Grape(s): Pinot Noir
Localization: Yamhill-Carlton, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Tasting notes: The wines are very concentrated. Look for dark black fruit flavors and aromas complemented by licorice, dried herbs, and flowers.
Notes: This version also includes more whole clusters and less new oak than in previous years. We have been slowly increasing our use of whole bunches over the past several years, seeking more aromatic complexity and slightly more pronounced tannins. This also led us to utilize more once-filled than new barrels for this Cuvee, better showcasing the sweet ripe fruit of the vintage.
The Domain: Jill & Brian O'Donnell established Belle Pente Vineyards in 1994, with the first wine produced in 1996. Brian is from New York City, and Jill is from St Cloud, Minnesota. They met while living in California, and moved to the Willamette Valley in 1992. Both were award-winning homebrewers, and Brian began making wine for family and friends in 1986. On the night of the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, they resolved to begin a transition out of their Silicon Valley careers to start up a small premium vineyard & winery. Brian is currently responsible for production, and he and Jill share marketing and administrative duties. Daughter Riona arrived just in time for the 1999 vintage and now serves as Director of Social Media Marketing.
Belle Pente (bell-pont') means "beautiful slope" - a perfect description for their 70-acre hillside vineyard & winery site in Oregon's Willamette Valley. It also reflects the inspiration that they draw from the exquisite wines of Burgundy and Alsace, following the guiding principle that great wine is made in the vineyard and merely nurtured in the winery. They are located on a historic 1840s farmstead two miles east of the town of Carlton in the Yamhill-Carlton American Viticultural Area. The vineyard site rises from 240' to 500' with south, south-east, and south-west exposures. The first vineyard was planted in 1994, and now includes over 16 acres of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay. The estate vineyard is supplemented with high-quality fruit grown to their specifications in partnership with carefully selected independent Yamhill County vineyards. Their 3-level, the gravity-flow winery was built in 1996 (our first vintage), and their average production is now 4500 cases per year, 2/3 of which is Pinot Noir, and 2/3 of which is from estate-grown grapes.