Bellview Winery, in Landisville, NJ, was the next venture on the Saturday's agenda. Thankful that I had gone old-fashioned and hand-written the directions (rest in peace, Arnold the TomTom GPS) I made it to the winery surprisingly quickly.
Everything about Bellview is sunshine. Pulling in, the house itself glows as the afternoon light faces the entrance. A willow tree lines the parking lot and a vast lawn surrounds the tasting room. Jazz music is heard in the parking lot and continues indoors. The inside walls were a warm shade of yellow. The whole facility is very open and welcoming.
The tasting bench was crowded and I offered to wait but Jim, the owner, hushed me and made space. A tasting is free and you are allowed up to eight wines. As you will see their list is vast and varied, so picking and choosing was a challenge.
Pinot Grigio - A fabulous pinot for the price ($12). Very tasty.
Viognier - One of Nancy's favorites. This is noted to have flavors of peaches and apricot but I made the mistake of trying this after the Traminette. After that I couldn't taste much of anything.
Traminette - The lime is very strong and it almost tastes like a bud light lime. I puckered and it was definitely unlike any other wine I've tried before, but not to my taste at all. Jim commented the whole winery smells like lime when this one is fermenting.
Chardonnay - did not try
Jersey Devil White - A blend of the cayuga and traminette that thankfully did not include any lime. Very refreshing.
Angelo's Red Table Wine - did not try
Chambourcin - Very smooth with noticeable berry tones. Definitely a good dinner wine.
Merlot - did not try
Jersey Devil Red - Jim's favorite right now, although he didn't want to pick a favorite because all of the wines "are his children". This is a 7 grape blend that melts into a smooth wine. Understandable why it's a favorite.
Lemberger - did not try
Cabernet Franc - did not try
Syrah - This unique and tasty wine hit all of the right spots as the sun started to set. I tasted it and bought a glass to enjoy outside.
Petit Verdot - The second of Nancy's favorites. Very aromatic and acidic, quite heavy. Definitely a winter wine to warm you in the chill.
Cabernet Sauvignon - did not try
Halfway through the tasting a woman came over to assist me. She told me her name was Nancy.
"You're not married to him, are you?" I said, referring to Jim. Turned out she was. Nancy and Jim, the name of my grandparents. They'd met through mutual friends from each of their respective colleges - his, Del Val, hers, Penn State. They hit it off and one day opened a winery.
Nancy continued with the history of the winery. They began planting in 2000 with the idea that they would use what they could and pull what didn't work out. "We never had to pull a single vine," Nancy said. Their success led them to be the 17th winery in the state.
Nana's White - did not try
Niagara - did not try
Under the Arbor - did not try
Ives - did not try
Homestead - did not try
Port - did not try
Winter Spice - smells like Christmastime and tastes like alcoholic cider. Likely fabulous when warm.
Fruit - Did not try any of these (not enough tastes!)
Cranberry, Fiesta, Blueberry, Raspberry, Black Currant
Sparkling - Not offered for tasting
Lettizzia, Starlight Blues
Cristallina - did not try
Dandelion - I had to save a tasting for this because it's made from Dandelion flowers and I'm not sure I will ever see this again in my life. It's an old family recipe from Jim's aunt who, at age 95, decided to share it. It smells like a dandelion but tastes refreshing and earthy. Quite unique, I do recommend anyone who goes here to give it a shot.
As I took the glass of Syrah with me outside the yardworker was singing as he mowed. He was friendly and chatted with me as I sat and enjoyed the scenery.
Bellview is a fantastic place. It's welcoming with a feeling that you're going into a relative's home that is just as comfortable as your own. The wines are expansive, varied, and fantastic. Greatly enjoyed!