93 points Vinous, Josh Raynolds: "Powerful red and blue fruit, floral and exotic spice qualities on the deeply perfumed nose, which is energized by a building mineral flourish. Concentrated yet lively in style, showing fine delineation and spicy lift to the appealingly sweet raspberry, boysenberry and spicecake flavors. The floral note repeats emphatically on a very long, smooth finish framed by smooth, well-judged tannins."
If there's such a thing as a "universally attractive" Willamette Valley Pinot, this has to be it. It has fruit-forwardness, body, and texture plus aromatic complexity and a pure Pinot finish. I absolutely love it! - Marcus
Brian And Jill: "The early part of the 2016 growing season was almost a “carbon copy” of 2015 until flowering, which occurred a little earlier and under less ideal conditions, setting the stage for a smaller crop. Overall yields were down 30% from the bumper crop of 2015, resulting in very concentrated wines with great flavor authority. Once again, harvest at our estate vineyard was very early, commencing on September 8th and concluding on the 15th, a week earlier than our normal start date!
As would be expected from a warm year, especially one with a small crop, the 2016 wines offer plenty of intensely concentrated forward fruit flavors and aromas. Yet they somehow retain an underlying freshness and sense of balance. They are ripe, compelling wines that are a delight now, and will gain complexity as they shed their “baby fat” with some time in the cellar.
The grapes come from 6 of our 8 blocks of Pinot nor, planted between 1994 and 1999. This year’s rendition leans heavily on the Dijon clones (primarily 115 and 114) with about 25% of the “old school” Wadensvil and Pommard selections. True to it’s Yamhill-Carlton appellation, the wine shows ripe blueberry and blackberry flavors and aromas, with a hint of licorice and violets. A high single digit dose of whole clusters (about 8%) contributes aromatic nuance and textural complexity, making this one of the most intriguing renditions or our flagship estate Pinot to date!
Enjoy now and over the next dozen years with rich dishes featuring wild mushrooms, big birds, or small mammals.
2015 vintage notes
94 points Vinous: "Powerful aromas of fresh red berries, cherry pit, blood orange and minerals, with a touch of licorice adding depth. Sweet and seamless in the mouth, offering densely packed black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that put on weight and pick up a spicy topnote with air. Shows very good breadth and seamless texture, finishing with impressive clarity, harmonious tannins and a lingering red fruit preserve quality."
2012 vintage notes
Belle Pente's flagship 2012 Pinot is awesome. Silky, suuuper silky, with a deep palate awash in black raspberry, and black cherry, accented by floral and coffee notes. The finish reminds me of fresh summer blackberries with a splash of cream on top. 2012 marks the 11th vintage of a Belle Pente Vineyard bottling, and the wine is still well under $40. Delicious today, better in 3 years, even better in 6. You get the picture. You can't lose.
Belle Pente epitomizes Oregon wine: speak softly, and let your wines do the talking. Wines grown and made with integrity, priced with modesty. Brian and Jill O'Donnell are the kind of people you want to buy wine from; fortunately, they also make some of our favorite Oregon Pinots. - Marcus