Jeff’s Corner 9-23-22

We meet again, everyone…

Wow, it’s hard to believe we only have two more wines from the current vintages to check out. I’m afraid I’ll blink a few times and I’ll be writing about the 2030 Bellissimo and not the 2020 Texas Bellissimo, which we’ll be checking out today. Later in the year, we’ll wrap it up with our 2020 Texas Invention. I’ve had both of these in my wine rack for awhile, and with great patience, I’ve somehow left them alone.

Before we dive into the stunning new ’20 Bellissimo, however, I’d like to comment on the incredible quality of our 2020 reds. Quite simply, they are outstanding. Jason and crew are great winemakers, and make great wine in spite of what nature gives us, but the ’20 reds take me way back to the legendary 2007 vintage.

Kath and I came to GCV in 2009, and at the time we were pouring the ’07 reds, and it didn’t take us long to figure out they were truly special. (Our portfolio was much smaller then; we had yet to produce Rendezvous, Petite Sirah, Invention, our dry rosé, and Riesling.)

I hoarded the Cabernet Trois and Cabernet/Syrah (now Prosperity) and I still think of them fondly. I still have a Mosaic, and ’07 was the first vintage of Serendipity. Our ’07 Bellissimo, however, was so good it’s the only wine we have ever pulled off the bar and laid back down for further aging. When we re-released it, it was well worth the wait.

This is the sixteenth Bellissimo, and the varietal composition of our 2020 Super Tuscan is somewhat of a break in tradition. For the first time during my tenure, Cab Sav takes the lead and not Sangiovese. Here’s the breakdown: 50.4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37.2% Sangiovese, 6% Tempranillo, 4.4% Merlot, and 2% Petit Verdot. The ABV is a reasonable 13.7%. Now, off to pull the cork…

Wowser! The color is textbook Bellissimo, a fetching pale garnet with a dazzling, translucent rim. Attractive, bright aromas of red plum, cherry, raspberry, and red licorice fuse with cinnamon, vanilla, and a subtle tease of clove.
Delightfully clean and light in texture, the mouthfeel is elegant, sensual, and exquisitely balanced. It glides across our palate with grace and finesse and finishes with fruit and acid perfectly aligned. Perfect for both food and quaffing, this beauty reinforces why Bellissimo is everyone’s darling and continues to be our most popular and best-selling wine.

Let’s serve this between 55 and 60*, and pair it with this delicious and super-easy spinach and cheese-stuffed manicotti.

Jeff’s Easy Manicotti


* 2-15 oz containers part-skim or whole milk Ricotta
* 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
* 12 oz grated Mozzarella cheese, divided into 3/4 and 1/4 portions 
* 16 oz frozen chopped spinach with the water squeezed out of it
* 3-5 chopped garlic cloves, your call
* 14-16 manicotti shells
* Pasta sauce. make your own if you want, but I like Mezzetta Three Cheese


* Cook the pasta very al dente.  Drain and rinse with cold water.
* Cut the shells with sanitized scissors lengthwise where the shell is notched.
* Combine the first five ingredients ( using 3/4 Mozz,) and gently stir together. 
* Open the shells and generously stuff them with the cheese filling and roll them into a tube.  They should be really stuffed.
* Set the stuffed mannies to the side.   
* Cover a baking dish with a thin layer of sauce and place the desired number of shells (two per serving) seam side down on the sauce.
* Cover the shells with more sauce. Cover, and bake in a pre-heated  325* oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly.  Don’t overcook. 
* Remove the cover and top with the rest of the Mozzarella and bake until the cheese melts.

The remaining stuffed shells can be wrapped in cling wrap and individually frozen in a large zip-loc and you can thaw however many you want for another day.

Cheers, and enjoy!