Brian O’Donnell is Belle Pente’s resident beard, winemaker and owner. If you catch him shortly after his bi-annual trimming, you might miss one of the natural wonders of Oregon. His wines are worth the effort of seeing him anyway, but they just go so hand in hand with that beard that it seems a shame to have one without the other.
Belle Pente’s Pinot Noirs can be stunning. They are fairly rich, in a style that shows what one can achieve with a perfectly positioned site in Yamhill-Carlton. A lot of people make great Pinot in Oregon, but what a lot of people do not do is make great Pinot Gris. Brian is a master with this potentially pedestrian variety. Instead of taking the easy road, Brian produces a traditionally styled Pinot Gris, fermented and aged in large oak fuder. The results speak for themselves whether you’re drinking the off-dry 2006 Pinot Gris Reserve, which remains the most impressive Oregon Pinot Gris to have passed my lips, or his more recent 2007 Estate bottling, which is almost dry and shows the fine blend of freshness and complexity these wines attain.