93 point Vinous, Josh Raynolds: "A highly aromatic bouquet evokes fresh red fruits, incense and Asian spices, along with bright mineral and floral overtones. Juicy and precise on the palate, offering alluringly sweet raspberry preserve, lavender pastille and spicecake flavors that deepen and spread out slowly with air. Delivers a suave blend of power and elegance, finishing with silky, harmonious tannins and excellent clarity and floral-driven persistence."
"The 2013 plays smoothy into the vibrant, graceful expression of Pinot noir for which this impressively consistent winery is known. Established by Brian and Jill O’Donnell in 1994, the enviably situated estate vineyard now encompasses 70 hillside and hilltop acres that surround the O’Donnells’ home and stripped-down, highly efficient winery. New oak is used very carefully here and extraction during winemaking is gentle, it should go without saying, since Brian wants his wines ‘to put the emphasis on purity, not power and makeup.’ He’s not afraid to hold his wines back from distribution to allow them the chance to harmonize after bottling, and he believes (and has proven to me countless times) that his Pinots are built for the long haul ‘based on balance, not richness.’ Here’s another producer whose wines should please even the most died-in-the-wool Burgundy fanatic; the 2013s would a fine introduction to the house style."
2012 vintage notes
94 points Vinous: "A heady, strikingly pure bouquet evokes ripe red and dark berries, potpourri and Asian spices, along with suggestions of sassafras, cola and smoky minerals. At once concentrated and lithe, conveying superb energy and focus to its juicy raspberry, cherry and spicecake flavors. A suave floral quality emerges with air, carrying through a very long, sweet, gently tannic finish that leaves sappy red berry and rose pastille notes behind. Is this the best bottling yet to emerge from this winery, which has firmly established itself as one of America's finest sources of elegant Pinot Noir? One thing's for sure, it's an excellent value." - Josh Raynolds
2011 vintage notes
One of standouts of the 2011 vintage. Forward and attractive, with chrushed berry fruit, earth and spice unfurling. There's a definite structure, with fine tannins and a lovely ribbon of fresh acidity.
2009 vintage notes
Boy do I spend a lot of time writing about wines that need to be cellared. So it's a blast of fresh air (way more than a breath) to encounter a delicious, stuffed-with-goodness Pinot that beckons to be opened. Brian O'Donnell, Belle Pente's winemaker, first described the 09 Estate Reserve as "more of everything" in relation to his 2009 Belle Pente Vineyard. I thought, hell yes! And he was right: more richness and opulence, more complexity and acidity. Red berries and currant provide a sustained sweetness, with creamy earth, citrus, barrel spice, and field herb accents. You can certainly cellar this, and it drinks even better on the second day opened, but why wait? - Marcus
Tanzer 93 Points: "Vivid ruby-red. An intensely perfumed bouquet evokes candied dark berries, Asian spices and potpourri, with a bright note of blood orange gaining strength with air. Juicy, expansive and seamless, offering open-knit black raspberry and cherry flavors and a suggestion of candied rose. Shows excellent clarity and power on the finish, leaving notes of singed orange and cherry-cola behind. This exotic pinot is complex enough to drink now with little guilt, but I suspect that it will be even better with another three to five years of bottle age."
The core of the Estate Reserve is always a barrel selection from our "best" blocks. These include the original 1994 planting (always the most complex wine in the cellar), and the Wadensvil block planted in 1998 on a steep south-west hillside (generally producing the most concentrated wines). In this 2009 edition, over 80% of the grapes hailed from these two blocks, supplemented by a small dose of Pommard clone Pinot from one of our East blocks. - the winery
2008 vintage notes
Highly Recommended 2008 Cellar Selection
Unquestionably Belle Pente's finest 08 Pinot, it gives meaning to the word "Reserve." The New York Times chose Belle Pente's entry-level Willamette Valley Pinot as their top 2008 Oregon wine, and this is exponentially better.
More depth and layers, more age-worthy structure. Packed with dark berries, shaded with field herbs and earth, this is ethereal Pinot noir that should rest in your cellar - it's a standout of the 2008 vintage. - Marcus
Tanzer's IWC 93 points "Bright ruby-red. Heady, spice accented scents of red and dark fruits and flowers, along with notes of allspice, licorice, mocha and incense. Fresh, precise and deeply concentrated, with sweet raspberry and mulberry flavors picking up spicecake and candied rose qualities with air. Shows impressive tenacity and clarity on the extremely persistent finish, which is given shape by fine-grained tannins." - Josh Raynolds