Jeff’s Corner

Caio, everyone!

Today is Bellissimo day, and it seems to roll around every year almost to the day. Last year in Jeff’s Corner (4-3-15) we took a look at the newly released 2013 Bellissimo, and here we are about to check out the soon to be released 2014. The ’13 evolved into my favorite since the legendary ’07, and the ’14 is showing great promise in its youth.

Lighter and brighter than the ’13, yet very true to its Super Tuscan style, the 2014 is about 49% Sangiovese, 25.75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19.25% Merlot, and 6% Cabernet Franc. With an ABV of 13.9%, it’s made from mostly Texas High Plains fruit, predominately from the Lost Draw Vineyards and Reddy Vineyards.

A rich dark ruby and garnet in color, this wine is amazingly pleasant to drink with or without food. Aromas of bright cherry, lavender, and cinnamon mingle with the traditional rustic earthiness that Jason’s Bellissimos have become famous for.

The palate is a delicate balance of vibrant red fruit and lively acids that transition into a refreshing finish framed by light oak and soft tannins. Medium in texture and body, let’s try this wine at about 60 degrees, or about 30 minutes in the fridge if it started at 70 degrees.

Kathy and I enjoyed this on our porch (while we wrote these notes) with some roasted red pepper hummus and Havarti. It was a good match, but it was a great match with the Chicken Marsala we had for dinner. The bright cherry from the Sangiovese did well with the sweetness of the Marsala, and the brisk acid complimented the rich butter in the sauce.

Here’s my super easy recipe, chow…



* 4-6 oz boneless chicken breasts
* 1/2 cup grated Romano, 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs, mixed
* 2 Tbs olive oil
* 4-6 Tbs butter
* 1/2 cup Marsala
* 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
* 2 Tbs diced shallots
* 8-10 oz sliced Cremini mushrooms


* In a large, sealed zip-loc pound the chicken to where it’s between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick.
* Dredge it in the Romano/bread crumbs until well coated.
* Heat the olive oil and 1/2 the butter in a large skillet to medium high heat. Brown the chicken on each side until it releases from the pan, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove and keep warm.
* Add the mushrooms and shallots, cooking until al dente. Add the Marsala and deglaze the pan for about 45 seconds, then add the stock and reduce for 2-4 minutes.
* Stir in the remaining butter and reduce the heat to a simmer while the sauce thickens. Remember, it will continue to thicken as it cools.

I’d definitely serve this on hot plates to help keep the food warm. Linguine and garlic bread for sides, ice cream and brownies for dessert.