Thursday, October 17, 2019

Finger Lakes Winery Bellangelo Crafting Legacy Of Winemaking Excellence

Villa BellangeloConsidered among the best Finger Lakes wineries, Bellangelo continues to innovate.

Riesling And Then Some

We’ve had a lot of Finger Lakes wine over the years. A lot.

Since first visiting the region more than a decade ago,we’ve visited more than 50 different wineries there and tasted wine from scores more. Finger Lakes wine country is changing. New wineries are popping up and the countryside is now dotted with numerous craft breweries and distilleries.

Never Miss A Beat – Follow Vino-Sphere On Facebook

When we first started frequenting this picturesque patch of upstate New York, Villa Bellangelo Winery wasn’t yet on our map. In 2015 we visited Bellangelo for the first time during the Wine Bloggers Conference. The stop was memorable for several reasons. First, my wife milked a goat (it was a promotion for a cheese company). While my wife might remember the goat, I remember the astounding Riesling.

Riesling is perhaps the most perfect expression of Finger Lakes winemaking. With crisp acidity and a lilting minerality, the Finger Lakes produces the best Riesling in the United States. And Bellangelo offers about a dozen different bottles.

Chris MissickSomething Is Bubbling

It would be easy to focus strictly on the amazing Riesling at Bellangelo. During our recent visit, though, winemaker Chris Missick wanted to talk about their sparkling wine program.

Keep up with the latest. Follow us on Instagram!

“I’m a fan of Limoux,” said Missick, referring to the French region known for sparkling wine with grassy and apple flavors. “It’s different. I prefer a more fruit-forward, hedonistic style – not as austere.”

Bellangelo’s sparkling wines have earned national recognition. Three different methods are used, the traditional method (as used for Champagne), the Charmat (or tank) method usually used for Prosecco and what Missick terms the “modern method.”

Instead of adding sugar, a standard part of the traditional method, the fermentation is stopped at the precise sugar level needed. It is sent through a crossflow filtering machine and then yeast is added to trigger the second fermentation which takes place in-bottle. This modern method, using only natural sugar, is producing beautiful wines and earning the praise of critics.

We tasted three sparklers including the yet-to-be-released 2018 Sparkling Gewürztraminer. Everything is better with bubbly, and its true with Gewürztraminer.  The regular varietal bottling can sometimes be sweet and overly floral. In its bubbly version it is enticing with lively acidity and some citrus and spice notes. The 2014 Blanc de Blanc is another winning sparkling effort, favoring flavor rather than the minimalistic notes of some traditional Champagne.

P1060138Rewarding Riesling

The energetic bubbles extend to the Finger Lakes signature grape as well. We sampled the Gibson Vineyard Sparkling Riesling, which popped with a fruity and fleshy flavor.

Bellangelo first caught my attention due to the variety and excellence of their Riesling. “If you are a painter, you want to make sure you have a palette with many colors,” said Missick. He combines different techniques to paint the exact wine picture he is seeking.

The 2018 Reserve Riesling is a limited production wine with only 40 cases. The fruit comes from the Gibson and Kashong Glen vineyards. The 2018 Kashong Glen Riesling was my favorite, a sculpted wine wrapped in lime and minerality. The 2018 Fût de Chêne gets an oak emphasis with 10 months in the barrel.

Bellangelo continues to innovate and the results are delicious. The winery became the first in the Finger Lakes to produce canned wine with its Can Do line. They also produce the only Chenin Blanc in the region.

P1060128“My vision is to first and foremost make wines that are authentic and delicious,” said Missick. “Authenticity is the only thing that really matters. The wines must speak of the site and region and my personality. Not that it is about me, but anyone who makes wine, you can taste their personality.”

We have tasted and it is authentically good. Bellangelo is a family-owned winery located on the west side of Seneca Lake. The location has a history of grape growing since 1866. Bellangelo features wonderful hospitality, exceptional views and knock-out wines. Be sure to make it a stop on your next Finger Lakes visit.

No comments: