Earlier this year we shared a bottle of our 2020 Prelude Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir with prolific wine writer and reviewer Jeff Kralik, who blogs as “The Drunken Cyclist.” Annually, Jeff conducts what he believes to be the largest blind tasting of “True Rosés” in the U.S., so we submitted our “Brosé” for consideration as part of that undertaking (he scored it a 92). But, because he’s based in Houston (and because not a lot of folks have been traveling lately thanks to COVID), we figured chances of meeting him anytime soon were slim to none.
BUT, as it turned out, Jeff (pictured above with Dave) happened to attend the Chehalem Mountain Winegrower’s “Magic in the Mountains” event at the end of July. And he also happened to drop by the Bells Up table, where Sara was pouring the 2020 Prelude and the 2019 Firebird Syrah. To Sara’s surprise, Jeff actually sought us out at the event, and graciously agreed to have his arm twisted into trying our full lineup of wines the next day at the winery.
We were super lucky to have Jeff hang out for more than two hours and not seem to be thoroughly sick of us — or the wines — by the end. In fact, he recently featured Bells Up in his regular Wednesday Winery Spotlight post.
He wrote some incredibly kind things, the highlights of which we’ve included here:
Before heading to the winery the following day, as I normally do, I did a bit of research on Bells Up and was fairly shocked to discover that they have been producing wine for the better part of the past decade. But I am fairly certain that the rosé they had sent me was the first of their wines that had crossed my lips. While that could be said of many a winery in the Willamette Valley, based on the tasting that followed, where each of the wines were utterly fantastic, I could not believe that I had not even heard of them…
In order to get your hands on some of the best wines I have tasted in the Willamette Valley, one needs to send an email, or, get this, make a phone call. Yup. Sara and Dave are committed to getting to know each of their customers and they feel that starts with direct communication, not simply filling orders. Based on my experience thus far, their approach is certainly working.
One last observation: from the moment I stepped into the winery until I was well on down the road, I was struck by the overwhelming sense of joy that Dave and Sara exude, it is palpable and contagious. And I will definitely be back.
Jeff also posted his tasting notes on each of the wines he sampled, awarding them scores ranging from 92 to 96 (we’ll share those details in later posts). He actually wrote about us two weeks in a row! Read the first post here, and the second post — including the full wine reviews — here.