Wine Writer Jeff Kralik Reviews Bells Up’s 2020 Helios, Rhapsody

two men smiling in front of wine barrels

Wine writer Jeff Kralik with Bells Up winemaker Dave Specter.

As we shared a couple of weeks ago, we were honored to be sought out by wine writer and reviewer Jeff Kralik, who blogs as “The Drunken Cyclist,” during his visit to the Willamette Valley at the end of July. Jeff had already reviewed our 2020 Prelude Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir as part of his comprehensive, annual blind tasting of “True Rosés” (awarding it a 92).

While he was in the area, Jeff graciously agreed to stop by the winery for a tasting of the full lineup. 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 two white wines, 2020 Rhapsody Pinot Blanc and 2020 Helios Estate Seyval Blanc:

2020 Bells Up Rhapsody Pinot Blanc, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $32. According to Dave, Pinot Blanc is the most unappreciated white in the Valley. He considers it as complex as Chardonnay without the price tag. Fermented and aged in stainless steel, sur lies. with bâtonnage (a gentle stirring of the lies) every 2-3 days. 100% Plum Hill Vineyards. Dave and Sara are going to plant Pinot Blanc this year since they are tired of trying to source it from elsewhere in the Valley, as most Pinot Blanc is being grafted over to Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. Tropical fruit a bit of astringency and considerable salinity. Really nice fruit and off the charts acidity. The complexity on the back end is fantastic. Outstanding. 93 Points. 

2020 Bells Up Helios Seyval Blanc, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $40. Seyval Blanc, a hybrid grape which was developed to ripen early (and therefore do well in cooler climates) is rare, particularly in Oregon (there is a bit of it in the Finger Lakes and Ohio). Dave wanted to do a white that was a bit different than Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, the two prominent white varieties in the Willamette) and he wanted an “every day wine” (Dave does not consider Riesling an every day wine due to its acidity). 100% steel. Spicy on the nose with some pineapple and minerality. Plenty of citrus on the palate. Quite tart and zingy and perhaps the best hybrid wines I have tried. Excellent. 92 Points.

Unfortunately, both of these wines are now sold out. However, we are anticipating having more cases of both in the 2021 vintage. 2021 Helios and Rhapsody will be released in Spring 2022. To purchase any of our other wines, contact us by phone at 503.537.1328 or email to receive them this fall.

Bells Up Winery | 27895 NE Bell Road | Newberg, Oregon 97132 | 503.537.1328 |

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