Thursday, January 22, 2015


I have written about Bellview Winery before. But I must admit I have never been there. The only time I have drank their wine is when I found it at a local wine shop, including Wegman's. But this past fall when I was at the Garden State Harvest Festival, I went to their tent to see if they had anything other than the wines available through the grocery stores.
For those who don't know, Bellview is located on soil that the Quarella family has been farming for a century in Landisville, NJ. Bellview Winery opened its doors in 2001. Jim Quarella, founder and president of Bellview Winery, takes pride in crafting fine estate wines exclusively from the grapes that are cultivated on their 40 acres of vineyards, in the Outer Coastal Plains AVA. They have become a popular destination in New Jersey! 
I was pleasantly surprised. They brought almost all their best wines to sample for the public! That's not the usual modus operandi. Usually wineries bring their inexpensive blends, and their sweeter, picnic wines. While Bellview brought some of those, they also brought the good stuff.
The first wine I tried was their Viognier 2012. This was only the second Garden State Viognier I have ever tasted. The nose was classic Viognier, with an explosion of peach, apricot, and tropical fruits. Massively aromatic. The peach and apricot led off on the palate, but it ended with a healthy dollopof grapefruit. Lip smacking good. It's very clear, that more wineries in New Jersey should be growing this variety! 

When Traminette first started becoming popular with winemakers, I was not happy with the results at all. It was very clear that the growers were ahead of the winemakers. In the cellar, winemakers struggled with it, learning its nuances, its foibles, its secrets. I have to say, today, it's clear the winemakers have more than equaled the growers. In the Hudson Valley especially, I have tasted a number of very fine Traminettes. But this New Jersey Traminette was lovely!!! This lovely wine had all the floral notes and grace of a fine Gewurztraminer, which of course is the dominant parent of Traminette.  A wonderful profusion of apple, pear, and honeydew swirl across the nose and mouth. But the crisplime/grapefruit ending, left the mouth with a pucker. A fabulous, fabulous wine! Elegant, complex. Light and refreshing. Bravo! 

I am a big fan of Chambourcin, and this 2012 Chambourcin from Bellview quickly catapulted itself into my top 10! This powerful wine starts off with notes of plum, raspberry, and dark, stewed strawberries. Nice deep fruit, like a mixed berry cobbler, comes across the tongue. This big wine is a giant fruit bomb up front But make no mistake, it's more elegant than that. Mature, with hints of vanilla and cocoa, this wine offers more complex notes of dried cranberries and spice. This is a wonderful, wonder red wine.

Solavita is an Italian-styled table red. Dry, medium bodied, this wine is the perfect pasta wine. I dont mean to make that sound like it's less than wonderful wine. This is a great wine to entertain with. Big notes of cherry and plum, and a splash of vanilla and spice come across on the nose, and the tongue. A lovely, lovely wine.

Plum jam, blackberry, dark raspberry, and cassis are the hallmarks of this gorgeous Syrah 2012. This dry red wine is very straight forward -but beautiful in that one simple statement. What you smell is what you get. But the taste is out of this world. A big, dark fruit stew, there are lovely tannins and a complexity and long lasting flavor that makes this one of the better east coast Syrahs!

This is the big gun of the Bellview line, and came appropriately last. And it was in fact the show stopper. Tis is a big bodied, estate blend of their best red grapes. Coeur D'est, or "Heart of the East", showcases the exceptional grape varieties that not only thrive, but excel on the Outer Coastal Plain of southern New Jersey. Blackberry, dark raspberry, dark cherry, and hints of cassis. Nice notes of vanilla, mocha, cedar and spice. The fruit lingers, and as it does dried cherries and cranberries come across. Tannins and the fruit are in balance. Savor it, because the flavor lasts a nice, long time.

Bellview was the not the biggest shock of the day, that day, because I already knew they made good wine. What I did not know until that day is that they make great wine. Bellview I absolutely making a very credible run at being one of the top wineries, not only in New Jersey, but a very competent competitor to any winery on the east coast. Bellview is making terrific wines! Don't wait like I did, and taste it at some festival. Go to Bellview and taste some of the best wine New Jersey has to offer. Bellview is doing some wonderful things with grapes!