We were delighted to host the dynamic duo of sisters Kat and Kelly Thomas back in the spring as they took a “Girls Getaway Trip to the Willamette Valley.” Kat, journalist and blogger who also publishes under the website Edible Skinny, filed the story “Pretentiousness is Out the Door in Willamette Valley, but Pinot Noir is Superb in Chehalem” with the Santa Monica Observer—and featured us!
Here’s what they had to say:
BELLS UP WINERY
Our first stop was the micro-boutique estate winery Bells Up. Making just 400 cases annually, Dave Specter left his Cincinnati legal career in the Midwest to put down winemaking/growing in the Valley in 2012. Bells Up composes handcrafted, classically styled Oregon Pinot Noir with grapes sourced primarily from the northern Willamette Valley. Dave, a former french horn player, names all their wines after french horn dominant musical pieces. The winery name references the music term of lifting up of the french horns, a bells up movement.
Bells Up is 100% self funded with Dave and his wife Sara running all the tastings. Dave quickly notes, “it’s not about volume; it’s about creating an experience. Tiny producers are the soul of the Willamette Valley.” Their slogan: micro-boutique un-domain. Bells Up focuses on versatile wines that are food friendly. “The best compliment I can get is that it’s really yummy. We have one customer who’s favorite food pairing with our Rosé is Doritos.”
Our Favorite Recommendations:
1. Seyval Blanc (Not Available Online) – The only varietal planting in the Willamette Valley and only the second planting in all of Oregon this wine was developed in New York for cold tolerant climates. A teeny tiny harvest, “I created one jug,” exclaims Dave, the flavor is bright earthiness. As if you played in mud, and then took a shower.
2. 2017 Prelude Rosé ($22) – Sourced from the first-ever harvest of Bells Up’s estate vineyard, this fuller-bodied rosé is named for Franz Liszt’s “Symphonic Poem No. 3: Les Preludes.” With a nose of fresh strawberry, “bada-bing” cherry, and sunshine, it’s the perfect late afternoon patio wine. A white eyelet dress with silver bangles catching the low sun over Aix-en-Provence.
3. 2015 Titan ($40) – Named for Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D Major, Titan tastes of bebop jazz and a brown leather couch. Created during the hottest year in the Valley in decades, the taste is a juicy winner. Oh and it received a Wine Enthusiast score of 90.
Thanks ladies! We hope to see you in the tasting room again very soon.