Belle Pente Vineyard
While we certainly love all the sites we work with, there are a few that are imbued with such deep intrinsic character that they can't help but imprint an definitive mark on the finished wine. Brian O'Donnell's Belle Pente Vineyard is such a place. Brian is someone whom Brianne has admired for years and with whom she was lucky enough to work the 2011 harvest. He and his wife, Jill, run a truly living farm. In other words, they raise a lot more than just grapes.
Their steep, southwest-facing 2-acre block of Chardonnay produces some of the most gorgeous fruit in the valley, really earning the name "Beautiful Slope". During pre-harvest check-ins with the various vineyards, this is always one of our favorite stops – the fruit is unbelievably delicious right off the vine. Full exposure in the afternoons ensures proper phenolic development, but the well-ventilated vines also maintain impeccable physiological balance. The soils are all a fine, mustard yellow Willakenzie class composed of an ancient raised marine sediment. Chardonnay is arguably the most exciting thing going on in our neck of the woods right now, and it's vineyards like this that we hope will come to define the varietal in Willamette Valley in the years ahead.