Husband-and-wife writers John and Linda Compisi cover food, drink, and travel on their blog, Bites, Flights and Sights. Passionate about travel, the pair are based in Reno, Nevada. Both are WSET Certified and serve as wine judges for several California wine competitions. They also co-founded the High Sierra Wine Society.
The pair recently sampled two of our wines during the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) call that featured Bells Up: 2021 Helios Estate Seyval Blanc and the newly released 2021 Jupiter Estate Pinot Noir. They then each wrote separate posts about the tasting and the wines.
John Compisi’s Reviews
In “Can Wine Be Musical — Bells Up Winery Knows,” John wrote the following:
Both wines offered sound structure and balance. The Seyval Blanc, a white wine grape, was a surprise. A hybrid grape that originated in France but is mostly grown in England, Virginia, the Finger Lakes Region of New York and Ohio. It ripens early in cooler climates and is well suited to the eastern slopes of the Willamette Valley. As the grape contains some non-vinifera genes, it is outlawed in the European Union. There is also a Seyval Noir but that will not be discussed here.
The 2021 Helios smacked me in the face with its crisp, dry and high acid palate pleasing profile. It also had very good minerality and a whiff of petrol. Sort of a cross between Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. Thanks to the acid, the finish was very long. It also presented a hint of orange peel and green apple. A great match for oysters or other shellfish. Only 64 cases were produced and it retails for $38.
The 2021 Jupiter showed dark cherry on the nose and a fairly deep garnet color. The blend of Pommard, Dijon, 667 and 113 offers a level of complexity that is subtle and very pleasant. The flavors of cola. Red fruit and cherry come through clearly. Retail price of the 2020 vintage was $50. Less than 100 cases were produced.
Linda Compisi’s Reviews
In “The Bells Are Ringing in Newberg,” Linda wrote the following:
I was really drawn to the Seyval Blanc. It is a hybrid grape originally from France that loves to grow in cool areas and is early ripening. This is perfect for the Willamette weather and by the way also Ohio (coincidence?). This chilled wine was vivacious and luscious with aromas of green apple, some minerality and petrol reminiscent of Riesling. The flavor matches the aroma almost exactly but with an added bit of yeast. It was mouth wateringly acidic and the finish went on forever. I found that after some time in the glass, the aromas and flavors became muted and mild. Also, delicious.
Bells Up Winery only sells their wine direct to consumer and you do need an appointment to visit. Every tasting is personalized and hosted by one of the Specters (almost always Dave) making the tasting very customized and exclusive. Their story is worth hearing and a visit worthwhile to learn more about Bells Up and their various varietals.