Belle Pente

Owner(s) Brian O'Donnell, Jill O'Donnell
Web site
Link to this site

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. They have been one of the featured wineries at the International Pinot Noir Celebration.

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.

Belle Pente is located at 12470 NE Rowland Road, Carlton. The wines are distributed to fine retail stores. The website is and the phone is 503-852-9500. Tours and tasting by appointment.

Reviewed Wines

2018 Belle Pente Murto Vineyard Dundee Hills Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $45. Indigenous yeast fermentation, aged 18 months in French oak barrels, bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Lovely aromas of black cherry, cardamom, and sous-bois. A deeply-flavored black cherry core fills the mouth without overreaching. Very spicy, with a complimentary trace of nutty oak. Thoroughly enjoyable with supportive tannins, defining acidity and an endless echo of cherry goodness on the finish. Even more beguiling when tasted the following day from a previously opened bottle, when its extroverted nose and tenacious flavor of wild cherry sprinkled with spice and flowers revealed an old vine masterpiece. Score: 96. Reviewed May 30, 2022 ARTICLE »

2008 Belle Pente Murto Vineyard Dundee Hills Pinot Noir

13.4% alc.. Indigenous yeast fermentation, aged 18 months in French oak barrels, and bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark garnet in color with the slightest bricking of the rim. This wine was fresh and glorious when first opened, then developed an aged patina over time in the glass like a very well-aged grand Burgundy. Initially, the aromas of ripe cherry, spice, arrowroot, sweet pipe smoke, and tilled earth were prevalent, becoming less fruity and more earthy in the glass after an hour. The discretely concentrated black cherry and black raspberry fruit flavors were complimented with anise, spice and umami. The generous and lengthy cherry-laden finish was remarkable initially. Drink up. Score: 93. Reviewed May 30, 2022 ARTICLE »

2008 Belle Pente Murto Vineyard Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., $30. Robin and Mike Murto’s vineyard was established in 1978. Indigenous yeast fermentations, aged 18 months in French oak barrels. No fining or filtration. · Moderately deep garnet color in the glass. Aromas of fresh picked red berries with a subtle green stem note. Slightly sweet dark red fruits are lighter weighted and somewhat buried in muscular tannins. Much better two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle displaying more vivid fruit and much less aggressive tannin. A good cellar candidate. Very good. Reviewed January 12, 2012 ARTICLE »

2006 Belle Pente Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., $23. This has been a consistently fine producer of Pinot Noir and this may have been an off bottle. I did not have a second bottle to sample. · Primarily oak and cigar box on the nose with a hint of ripe berries. In the mouth there are flavors of black cherries with a heavy dose of smoke and oak. The tannins are soft and the texture is silky. Just too much oak for its own good. Reviewed March 26, 2009 ARTICLE »

2005 Belle Pente Belle Pente Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., $34. A densely planted vineyard established in 1994. Indigenous yeast, 18 months in oak, no fining or filtration. · A fruited nose of black cherry backed by oak spice, herbs and oiled timber. Oak-infused black cherry and blackberry flavors with a lengthy finish marked by brisk acidity and a citric tang. Reviewed September 15, 2008 ARTICLE »

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. Reviewed January 30, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 Belle Pente Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $35, 18 months in barrel. · Enticing aromatics featuring spiced cherries and oak. Delicious cherry fruit with an oak sidecar. Well put together with lively acidity ideal for food accompaniment. Reviewed January 30, 2008 ARTICLE »

2004 Belle Pente Estate Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Owners Jill and Brian O’Donnell farm an historic 70-acre estate in the Yamhill-Carlton District. Belle Pente (‘bell pont’) means “beautiful slope.” The estate’s 12 acres of Pinot Noir is closely planted and farmed using organic and biodynamic principles. The Estate Reserve Pinot Noir is a selection of individual barrels from the best sections of the vineyard, aged for at least 18 months in barrel. Website: · Like previous Belle Pente Pinot Noirs I have enjoyed over the past few years, this is another winner. The wine has a refined mouth feel and just the right touch of acidity. If you love classic Pinot Noir with charm and elegance, this is your cup of tea. Reviewed August 6, 2007 ARTICLE »

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