Belle Pente, Willamette Valley

California Sales Only

Belle Pente Pinot Noir label

Country & RegionOregon, Yamhill-Carlton
ProducerBrian and Jill O' Donnell


B elle Pente is one of the storied properties of Oregon’s nascent winemaking days and we are particularly proud to represent the O’Donnells and their wines.

Jill O’Donnell hails from Minnesota; Brian, a first-generation Irish-American, from New York City, and they met working in California. In 1992 they purchased what would become Belle Pente, planted their vines in 1994, and built their 3-level, gravity-operated winery in 1996 in time for their first harvest. From the first they were interested in organics and now farm their 18 acres of vines with both organic and biodynamic methods. In addition, they are firm believers in dry farming.

Two-thirds of what they make is Pinot Noir and two-thirds is from their own vines. Production averages 4,500 cases. Their wines are all about elegance, with a breadth of textures and flavors that can astonish. They remain among the most respected of Oregon’s producers.

Belle Pente vineyard

Notes on farming from Brian in February, 2019:

We’ve been farming to organic standards for 20 years, and started incorporating some biodynamic practices 15 years ago, but have never sought certification for anything (mostly because of the paperwork involved) … our current program is somewhere between a certified organic and Demeter certified bd … we have tons of biodiversity of flora and fauna including an integrated livestock operation, make our own compost, green manure cover crops, no synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides, use only OMRI registered fungicides (primarily mineral oil, sulfur, seaweed, and whey), no irrigation, apply BD preps on an “as needed” basis, and follow the Thun BD calendar for guidance on key activities like pruning and harvest … probably a few other things I’m forgetting …

On SO2:

We’ve always taken a pragmatic (vs dogmatic) approach to SO2 …

For whites, there is no SO2 added until right before bottling … the juice is allowed to oxidize slightly before fermentation, and then is protected by temperature and CO2 during a long, slow fermentation … we typically bottle with free SO2 in the mid-to-high 20s (ppm) with total SO2 just a little higher, and well below sensory thresholds levels.

For reds, there is a modest dose added during processing (to inhibit non-Saccharomyces yeast strains), a second one after malolactic fermentation is completed (usually the summer after harvest), and a final adjustment to get free SO2 to the mid-to-high 20s before bottling, again managing the total SO2 level to well below sensory thresholds.

The Wines

Pinot Gris Willamette Valley
Pinot GrisThe domain's flagship wine. 100% estate grown in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, whose marine sedimentary soils impart a compelling savory saline quality and stony minerality. Aged half in wood and half in stainless steel.
Pinot Noir Murto Vineyard Dundee HillsPinot NoirA single-vineyard Pinot Noir from Mike and Robin Murto's old vines planted in 1978 in the high elevation of Dundee Hills. The wine's profile is red fruit and spice.
Pinot Noir Willamette Valley
Pinot NoirGrapes are from four vineyards in the top appellations in Willamette Valley--Yamhill-Carlton and Dundee Hills. The house style emphasizes freshness, complexity, focus, elegance and balance.