Monday, September 17, 2012

Belle Pente Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2009

I am a sucker for Oregon pinot noir.  A friend who just opened a new wine shop in town (Keife and Co. Wine Merchants) let me know they found some of this gem.  The 2009 vintage in Oregon was an exciting one with good balance and richness too!  The winery's name, pronounced bell pont - though I like the gauche 'bell pentay' pronunciation, translates as 'beautiful slope' for their hillside location nearly midway between Carlton and Dundee.  They have some impressive neighbors, Soter, Scott Paul, Lemelson and Stag Hollow.  If those names are not familiar, you don't live in Oregon.  Locals love 'em.
Brian and Jill O'Donnell first planted in 1994, he made wine as a hobby starting in 1986.  I like their reds a lot but have little experience with their whites.
This vintage sits in the shadow of the 2008s but delivers in the glass.  The color is neither dark nor light and offers a floral, forest floor aroma.  That sounds counterintuitive but it's a lifted, pretty, dusty forest floor with fruit in the air.  It is not musty or earthy but it is clearly of the earth.  The palate is delicate on the entry with plenty of juicy red fruit, juicier than cranberry...perhaps tart raspberry(?), and it is expansive on the finish, a rare thing for young pinot noir.  It opens up and shows off before locking down a bit with a wash of acidity.  The fruit is short of jammy and snappy acidity keeps it fresh and makes it scream out for food.  This is not back porch wine but it is not hard or backward at all.  Roast a chicken and enjoy.  This is a wine that made me happy, especially for the price at Keife and Co. - $25? - a fantastic bargain for pinot noir.

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