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Kathy Sullivan

BellangeloSummary: Bellangelo (Beautiful Angel) winery is a renovated family owned winery. Upon entering the tasting room, visitors will be delighted with the atmosphere and the wines. The oldest grapevines on the property were planted in the mid-1800s.

Bellangelo is a winery with photographic views of Seneca Lake. Purchased by new owners in 2011, the winery received intensive renovation. Visitors to Bellangelo will first see a large brown building and light brown deck. Wine enthusiasts can access the deck and entrance by a staircase or by a ramp. Standing on the deck, visitors will have beautiful views of the lake and surrounding property. Closer to the winery is a massive upright outline of a wine bottle.

We met Chris Missick, one of the family owners of Bellangelo at the Wine Bloggers Conference in the Finger Lakes and were happy to meet up with him again at the remodeled Bellangelo Winery where he told us his story. Chris calls himself “a wine philosopher.” However, Chris is much more. In addition to having a dynamic and friendly personality, Chris is a vintner, veteran, author and attorney. He recently authored A Sense of Place: Discovering the Finger Lakes & Bellangelo Winery.

History of the Bellangelo Property

BellangeloAccording to Chris (pictured left with winemaker), Bellangelo means beautiful angel and the property played a role in the early history of this wine region. In the 1860s there was early grape production of native grapes on the hillsides sloping to Seneca Lake. Dr. Bryan Spence planted Concord, Isabella and Catawba table grapes in 1866. A few of the original vines can be seen near the winery. Research has shown that the grapes were sent to New York City as table grapes. Unfortunately by the 1950s and 1960s the area became depressed. In 1986, the winery was built and named Squaw Point. However, the focus was not on high quality vinifera wines. The winery was sold to Michael Litterio in 2002 who renamed the winery Villa Bellangelo and began focusing on vinifera varieties. Eventually he sold the winery to Chris Missick in 2011.

While in France, Chris met a French girl, the love of his life. They married in Rochester, New York. After their wedding, they completed a wine tour in the Finger Lakes region. The last winery they visited was Villa Bellangelo. Eventually the winery became available for purchase and the Messick family was able to purchase it. During our visit, Chris described the winery as in desperate need of renovation. Fortunately Chris’ father was in the construction business and used his skills and resources to completely renovate the facility.

Today the winery has two main areas for visitors. The retail area has the tasting counter at the back of the main building. Large windows allow wine enthusiasts to view the dramatic sight of Seneca Lake while tasting Bellangelo wines.

Adjacent to the winery retail and tasting area is a large room with a baby grand piano and banquet tables with comfortable seating. The room also has windows allowing views of picturesque Seneca Lake. The views from the Bellangelo tasting room are beautiful. Chris called it “nature’s cuvee.”

BellangeloWine Production at Bellangelo

Currently the winery sources grapes from five growers. In the meantime the winery has purchased 200 acres and in 2016 will plant Riesling, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc grape varieties. Later there will be a planting of Pinot Noir.

Bellangelo Wines

We tasted several wines with Chris. The Dry Riesling 2014 was 11.2% alcohol with 4 grams of residual sugar per liter. The light yellow colored wine offered notes of peach, tropical fruit, citrus and mineral. The taste had peach, citrus with a hint of mineral. The finish was crisp. Riesling 2014 was 11.8% alcohol with 18 grams of residual sugar per liter. The wine’s color was a light yellow and offered floral, mineral and peach notes. The finish was crisp with citrus and yellow stone fruit on the aftertaste with citrus. Dry Riesling 2013 with 11.3% alcohol had 8 grams per liter of residual sugar. The light yellow colored wine offered notes of floral, white peach and a hint of bread. The finish was crisp with white peach notes. The aftertaste had fruit yielding to chalk.

BellangeloChardonnay 2013 was barrel fermented and was 13% alcohol. The wine had 5 grams per liter residual sugar. The wine was light yellow and had undergone malolactic fermentation. The taste was reminiscent of pear, bread and caramel. The mouthfeel was smooth and the taste offered pear and caramel notes. The finish was crisp with a long caramel aftertaste. Chardonnay 2013 unoaked was a light yellow color. The wine had 12% alcohol and measured 5 grams of residual sugar per liter. The aroma was of bright fruits with apple, pear and citrus notes. The very crisp finish had notes of citrus and apple.

Gewürztraminer 2013 was yellow with fruit and honeysuckle notes. The taste was dry and smooth. Spice notes including pepper were on the finish. The wine offered a long aftertaste. This wine was produced with three to four days of cold soaking. Gewürztraminer 2012 had a higher acidity than the 2013. This wine was produced in a German-style. The wine was dry with a hint of sweetness. This light bodied wine offered a spicy mouthfeel.

Moscato was a pale yellow color. The aroma was very fruity and the taste was sweet with fruit. This is a great rocking chair wine for the porch or next to the fireplace.

BellangeloPrivate Events at Bellangelo

On a lower level, a large event room is available for a variety of activities. Chandeliers and Oriental-style rugs add to the ambiance desired for many events. Bellangelo is available for private events including anniversaries, weddings, birthday parties and corporate functions.

When planning your visit to Bellangelo Winery, be sure to schedule enough time to enjoy a wine tasting and the panoramic views of Seneca Lake.

150 Poplar Point Road
Dundee, New York 14837

GPS: N42º 33.974’ W76º 55.063’


Article written September 2015




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