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About this Episode

Michaela Quinlan, certified sommelier, and Robert Tas review the wine list at Bellissimo, a northern Italian restaurant that serves locally grown produce, seafood, and house-made pasta, and a wine list that features Italian classics, unique varietals, and value wines. Michaela identifies the stand-out bottles for both red, white, and sparkling wines. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2012 Buondonno Campo al Ciliegi, Tuscany

  • 2012 De Fillipo, Montefalco Sagrantino, Umbria

Transcript: Bellissimo




RT: Hello and welcome to CorkRules! 

A podcast where, in each episode, we will review a wine list from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Michaela Quinlan, certified sommelier.


Hello Michaela, it’s great to be back together for another episode.


MQ: Hi Robert!

 RT: Before we jump in, let’s talk about CorkRules.

We created CorkRules our mobile app and our podcast’s to demystify wine lists because we know from experience, that sometimes when we get that  list handed to us, well… it can be intimidating, and even a little daunting.


Our aim is to help prepare you to navigate that list, find those hidden gems, or value wines or that special bottle that will take your dining experience over the top.


RT: So, sit back and listen as we review your favorite wine list.


RT: Today we are talking about Bellissimo in Fairfax, Virginia. Bellissimo features Northern Italian cuisine, locally grown produce, seafood, and house made pasta.


Michaela, I can’t wait to hear what you think of their wine list?


MQ: Bellissino’s wine list features Italian classics, unique varietals, and value wines to pair with their standout menu. This is a perfect location for private events and special occasions.



RT: That’s really great, as you looked at the list did you see anything jump out at you?


MQ: I love to kick off any event with a great sparkler. Consider the Bellavista Franciacorta, Cuvee Brut. This dry, crisp sparkler from the Franciacorta region in Northern Italy consists of a blend of Pinot Nero and Chardonnay, and showcases white flowers, ripe green apple, brioche, lime zest and an almond note on the finish. A fresh way to begin your dining experience or to pair with cheese and shellfish.



RT: That is for sure unique. Did you find any others that caught your eye right away


MQ: Another wine that caught my eye was the 2012 Buondonno Campo al Ciliegi from Tuscany. This 100% Syrah is rich and full bodied with notes of ripe blackberries, boysenberry, and plumb, with clove, smoke, and earth. This Syrah is your go to when looking to pair with richly sauced pasta and proteins.



RT: So Michaela, their list seems to have lots of range but was there anything that you would say is a “must-try” ?


MQ: A must-try red to consider is the Marchese di Barolo, Madonna del Dono, Dolcetto de Alba in the Piedmont. The Alba region within the Piedmont brings us this beautifully smooth Dolcetto that features ripe red cherries, bright acidity, with lavender, currant, and leather on the lingering finish. Another excellent consideration to pair with richly sauced proteins and pasta.



RT: These are some great calls.


So you know I’m getting thirsty and will need to order a bottle with my dinner, where would you guide us?


MQ: Another standout red to consider for the table would be the 2012 De Fillipo, Montefalco Sagrantino from Umbria. This Sagrantino from Central Italy features fig, plumb, and cassis, with notes of earth, smoke, leather, cocoa, and vanilla on the lingering finish. A beautiful wine that gets better with every sip, a true crowd pleaser, and is guaranteed to pair well with Bellissimo’s classic fare.


RT: Ooh, Terrific.


Michaela, speaking of price, sometimes people have a budget in mind..  any other great value wines you’d point us to? 


MQ: Remaining in Central Italy, a classic white wine of excellent quality and value to consider is the 2019 Stefano Antonucci Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi. Castelli di Jesi is a region within the Marche along the coast of the calf of the boot of Italy. Verdicchio is light and bright with crisp acidity, ripe peach, white flowers, green apple, lemon zest, and salinity with a mineral finish. Light and refreshing, this Verdicchio pairs well with charcuterie, scallops, and lightly sauced pasta.


RT: That sounds great. What is your other value selection?


MQ: A red wine to consider of excellent quality and value is the 2015 Castello Poppiano, Toscaforte Sangiovese di Toscana. Sangiovese, the classic grape varietal from Tuscany, is dry and features ripe raspberries, ripe red cherries, smoke, earth, with cocoa on the finish. The firm tannins and long finish make this classic a wonderful companion to all richly sauced pasta and proteins. All for an excellent price.

RT: Now Michaela, what if I have a big client dinner or special occasion where I want to take it up a notch?


 MQ: When celebrating any event with classic cuisine, a classic wine is in order. Consider the 2013 Sartori di Verona Estate Amarone della Valpolicella. This Amarone from the Valpolicella region of Northern Italy, consists of a blend of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara, with a splash of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes ripen during harvest, then dry out, which maintains rich flavors and concentration in the wine. Flavors and aromas of raisins, prune, dried fig, and plumb, with tobacco and oak on the ripe, round finish. This iconic red wine has exceptional age ability and is always a wonderful addition to any event.



RT: Michaela, thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Bellissimo’s wine list. I can’t wait to go try them myself. 

To our audience, thank you all for joining us here on CorkRules.


If you would like us to review one of your favorite restaurants, please send us email to: Info@CorkRules.Com or visit our web website where we have a request form available and we will do our best to get it in the queue as quickly as possible.

We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for other episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists. 

And finally, drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly.


Thank you.








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