Trade resources for Belle Pente's wines, including our distribution network and list of our current releases.
Current Releases in Distribution
2012 was a watershed vintage for our Belle Pente estate vineyard. The vines in four of our Pinot Noir blocks (planted in 1998) celebrated their 15th birthdays, making a marked transition from gangling teenagers to sophisticated young adults. Their grapes, nurtured by a near-perfect growing season, produced wines that parley adolescent exuberance with mature depth of character and class. This eloquent medley of elegance and energy has yielded what is perhaps our strongest Pinot Noir bottling ever!
From Josh Raynolds of Vinous (formerly Steve Tanzer's International Wine Cellar):
Brilliant ruby-red. 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. 94 pts. Drinking window 2019 - 2024
As many of you know, the Estate Reserve is a barrel selection from the best parts of the vineyard, with the core of the blend coming from our original block planted in 1994 paired with our steep south-west facing block planted in 1998 to the Wadensvil selection of Pinot Noir. This years version also includes about 30% from our Pommard block (also planted in 1998) which has really come into it's own over the past several years.
As the vineyard matures, the process of selecting barrels for this bottling gets harder every year ... but the resulting wine seems to get better and better! Although the wine-making protocol for the estate reserve is essentially the same as for our single vineyard wines, there are a couple of notable exceptions. While all the top wines include a little bit of whole cluster, indigenous yeast fermentation, 18 month elevage, and gravity flow processing from fermenter all the way to the bottle, the Estate Reserve enjoys a slightly higher percentage of new barrels (about half) and longer aging in bottle prior to release (typically around 18 months). This imparts more structure for aging, and allows the wine to be released at the beginning of it's drinking window.
Put a case (or two!) in your cellar and drink a bottle every year until it's gone. You'll be glad you did!
377 Cases + 120 Magnums Produced
1-11 Bottles: $49/bottle
Bottle in Mixed Case: $44.10/Bottle (10% Off)
Full Case: $41.58/Bottle, $499 Total (15% Off)
Our little "entry level" Pinot from 2013 includes almost 2/3 estate grown grapes from our Belle Pente vineyard, complimented with 1/4 from Bella Vida and about 12% from Murto Vineyard, both in the Dundee Hills. This combination of 2/3 Yamhill-Carlton sedimentary soils merged with 1/3 Dundee Hills volcanics creates a Willamette Valley blend that proudly professes it's elite appellation pedigree.
This is our first release from the 2013 vintage, in which a lovely summer was abruptly truncated by a warm but wet September. The grapes for this cuvee were harvested fully ripe at moderate sugar levels in dry stretches over a three week period in late September and early October. Meticulous sorting was required to cull out compromised clusters, but the tedious task helped yield wines that appear to be greatly exceeding our rather modest expectations!
The Roman poet Ovid opined that "there is no excellence uncoupled with difficulties". This anecdote could well be the anathematic anthem of some of our recent vintages, like 2010, where greatness emerged from extreme adversity. The 2013s are intriguing and compelling wines, delicate but not elegant, charming but rustic. Comely peasants rather than stately aristocrats. But with an underlying brilliance that peeks out now, and will blossom with a little time!
Our Willamette Valley bottling is widely regarded as one of the most ridiculously great values in Oregon Pinot Noir, and will only be available for a limited time. Get some now to enjoy today and over the next few years,
873 cases produced
This 2012 rendition marks a return to our signature richer, riper, more "Alsatian" style of Pinot Gris that we were not really able to produce in 2011 or 2010. Since we now grow well over 2/3 of the grapes for this bottling, we can take full advantage of great growing seasons like 2012 to achieve fully developed flavors and viscosity while maintaining good acidity. With the inclusion of Rivenwood vineyard "next door", we now have almost 5 acres of estate Pinot Gris at our disposal. In fact, starting with the 2014 vintage, our Pinot Gris will be 100% estate grown.
In the winery, we follow a standard "old school" white wine making protocol. The grapes are crushed and pressed in a vintage 1960s German bladder press. The juice is settled for 48 hours with no sulfites added. Half of the juice is fermented in stainless steel tanks, 1/3 in 1200 Liter oak casks (foudres), and the balance in small neutral barrels. Fermentation occurs slowly at low temperatures over several months, and the wine is filtered as needed and given a modest dose of sulfites prior to bottling right before the next harvest.
This hybrid vinification, coupled with the long sur lie aging, creates a wine that has both richness and freshness. This 2012 version is redolent of baked apples and pears with spicy notes, rich and full bodied, with a touch of residual sugar balanced by crisp acidity. It is easy to enjoy on it's own, and there is not a dish on the planet that it won't compliment splendidly!
646 cases produced
This 2012 version of our "flagship" estate bottled Pinot noir includes grapes from all 8 blocks of our Belle Pente vineyard, representing 6 different clonal selections (mostly Pommard and Dijon 115, but with sprinklings of 114, 113, 777, and Wadensvil) from vines planted in 1998 and 1999. Yields were a bit more generous here than at Murto, but still well below our normal target levels. Quality was exceptional across the board with many of the lots that ultimately went into this wine vying for inclusion in our Estate Reserve.
As Murto is an archetypical Dundee Hills Pinot, this Belle Pente vineyard offering is textbook Yamhill-Carlton. Although the alcohol is virtually the same (13.8%), the pH is higher (3.64 vs 3.46) and the TA lower (5.8 grams per liter vs 6.4). This tends to accentuate the "bass" notes in the wine (vs the "treble" in the Murto). Whereas the Murto is brighter and fresher, this is deeper and darker, tighter and more restrained.
Fruit flavors and aromas lean toward the dark end of the spectrum, with ripe blackberry and wild black cherry notes, complimented by complex overtones of coffee, fresh herbs, and flowers. The tannins are smooth, silky, and sappy with a seductive savoriness leading into a long, lingering finish. This is a contemplative wine that unwinds in the glass and reveals it's charms slowly. It is a pleasure to drink today and will only get better with a few years in the cellar.
774 Cases Produced
The story here is very simple: extraordinary quality but excruciatingly low yields. We were just slightly over half of our normal target crop level for this vineyard. The grapes were harvested over 2 days on October 5th and 11th; the fruit was perfectly ripe, clean, and very tasty! From the very beginning, the young wines were quite compelling.
Mike and Robin Murto's Dundee Hills vineyard is a high elevation site that really shines in warmer vintages. Our oldest blocks there were planted in 1978, and produce interesting wine every year. But the combination of the very low yields and the terrific growing season created something very special in 2012. The wine has ripe red fruit flavors and aromas backed up by fresh acidity and silky tannins. For those of you who are interested in the "numbers", the wine has 13.9% alcohol, a pH of 3.46, and TA of 6.4 grams per liter. Berlitz translation: even though it is fruit forward, it should last forever!
As an aside, last summer we sat down with a small group of people "in the business" and tasted through 18 vintages of our Murto Pinot, from a pre-commercial wine made in 1994 through this 2012 edition. The "sweet spot" for the group was the 1999 through 2003 vintages, 10 to 15 years old. I'm sure that this 2012 will be stellar in 2025, but the good news is that you absolutely do not have to wait that long to enjoy it.
In classic Dundee Hills fashion, this wine displays ripe red fruit flavors and aromas reminiscent of cherry compote and raspberry eau d'vie, overlaid with the signature Murto baking spice, Asian spice, and pepper (white, black, and Sichuan!) aromatics. The palate is dense and concentrated, but also vibrant and fresh. It screams for traditional Pinot parings like roast duck or stuffed quail. Enjoy this delightful young Pinot today and over the next 20-30 years!
441 cases produced
Our Estate Reserve Pinot Noir is a celebration of the apex of our winegrowing efforts, truly the "best of the best". It is the result of a rigorous selection process of individual barrels from the best sections of our Yamhill-Carlton estate vineyard. In 2011, only 9 barrels made it into this cuvee, representing less than 12% of our estate Pinot Noir production for that year.
As is generally the case, a little more than half of the blend comes from a steep south-west facing block just above the winery. This part of the vineyard is planted to the Wadensvil selection in very shallow soil. Since the vines have less water available, the individual grapes tend to be very small, yielding wines with concentrated flavors and aromas.
One third of the blend comes from the oldest vines on the property, our original block planted in 1994. By virtue of vine age and well established root systems, the wines from this section always display the broadest range of flavors and aromas. Planted primarily with the Dijon 115 and 777 selections, this block always produces the most complex wine in the cellar.
The balance of the blend hails from a higher elevation, well exposed section planted to the Oregon "workhorse" Pommard selection, which was the basis for most of the legendary Willamette Valley wines from the 70s and 80s.
This 2011 version is the product of the latest harvest ever at Belle Pente. The grapes for this wine were picked on October 27th and 28th, almost a full month later than in an "normal" year. Our warm site proved to be a real advantage in this long, cool season, with the grapes achieving a good level of ripeness at relatively low sugar levels, resulting in a well-balanced, structured wine at just under 13% alcohol.
Highly rated by both Steve Tanzer's International Wine Cellar and Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, this is a wine that can be enjoyed today (decanting recommended) and cellared for at least 10 year.
203 Cases + 120 Magnums Produced
This wine echoes the freshness and vitality of the Murto but with somewhat riper characteristics. Our Yamhill-Carlton wines always lean more towards the dark fruit end of the spectrum, with black raspberry and blueberry notes revealed in this 2011 version. The fruit is complimented by complex overtones of coffee, fresh herbs, and flowers. The tannins are firm but smooth with a savory quality that keeps you coming back for more. Intriguing now, this wine will continue to evolve in a very positive direction for at least 10 more years.
2011 was our latest harvest ever. Bud break occurred around May 7th (3 weeks later than normal), and full bloom came between July 6th and 8th. Summer didn't start until the 15th of July, and was pretty much over by mid-August. Fortunately, the early fall was relatively warm and dry, with significant precipitation holding off until early November. Our Pinot Noir harvest at the estate vineyard commenced on October 17th, and concluded on the 28th.
Fruit set in the vineyard was quite heavy, much more than we could possibly ripen in a cool year. We made an unprecedented 4 passes of crop thinning during the season! After an initial round to get close to our target levels, we made additional "hi-grading" passes to improve the consistency and quality of the grapes prior to harvest. And even with that we discarded another 10% on the sorting line! In the end, we averaged 2.8 tons per acre ... prior to thinning, we might have had 5!
This "flagship" Pinot from our Belle Pente Estate vineyard included grapes from all 8 blocks representing 6 different clonal selections (mostly Pommard and Dijon 115, but with sprinklings of 114, 113, 777, and Wadensvil). Vine age ranges from 11 to 18 years. As always, over 2/3 of the grapes come from the east blocks of the vineyard, which get morning sun, but are shielded from the intense afternoon heat that we get in the west-facing blocks.
675 Cases Produced
Two thousand eleven was the latest harvest on record at Belle Pente. The grapes for this Murto Vineyard Pinot were actually picked during the first few days of November, and the wine went into barrel the day before Thanksgiving! Bud break occurred several weeks late, and warm, dry conditions during flowering in early July set the stage for a sizable crop. Given the "lateness" of the season, rigorous crop thinning was necessary to get the yields into a manageable range. Even with diligent work in the vineyard, we were just barely able to achieve full ripeness by the end of the season.
As fans of Mike and Robin Murto's Dundee Hills vineyard know, this is a high elevation site that can struggle to get ripe in cool vintages. However, these 30+ year-old vines somehow manage to pull it off every year! This particular wine started out "lean and mean", but went through a profound transformation during it's second winter in barrel, and has continued to evolve beautifully over it's first year in the bottle. This is perhaps our most "Burgundian" Pinot Noir to date, checking in at whopping 12.3% alcohol! It is fun to drink today, but has the balance and structure to age beautifully for many, many years.
We have made single vineyard Pinot Noir wines from Murto since 1996. Over the 16 vintages, we can see significant variation in the textural aspects of the wine, but the core sensory characteristics are remarkably consistent from year to year: red fruit, fresh earth, and spice. This 2011 version reveals reticent strawberry and red cherry flavor and aromas, with alluring notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, Asian 5-spice, sandalwood, white and black pepper. It is medium bodied with moderate, polished tannins and bright, fresh acidity.
620 Cases Produced
As many of you know, we are enamored with the wines of Alsace. So we were thrilled when our friend Andy Fortgang (of Le Pigeon and Little Bird Bistro in Portland) approached us a few years ago to create a traditional Edelzwicker blend for one of the restaurants. Edelzwicker literally means "noble blend", so is made from some combination of the "noble" varieties of Alsace: Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Muscat.
Although many wines labeled as Edelzwicker today tend to be sweet and innocuous, Andy was after a classic dry style to match with the house-made charcuterie at Little Bird. So we sat down with the individual varietals, and concocted the Belle Ouiseau "formula": roughly equal parts Riesling and Pinot Gris with a splash of Muscat. Initially served exclusively at the restaurant from kegs, we did a small experimental bottling in 2010, and a more extensive one in 2011.
The 2011 Belle Oiseau (bell woz-oh, which means "Pretty Bird") includes 45% Pinot Gris from Walker Vineyard, 40% Riesling from Yamhill Vineyard, and 15% Muscat from Stag Hollow Vineyard. The Pinot Gris contributes weight and body, the Riesling freshness and vibrancy, and the Muscat brings aromatic lift. It is a terrific Oregon original with a noble Alsatian pedigree. Perfect as an aperitif, with raw oysters, moderately spicy Asian-influenced dishes, and of course charcuterie!
363 cases produced
Since it's first release in 1997, our Estate Reserve Pinot Noir always represents the "best of the best" from our home vineyard. Visitors to the winery often ask "what makes it the best", or "how do you know it's the best"?. It's a great question, and to answer it requires a short digression into our vineyard design and winemaking practices.
Our Pinot Noir vineyard is divided into 8 blocks, all planted between 1994 and 1999, with 6 different selections (aka clones) of Pinot Noir planted on 8 different rootstocks. We harvest each of these combinations separately,and keep them isolated during the entire winemaking process, so each barrel of wine in the cellar relates back to a specific sub-section of the vineyard. By tasting through the barrels in the cellar over the course of several vintages, we are able to identify the "sweet spots" of the vineyard that consistently produce the best wines. Our favorite barrels from these special parcels are the ones that become the Estate Reserve bottling.
The Estate Reserve invariably includes most of the grapes from our original 1994 planting. By virtue of being the oldest vines on the property, they always display the broadest range of flavors and aromas. This block (known as the M1) always produces the most complex wine in the cellar.
The other vines that form the core of the Estate Reserve come from a steep southwest facing block (called the M2) planted to the Wadensvil selection of Pinot Noir. This part of the vineyard has the shallowest soil, and is also the warmest part of the vineyard. The individual grapes here are always smaller than in other blocks, providing a higher skin-to-juice ratio which produces very concentrated wines.
However, in 2010, only 60% of the blend came from these two blocks. As our vineyard matures, other sections are really starting to show their stuff, making the barrel selection process harder every year!
This 2010 version is classic Estate Reserve. The long growing season produced a wine of great complexity and concentration at a very modest alcohol level. Although there is no great sin in opening a bottle to enjoy tonight, this wine's best days are 8 to 10 years out in the future!
Josh Raynolds of Steve Tanzer's International Wine Cellar summed it up very nicely in his recent review:
"Bright ruby-red. A highly complex bouquet displays sexy red berry preserve, incense and candied rose scents, along with suggestions of cola, mocha and allspice. Sappy, deeply concentrated cherry and raspberry flavors are lifted and braced by juicy acidity and show excellent clarity and thrust. Closes with palate-staining intensity and sweetness, leaving suave floral and Asian spice notes behind. Impressively balanced and fine-grained, with serious cellaring potential. 93 points"
275 Cases + 120 Magnums Produced
As with all of our Rieslings since 2007, the grapes for this wine are exclusively from Yamhill Vineyards, less than one mile from the winery on the "back side" of our hill here in the heart of the Yamhill-Carlton appellation. The vineyard was planted in 1984 on soils and at an elevation very similar to our Belle Pente estate vineyard, and has been a source of Riesling for us since 1998.
With the cool summer and beautiful, lingering fall of 2010, we waited to harvest the grapes until early November. Netting around the vines protected the fruit from the swarms of birds that attacked the vineyards during October, and allowed us to wait until the fruit was fully mature.
Since roughly 25% of the clusters were showing signs of botrytis, we sorted those out from the unaffected fruit and processed them separately. The "regular" fruit was destemmed and pressed immediately. The botrytized fruit was crushed and left to macerate on the skins for 5 days prior to pressing. The two lots were kept seperate through vinification, and blended together prior to bottling. The botrytized / skin contact portion made up about 1/3 of the final blend.
Oregon Riesling often reminds me of a hypothetical blend of Alsace, Austria, and Australia. This 2010 version, with it's modest 11.8 alcohol level, might send you to one of the more southern German regions like the Rheinhessen or Nahe. The botrytis contributes elevated spiced apple and pear aromas, along with wet stones in a spring-fed creek. The palate is rich, ripe, and focused with great freshness and a crisp, clean finish.
Enjoy this captivating Oregon Riesling now and over the next decade as an aperitif or with shellfish, raw or in cream sauces.
152 cases produced
Our 100% Estate Grown Chardonnay comes from a little 2 acre parcel planted in 1999 on a steep southwest facing slope with rows running up & down the hill from north-east to south-west. This 2010 version continues a string of very compelling wines that started with the 2004 vintage. It is also exciting in the broader context of what is happening with Chardonnay in the Willamette Valley in general. Over the past decade, the quality level of these wines has risen to approach the point of parity with Pinot!!
In keeping with our normal practice, we divided the block into an "early" and a "late" picking, harvesting half of the grapes on October 14th and the balance on October 22nd. The earlier harvest date allows us to maintain good natural acidity in the wines, and the second provides more developed and nuanced flavors and aromas. Blending the two lots together allows us to achieve complex, balanced wines every year. With the cool growing season, the alcohol came in at 13%, and even with a complete malolactic fermentation, the wine is bright, fresh, and lively.
We have pioneered the use of Oregon oak in Chardonnay, deploying them 50/50 with French oak barrels for over 10 years. The wines are 100% barrel fermented, but with very modest use of new oak, typically in the 10-15% range. This allows the toasty oak characteristics to play a supporting role vs stealing the limelight, to provide an accent vs being the main attraction. Elevage was over 12 months with frequent lees stirring, and the wine was assembled, lightly filtered, and gravity bottled in early October of 2011.
At almost 5 years from vintage, this wine is beginning to hit it's prime. Enjoy now and over the next six years with rich white fish dishes, baked mac and cheese, fresh pesto, and dozens of other white and green foods!
330 Cases Produced
This is our third (and final) vintage from Hyland vineyard in McMinnville (we are actively seeking a new source). The wine features an exuberant floral, spicy, nose and a broad, rich palate. It strikes a wonderful balance between the hedonistic side of Gewürztraminer and it's more restrained, food friendly personality. This wine will make a wonderful accompaniment to traditional holiday meals, and is a great match with almost any kind of cheese.
145 Cases Produced