Jeff’s Corner 7-23-21


Well, the new 2019 Bellissimo made a quiet, yet smashing debut on the tasting bars this past weekend. It flawlessly stepped into the footsteps of the 2018, which garnered a Double Gold this year at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. It wowed staff and guests alike with its bright fruit flavors and silky elegance.

Bellissimo has rightfully evolved into our signature, best-selling wine. Its popularity is undeniable, and vintage after vintage features an accessibility that appeals to almost all red wine drinkers.

Almost always the focal point of our red wine tastings, it was first produced in 2004. This is Bellissimo’s 15th anniversary, and if you should have an ‘05 in your collection, it’s truly one-of-a-kind since we didn’t produce it that year.

Bellissimo is a Super Tuscan, a style of wine that dates back to Tuscany in the 1970s. Piero Antinori (a family that began making wine in 1385) began producing a wine he called Tignanello, and it rocked the tradition-rooted Italian wine aristocracy.

Antinori began blending (gasp!) non-Tuscan grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc) with Sangiovese, plus, Tignanello was one of the first pedigreed Tuscan reds not to be blended with white grapes. This was a great wine commanding top dollar, but was stripped of all DOC and DOCG status.

The 2019 Bellissimo is charming and flirtatious, and with its bright fruit flavors and clean palate it is perfect for these hot summer days. Produced from 100% Texas High Plains fruit, the ’19 is 88% Sangiovese, 11.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 4.5% Merlot. A food-friendly 13.0% ABV, let’s serve this between 55 and 60*.

A lovely, translucent garnet with a bright cherry rim, fresh aromas of raspberry, cranberry, and cherry are layered with red licorice, cinnamon, and clove. Showing great balance and delicate texture, the wine progresses playfully across our palate and teases with a surprisingly long, fruit-driven finish.

Let’s visit Stout’s Signature at the vineyard for this week’s food pairing. One of my favorite menu items is the “Signature Meatballs,” and they are perfect for our new Bellissimo. The bright acidity in the marinara will really highlight the fresh fruit flavors of this delightful wine.

Once called “Mom’s Meatballs” on the menu, legend tells us the inspiration for Stout’s might be the world-famous meatballs crafted by Brian’s Mom, Helen. I remember years ago Brian recruited Helen and family to make hundreds for a WC event, and I know I ate more than my share! I think both would tie for “Best of Show” at the “World Meatball Federation Competition.”