Jeff’s Corner 12-11-20

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Habari Gani, Happy Holidays and to cover all the bases, Seasons Greetings! I have been writing this sentence for many years in December, and it’s fun every time I do.  

To set a timeline, here are some landmark dates for this holiday season. Hanukkah begins today, December 11, Kwanza begins December 26 and Christmas began sometime in late October or early November, and cranked into high gear the day after Thanksgiving.

Today, hey, hey, hey, is Bellissimo day, and if you are in our Black Label Wine Club, the new 2018 is in your GCV December goodie-bag. This is the 14th vintage of our signature, best-selling wine. It was first produced in 2004. (We didn’t release one in 2005.)

Bellissimo is a Super Tuscan-style wine, which means it is a blend of Sangiovese (native to Tuscany) with grapes not native to Tuscany (traditionally, but not limited to, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.)  

Following last week, here’s more word stuff. In Italian, Bellissimo is what’s called an “absolute superlative” of the adverb “bello”, which means “beautiful” or “handsome”. The absolute superlative doesn’t exist in English, but it’s the equivalent of adding “very” or “extremely” to an adverb. Kathy is “very beautiful” or “bellissima”.

In terms of gender, bellissimo is male, and bellissima is female, so our beloved Bellissimo is a dude. Bellissime is plural for bellissima, and bellissimi is plural for bellissimo. I’m very fortunate to have lots of Bellissimi in my wine rack.

It was hard to say goodbye to the 2017; to me it was the best vintage to date, followed by the ’07 and ’11. I have a few bottles of the ’17 stockpiled, and if any of you still have some, save them for something special. They should develop nicely over the next 3-5 years.

Our 2018 Texas Bellissimo is 58% Sangiovese, 22% Merlot, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon with an ABV of 13.9%. The Sangiovese dominates the nose and palate with candied red fruit aromas of raspberry, cherry, strawberry and pomegranate in consonance with rose petal, violet, cinnamon and clove.

With bright acidity, the palate is clean, fresh and lively, making this a perfect red wine for summer. Delicate hints of oak and tannin pave the way for a lingering, fruit-driven finish that teases and leaves us begging for another sip. Let’s serve this between 55-60*.

I think we should pair this with a deep-dish pizza loaded with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, hard salami, and a fennel-laced Italian sausage. For dessert, a trio of statins might be a good idea.