Belle Pente (“beautiful slope”) is owned by Brian and Jill O’Donnell. They farm an historic 70-acre estate
two miles east of Carlton in the Yamhill-Carlton District. The estate now has 12 acres of closely
planted Pinot Noir which is farmed with organic and biodynamic principles. Famed viticulturist Wayne
Cook oversees the farming. The first vines were planted in 1994 and the first wines were produced in
1996. the O’Donnells work out of their own 3-level gravity flow winery. I have been a fan of Belle Pente
Pinot Noirs from some time now and their wines have been consistently outstanding. Last year, they
were one of the featured wineries at the International Pinot Noir Celebration and poured their 2004
Estate Reserve Pinot Noir.
Brian is from New York City and Jill grew up in St. Cloud, Minnesota. They met while pursuing careers
in Silicon Valley, California. On the eve of the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, they resolved to move
and begin a career making wine. They arrived in the Willamette Valley in 1992. Their name has not
been as highly-profiled like several in Oregon (Brian is soft spoken), but their Pinot Noirs are top rate.
2005 Belle Pente Murto Vineyard Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
12.9% alc., 200 cases, $35. Robin and
Mike Murto established their vineyard in 1978. Yields for 2005 were .56 tons per acre. 10th consecutive
vintage from this vineyard. This wine spends 18 months in barrel.
Huge, and I mean huge black
cherry aromas that are intoxicating. Darker fruits on the palate with a nice touch of earthiness and oak.
Very smooth in texture. Lingering fruity aftertaste with a hint of pepper. Kissed by an angel.
is located at 12470 NE Rowland Road, Carlton. The wines are distributed to fine retail
stores. The website is www.bellepente.com
and the phone is 503-852-9500. Tours and tasting by