Wine and travel writer Caitlin Hodges, who authors and curates the Sips N Tips website, reviewed our 2019 Rhapsody Pinot Blanc, 2019 Helios Estate Seyval Blanc and 2019 Prelude Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir, calling them “3 Unique Oregon Wines You Must Try.”
Hodges, who visited us a couple of years ago on a tour of the Willamette Valley with her husband, Tucker (that’s them, pictured above on our wine porch!), wrote about us before, posting ”Bells Up Micro-Boutique Winery in Willamette Valley, Oregon“ about her tasting experience, as well as reviews of several wines. So we were thrilled to get her take on our last batch of whites and pinks, and look forward to hearing her opinions of the 2020 Helios, Rhapsody and Prelude, to be released in March.
Not only did she post reviews, she also created some very unusual pairings for each of these wines that we’ll be sharing when each of the 2020 vintages are released: A Creamy, Greek-Inspired Lamb with Rhapsody Pinot Blanc; a Shrimp & Mediterranean Farro Salad and a NEW Grilled Ahi Tuna Nicoise Salad with Prelude Rosé of Pinot Noir; and Dill Pickle Popcorn (!?!?) with Helios Seyval Blanc!
Here’s what she thought about the wines:
2019 Rhapsody Pinot Blanc
For those who enjoy a full-bodied wine with lots of minerality, the Rhapsody Pinot Blanc is for you. The first sip is so flavorful it will leave you speechless…and then you will quickly realize how phenomenal a well-made white wine can be.
The Rhapsody Pinot Blanc features balanced acidity, tongue-tingling minerality, and flavors of citrus—I picked up on lots of lemon and lime—on the palate. The aroma is reminiscent of ripe peaches, and the mouthfeel is smooth and luxurious. There’s so much going on in this wine that every sip feels like a party in your mouth.
The Pinot Blanc varietal is a mutation of Pinot Noir best known for producing dry white wines. It is most commonly grown in Germany and Italy, and is often associated with Franciacorta sparklers. Pinot Blanc is considered an uncommon varietal in general, so to find a 100% Pinot Blanc wine in the United States makes Bells Up Rhapsody Pinot Blanc even more special. I already can’t wait to get my hands on another bottle of this lavish white wine.
2019 Prelude Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir
This rosé is a standout not only for its flavor, but for its beautiful, unique, ruby color. I’ve never seen a rosé so vibrant as the Bells Up Prelude!
Admittedly, I love to soak in the color and aroma of this wine before ever taking a sip. The color of this beautiful rosé is a result of the liquid soaking on the skins of the Pinot Noir grapes for just 48 hours before being pressed and then undergoing fermentation.
The aroma of the Bells Up Prelude reminds me of ripe red berries, which suits the color of the wine perfectly. The first sip will showcase the flavor of strawberry layered upon subtle citrus notes. The Prelude is a full-bodied rosé, enhanced by six months of barrel aging in neutral French oak.
2019 Helios Estate Seyval Blanc
Chilled to perfection and refreshing as ever, the Helios was a perfect mid-afternoon wind down drink. The Seyval Blanc is pale in color and lighter-bodied than the previous two wines. This acid-driven wine balances its tart mouthfeel with aromas of citrus fruit and flavors of candied lemon and bitter orange alongside subtle minerality. This wine has “day drinking” written all over it…pair it with a light snack and some sunny weather and you’re set.
Seyval Blanc is a very uncommon wine varietal in the western United States. Believe it or not, it actually grows quite well in England, and also has a presence in the Finger Lakes wine region of New York as well as Canada. While Bells Up Helios Seyval Blanc is acid-driven and fruity, you may see Seyval Blanc featured in late harvest or Eiswein-style dessert wines in other parts of the world. Bells Up is home to the Willamette Valley’s first planting of Seyval Blanc, and only the second in the state of Oregon, making it a hidden gem of Oregon wine country!