Several years ago we first invited acclaimed wine writer L.M. Archer to sample our wines in person, which she did i 2017. Since then we’ve also sent her bottles for consideration as well. Our favorite review of all time, ever, was her comment about 2017 Villanelle Tonnelier Vineyard Reserve Pinot Noir: “Mama like. A lot.”
Archer is an award-winning writer, photographer, and content provider for consumer, B2B and B2C platforms. An Errazuriz Wine Photographer of the Year 2020 award winner and 2021 Shortlist winner, she’s also a Meadowood Professional Wine Writer Symposium Fellowship recipient. Her work appears in numerous publications worldwide, including Pix.wine, Wine Enthusiast, The Buyer, Meininger’s Wine Business International, Wine Business Monthly, Oregon Wine Press, Taste of France, France Today, The Vintner Project, Wine-Searcher, Palate Press, and FoodableTV.
While she has a standing invite to visit anytime, Archer returned for the first time since 2017 this past July while traveling through the Willamette Valley. It was a lot of fun to catch up, share the latest releases, and give her the tour of all the developments that have transpired since her first trip to see us. She’s one of our favorite writers and we’re always happy when our wines make her happy.
So we were particularly moved to see her Instagram post from later that day about her time with us:
What did you do on your first road trip since 2020? Visit the #WV, of course!
First stop: @bellsupwinery micro-boutique winery in the Chehalem Mountains. (Only 500 cases made each year).
I’ve had the distinct honor and privilege of watching this dynamic Midwestern-transplanted duo flourish over the years since they first arrived in 2012.
Since then, tax attorney-turned winemaker Dave and ‘Money Honey’ Sara Specter have never wavered in their pursuit of ‘composing’ wines of finesse, despite the vagaries of Mother Nature, and the pandemic.
Really great to see all the site improvements since my last visit before the pandemic, including a new winery facility, and more estate plantings. (For years they made wines offsite. Note Sara’s glee at the well-lit, multi-electrical outlet, easily washable facility.)
In case you’re wondering about the winery name, Dave trained as a classical French horn player (the term “Bells Up” nods to the moment when the French horn players in the orchestra stand and raise their horns for their moment of glory in any given composition.)
Yesterday, I felt so many emotions listening to Dave recount how he ‘balances’ each wine as though drafting a musical score. Artistry informs every decision.
Of particular note: 2019 Bells Up Jupiter Estate Pinot Noir. Again, super emotional for me to taste this wine. After years of buying fruit from other vineyards, this wine is 100% Bells Up estate. I finally got to taste not just Dave’s imprint as a winemaker, but the ‘voice’ of the vines, too.
And what a voice. I look forward to spending more time tasting this wine again in the future, but my first impressions mirror its name – celestial. So incredibly light bodied, with seamless structure, floral and spice notes, and a surreal finish.
It’s moments like this that drive home the uniqueness of the Willamette Valley. A place where dreams can become reality – through hard work, determination, collaboration, some tears, and a lot of laughter. #grateful #Bravo
Sometimes, because we’re so focused on the day-to-day, we forget how much we’ve accomplished. And we’re always taken aback to discover how much and how often our story resonates with others. (Archer also posted the photos included above.) We certainly hope to welcome her (and you!) back again soon. Contact us to book a Maestro Class hosted by Dave exclusively for one group at a time.