New York State (6) Bellangelo, Finger Lakes

Chris Missick, Bellangelo

Chris Missick of Bellangelo recalls how that back in 2005 he attended a summer abroad program in Toulouse, France, while he was studying law. While there, he met a girl, and ended up marrying her. He was living in California, but ended up honeymooning in Rochester, where he discovered the Finger Lakes. The last property he visited that day (then called Squaw Creek) is the one he now owns with his family. It came up for sale and they decided it would be a good family project. So, in 2012 he moved here and began running operations, leaving his law career behind.

In 2015, after taking a course in Viticulture and Enology at Finger Lakes College, he then became winemaker.

Bellangelo source from five growers around Seneca Lake, in addition to their own home block.

Of Chardonnay, Chris says that he’s trying to hone in on a particular style. ‘I want to make a mineral, saline-driven Chardonnay that still has acid as a main component.’

He’s also not embarrassed by hybdrids. ‘I’m quite proud to work with hybrids,’ he says. ‘It tells the story of up and coming regions, or regions with problems.’ He doesn’t chaptalize or deacidity the vinifera wines, but he feels more liberty to do this with the hybrids.

When it comes to blending, he says he thinks about muscles, skeletons and flesh. ‘I also think about colours: when I close my eyes and taste, I think of colours, and I want the right colours to go together.’ He also adds, with a straight face, ‘I love metaphors: a metaphor is like a great story book.’

Bellangelo Brut 2014 Finger Lakes
80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir, 8 g/l residual sugar. This is 3 years on its lees. Pithy and lively with keen acidity. Intense and focused with good acidity and a lemony finish. Delicious stuff. 91/100

Bellangelo Sparkling Merlot Rosé 2017 Finger Lakes
Bright pink in colour. Ripe, pretty and sweetly fruited with some sweetness. Sweet table grape and cherry flavours. Very fruity and fun. 89/100

Bellangelo Chardonnay 2015 Finger Lakes
28% barrel fermented. Fresh and lively with keen acidity and some lemony notes, as well as cabbage, pear and herbs. Has a juicy quality but also some tangy, mineral, acid components. Quite lean. 88/100

Bellangelo Reserve Chardonnay 2015 Finger Lakes
Mineral and toasty on the nose. There’s depth and generosity here on the palate. It’s voluptuous but also has nice pear and peach flavours, balancing ripeness and tension. Nice depth and finesse here. 92/100

Bellangelo Chardonnay 2016 Finger Lakes
One-eighth malolactic, 18 months on gross lees. Fresh and lively with tangerines and lemons. Bright style with keen acidity and a mineral twist. Very pure fruit. 90/100

Bellangelo Chardonnay 2017 Finger Lakes
Textural and fresh with fine, supple pear and citrus fruit. Nice supple texture with freshness and nice focus. Has freshness and detail. 90/100

Bellangelo Seyval Blanc 2017 Finger Lakes
9 g/l sugar. Fruity, lively and bright with rounded table grape flavours, as well as lemons and mandarin. Fruity and easy. 87/100

Bellangelo  Sparkling Gewurztraminer 2017 Finger Lakes
Pet Nat style. Lovely lychee, grape and citrus fruit with nice spiciness. Lovely fruit weight here with expressive, lively fruitiness. 92/100

Bellangelo Gewurztraminer 2017 Finger Lakes
25% barrel component. Nice grapiness with juicy, sweet apple, grape and lychee. Very pure with some generosity and a nice off-dry, spicy finish. 90/100

Bellangelo Reserve Gewurztraminer 2013 Finger Lakes
All barrel fermented. Full golden colour. Rich, sweet and textured with a hint of toast and bold, sweet nutty, grapey fruit. Spicy, exotic and seamless. 92/100

Bellangelo Chenin Blanc 2017 Finger Lakes (tank sample)
This will be the first commercial bottling of Chenin in the finger lakes. Harvested at 24.5 Brix and a TA of 9 g/litre, so Chris opted to make an off-dry style. Sweet citrus and straw notes with some stoniness and a touch of herb. Very clean and pure with nice weight and texture. Has finesse, purity and delicacy. 90-92/100

Bellangelo Reserve Riesling 2012 Finger Lakes
9% alcohol, 30 g/l sugar. Half was barrel fermented. Powerful, toasty and spicy with lively citrus fruit and notes of marmalade and toast, as well as a twist of apricot. Has nice lemony notes. Sweet and savoury. 92/100

Bellangelo Dry Riesling 2015 Finger Lakes
30% barrel fermented. Linear, pithy and limey with bright lemon and lime characters. Has lovely intensity. Bright, pure and dry with lovely juiciness. Very fine. 92/100

Bellangelo Riesling 2015 Finger Lakes
30% barrel fermented, 18 g/l sugar, 9.4 TA. Very linear and focused with pure, fine-grained citrus fruit. Lovely bright citrus here with some nice lemony complexity. Dry and refined. 93/100

Bellangelo Kashong Glen Vineyard Riesling 2015 Finger Lakes
There’s an unusual herbal twist to this, with hints of cabbage. Is there a slight trace of rot? NR

Bellangelo Dry Riesling 2016 Finger Lakes
7 g/l sugar. Linear and fine with nice lemony fruit. Lovely precision here with nice finess and purity. Has some mandarin detail. 92/100

Bellangelo Fût de Chêne Riesling 2016 Finger Lakes
A barrel selection of wine aged in barrel, with 10 months on gross lees, and no battonage. Has a waxy, nutty edge to the nose. The palate is fine with good purity and focus. Textural with great concentration, showing good acidity. 94/100

Bellangelo Dry Riesling 2017 Finger Lakes
Very delicate and fine with nice purity. Lemons, pears, fine spiciness. Delicate and fne with good acidity. Lovely mouthfeel, finishing fresh. 92/100

Bellangelo Kashong Glen Vineyard Riesling 2017 Finger Lakes
Exotic and pretty with bright lemon, pear and apple fruit. Very lively and juicy. Bright and fresh with good detail. Mandarin and some minerals. 92/100

Bellangelo Riesling 2017 Finger Lakes
50% barrel. Lively and pure with nice juiciness. Has lovely fruit quality with some sweetness and good acidity. Nice tension and balance here. 92/100

Bellangelo Fût de Chêne Riesling 2017 Finger Lakes
Has some nuts and grapefruit and a bit of oak. Lovely texture and purity here with citrus fruit, some table grape. Juicy, linear and textural. 93/100

Bellangelo Morris Vineyard Riesling 2017 Finger Lakes
12 g/l residual sugar. Fruity, rounded and juicy with lovely purity. Table grapes, lemons and mandarins with a little bit of H2S. 91/100

Bellangelo Gibson Vineyard Riesling 2017 Finger Lakes
Very fresh and lively with nice supple, bright, refreshing lemony fruit. Has a bity of peachy richness. Some sweetness. 90/100

Bellangelo Bench Barrel Aged Riesling 2015 Finger Lakes
Complex, fresh, spicy, minty. Lively with some grip. Expressive with nice density. Has full malolactic fermentation. 91/100

Bellangelo Morris Vineyard Riesling 2016
20% botrytis, and the fruit has a 24 h cold soak. Complex, with apple, spice and pear. Delicate with some sweetness. Fine. 93/100

Bellangelo Late Harvest Riesling 2014 Finger Lakes
Nice rich flavours of table grape and barley sugar, with citrus and melon. Sweet, slightly syrupy finish. 90/100

Bellangelo Berry Select Riesling 2015 Finger Lakes
9.4% alcohol. Complex and concentrated. Rich and bold with lovely apricot flavours. Viscous and sweet with amazing harmony and depth. Extremely sweet. 94/100

Bellangelo Meritage 2014 Finger Lakes
Supple and sweetly fruited with fresh cherry and plum fruit. Has a savoury, slightly gravelly edge with bright fruit. 88/100

Bellangelo Cabernet Franc 2015
Juicy and nicely savoury with sweet plum and cherry fruit, and chalky gravelly notes. Fresh, juicy and expressive. 89/100

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NEW YORK STATE WINE

FINGER LAKES

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