true! The deep color of a rosé comes from skin contact during production, not the amount of sugar added to the wine.

This Kreos rosé is a Negroamaro rosé from Apuglia, the southeast region of Italy that produces some of the best rosé wines in the world. The name “Kreos” comes from the greek goddess of the dawn, Eos, whose tears forever form the morning dew after her son was killed by Achilles during the War of Troy.

Negroamaro is a 1500 year old grape from Apuglia, and it has been cultivated exclusively in Southern Italy for most of its history. Negroamaro grapes are large and very dark, almost black in color, and produces juicy wines with a large amount of dark berry and earthy flavors.

The great thing about rosé made from Negroamaro is that it’s a rosé that can flex between both red and white wine drinkers with ease. This wine is made with a traditional “saignée method” in which the grape skins are immediately removed from the wine after it has imparted a deep blush color, resulting in its dark pink hue.

Castello Monaci Kreos Rosé is full of ripe strawberry flavor without being a sweet wine, which is fantastic for drinkers who love bright sweet fruit in dry wines. Pomegranate, orange, and melon flavors are dominant in this wine with just enough acid to make it a refreshing glass on its own and enough tannin and spice to pair with bolder dishes.

You can purchase this bottle in Memphis at Joes Wines & Liquors and Buster’s Liquors.

Littlefoot's Wine Review

Noah River Pinot Noir 2017

Littlefoot’s wine pick of the week is the Noah 2017 River Pinot Noir from Napa, California. This delicate red wine is bursting with soft fruit like fig, dark cherry, and blackberry, yet remains firmly medium-bodied and rich. 

Noah River wines are the product of Jamey Whetstone, the winemaker responsible for opening Whetstone Wine Cellars in 2002. The Noah River Pinot Noir is made from grapes that hail almost exclusively from Arroyo Secco, California.

It is fermented in stainless steel before a small percentage is aged in French oak, giving this wine body without becoming heavy. A light plum color, the Noah River Pinot Noir appears at first glance to be much thinner than it tastes. At 13.5% this Pinot Noir is dry, yet its luxurious red fruit softens the palate enough to make this wine approachable for vinos lovers everywhere. This wine is a high-quality wine for every day and nearly every occasion, punching way over its price point in terms of taste, mouthfeel, and character.

ABV: 13.5%

Pairings: Seared Salmon, mushroom pasta, herb roasted potatoes, anchovy, rainbow trout with vegetables

Tasting Notes: Soft blackberry, black fig, dark cherry, vanilla, minerals and rock salt

This is the perfect red wine for nights when you want to open something easy, drinkable, and delicious. While Littlefoot is looking forward to enjoying a glass once she gets off the clock today, this is also an excellent choice to complement dinner on a weeknight, especially since it checks out under $15. 

Littlefoot's Wine Review

Altano Douro White 2017  

As you can see, Littlefoot is enjoying vacation to the fullest with midday naps next to a great bottle of wine. Her under $20 pick this week is a bright, complex white from the Douro region of Portugal.

Altano is a winery located in Douro, Portugal and owned by the Symington wine-making family (famous for being the producers of Vintage Port produced under the labels: Graham’s, Dows, Warre’s and Quinta do Vesuvio). The family began developing table wine in 1999 and produce four labels for Altano table wine. This naturalmente white is their only white wine label, and its zesty character is reminiscent of tropical melons and ripe citrus fruit. 

The Altano White 2017 is a blend of four white grape varietals: Malvasia Bianca, Moscato Bianco, Rabigato, and Viosinho.

Malvasia Bianca is cultivated in regions around the world, the majority coming from Italy and Croatia. It is linked to the Muscat family and has pronounced pear notes and low-medium acidity.

Moscato Bianco is an ancient grape found primarily in Piedmont. It is said to have been cultivated by the ancient greeks and romans as a favorite sweet wine, although it is also thought that this grape came to Italy from the Middle East during the crusades. These grapes have an intently recognizable fragrance of wild flower and honey, and they tend to produce sweet, creamy wines.

Rabigato is native to the Douro region of Northern Portugal, grown almost exclusively in Alto-Douro and Douro-Superior. This grape matures early and is known for its clusters of small, yellow-green grapes.

Viosinho is a high-acid varietal from Northern Portugal that is characterized as a relatively low-yielding grape. It produced fuller-bodied wines and is often used as blending wine.

Sitting at 13.1% ABV, this white is pleasantly dry with notes of melon, apples, and lemon. It pairs well with seafood dishes such as mussels cooked in broth or grilled octopus tentacles with light sauce and herbs.

Littlefoot loves this wine because its unoaked body and rich acidity make it perfect for any white wine occasion: dinner outside on a balmy night, sharing with your favorite quarantine pod members, or drinking just before a midday nap.  

Littlefoot's Wine Review

Ercole Barbera Del Monferrato

There are two things Littlefoot is loving more than me this week: this box and this wine. 

Her wine pick of the week is the Ercole Barbera Del Monferrato, a super chuggable red wine from the famous wine region Monferrato in Piedmonte, Italy. Barbera is a red grape varietal marked by full body, high acid, low tannins, and affordability. It is a lesser wine to Nebbiolo, another red varietal from Piedmont.

Often consumed as a young wine, great barbera often has notes of tart blackberry, dark cherry, and vanilla, which fits the Ercole perfectly. Juicy with red fruit and cinnamon spice, this wine from Monferrato checks all the boxes of high quality Barbera:

✅ Tart, long finish 
✅ Bright red cherry and strawberry 
✅ Pleasantly acidic 
✅ Rich, inky red color 

What else makes this wine so up Littlefoot’s alley, you ask? Being a cat who is all about community, she loves this wine not only because of its taste, but because of its place as part of a winemaking co-op of local growers in Piedmont.

Each fall, several growers from different vineyards in Monferrato get together and blend their excellent wines together under one label, creating a wine that is 100% Barbera and 100% community produced. In English, Ercole translates to “Hercules” and this wine is performing a herculean task in your wine cabinet: deliver a sensational product that drinks like the best barbera you’ve ever had and costs a third of the price. It is harvested later than other Barbera, around late September through early October. This allows the grapes to fully ripe before they are pressed, and the wine is then fermented in concrete before being aged in stainless steal, producing a sharper, sour cherry flavor.

Littlefoot particularly enjoys this wine with creamy mushroom pasta or roasted garlic polenta, but it is also delicious on its own.  

At $15.99/Liter, this wonderful weekend wine is an absolute steal for anyone’s budget. Be sure to ask your local liquor store about their whole selection of Ercole wines!

Littlefoot's Wine Review Wine Geeks

Hugl Zweigelt Rosé

Laundry day is Littlefoot’s favorite day of the week. All those warm clothes that need napping on and clean sheets to roll around in after they come out of the dryer? It’s a cat’s dream come true every Saturday. 

While she’s waiting on those warm sheets to be delivered, Littlefoot likes to sip on something light and easy to drink but has some spunk. That’s why her pick of the week is the Hugl Zweigelt Rosé. This wine is made from 100% Zweigelt grapes, Austria’s most popular red varietal born in the early 1920s. Zweigelt produces mature red wines with soft tannins and robust red fruit, making it perfect for rosé. 

HuglWimmer wines is the product of winemakers Sylvia Hugl-Wimmer and Martin Hugl, a husband and wife dream team who both grew up in winemaking families. Their goal is to make high quality wines that highlight the native grapes of Austria, such as Grüner and Zweigelt. Founded in 2006, his winery is particularly known for their intense white wines that use cold fermentation to preserve the aromatics of white wine grapes to create beautiful and unique vintages.

This rosé is aged exclusively in stainless steel tanks, giving it a crystal clear flavor free from any oak. Don’t let that dark color fool you! It gets that deep blush glow from extended contact with the Zweigelt grape skins, not from any extra sugar. Dry and medium-bodied with hearty cherry and strawberry notes, the Hugl Zweigelt is the perfect rosé for your friends and family who are proud members of the Red Wine Only Club™. It has all the bold richness that comes from soft red wines in a bright rosé defined by the originality that is characteristic of HuglWimmer wines.

You can buy this wine in Memphis at Joe’s Wines and Liquors for $12.99/bottle, which an absolute steal for a wine this wonderful.