It was a true highlight of our summer to be visited by wine writer and reviewer Jeff Kralik, aka “The Drunken Cyclist,” during his visit to the Willamette Valley in July. Jeff previously sampled our 2020 Prelude Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir, which we submitted earlier in the year for consideration in his comprehensive, annual blind tasting of “True Rosés” (he and his fellow tasters scored it a 92).
Unbeknownst to Jeff, we we grabbed the opportunity to share ALL of our currently (and a bit of our future) available wines — which he very kindly agreed to sample while taking copious notes. While he seemed to like everything he tasted, we were pretty stunned when he posted his reviews a few weeks ago when he featured Bells Up in his regular Wednesday Winery Spotlight post.
Here’s what he thought of our four Pinot Noirs, 2018 Titan, 2019 Candide Reserve (new release), 2019 Villanelle Reserve (final bottling of this label), and 2019 Jupiter Estate (the 750mL bottles of Jupiter are now sold out; a handful of magnums remain in inventory):
2018 Bells Up Titan Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $44. Clones: Pommard, 115, and 777. This is the last year that the Pommard was sourced (bought from another vineyard — starting in 2019 it all comes from the Bells Up vineyard, and by 2022 Bells Up will be “Pinot independent” as the 115 and 777 will also come from the estate). Dave and Sara are very conscious to the Pinot fatigue in the Valley and they want to make something a bit different. Dave, when making the wine, sees them more as shapes and “hears something different” from the wines. Plum here more than cherry with plenty of spice on the nose. The black cherry really comes through on the palate, though with great tartness and intensity. Really fantastic. Outstanding. 94 Points.
2019 Bells Up Candide Pinot Noir Reserve, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $54. Clones: Wadenswil 65.4%, 34.6% Pommard. The Pommard comes from the estate. Luscious and spicy on the nose with lovely, dare I say “harmonious” flavors? That lusciousness carries through on the palate, particularly initially. Quite strong through the mid-palate as well with complexity and depth. The finish shows some soft, but present tannins, suggesting at least 3-5 years of ageability. Outstanding. 93 Points.
2019 Bells Up Villanelle Pinot Noir, Tonnelier Vineyard, Yamhill-Carlton, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $58. Only available through Bells Up’s Fanfare Club. 100% free-run juice (no pressing involved, so this is considered the best juice — think Extra Virgin Olive Oil). Whoa. Quite a nose. Rich, bing cherry, black cherry, a bunch of other cherries. Heck, all of them? Whoa. Add in some spice and earth. This is perhaps even better on the palate with intense fruit, impeccable balance, and just the right amount of acidity. Incredible. Outstanding. 95 Points.
2019 Bells Up Jupiter Pinot Noir, Estate Vineyard, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $48. Fanfare Club Only. First 100% Estate Pinot. Fairly light in the glass. Another whoa on the nose. Rich, concentrated, but also floral and fruity. A little bit of wet rock. The palate starts off rather shy, but by the mid-palate this really starts to shine. Richness, depth, spice but the finish is really where this wine explodes. The tartness is fantastic but the intensity of the fruit and spice is what sets it apart. Whoa. Outstanding Plus. 96 Points.