We love to see a winery dedicated to representing
the terroir. Belle Vallée is such a place. Located in
urban Corvallis, these folks are dedicated to
creating Oregon's best wines in the cool climate of
Willamette Valley, allowing the fruit to truly shine.
The founders, Steve Allen and Mike Magee, were
both born and raised in Oregon with a desire to
|continue Oregon's wine-growing legacy. The name Belle Vallée came from Mike's
wife Claire, who is of French heritage, which can only be a good thing when
producing Burgundian varietals. Over sixty percent of the wine here is the Pinot Noir of northern Oregon fame. Mike is the General Manager and oversees the daily
operations at the winery and Claire manages the finance and compliance areas.
Being an urban winery in the Willamette AVA has
served them well. Using a solid strategy of long-
term relationships for acquiring fruit, Belle Vallée
pulls from eighteen highly-acclaimed sources
within Oregon, many in the Willamette Valley AVA
and a few in the Rogue Valley AVA for some of the
other varietals. This clearly gives them the
flexibility to select only that fruit they
|believe to represent the best of what Oregon
wine can offer. The 18,000 square foot winemaking facility is specifically designed to
best support the production of high-end Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Using only French
oak barrels with 60% to 100% of them being new every year, which lends itself to
wonderful oak-related notes. Equally exciting is the fact that the premium offerings
are unfined and unfiltered, further allowing the fruit to shine as fruit handling is
When a winery like this produces great wine,
I always look to the winemaker. Joe Wright came
to Belle Vallée some ten years ago, likely lured by
the great outdoors Oregon has to offer. Prior to
Belle Vallée, Joe could be found receiving his
tutelage from none other than Joe Dobbes at Willamette Valley Vineyards.
Jeff Weiss manages the tasting room operations. He is also responsible for sales and
marketing for both regional and national sales. But as with any winery, Jeff chips in
wherever he may be needed as it is always the team effort that is ultimately
responsible for the end product.
When we went through their wines, we found Pinots, both Noir and Gris, of
outstanding quality and balance. Fruit that shone, acid in balance and an overall
wonderful experience. If you're looking to see what the big deal is about Oregon
Pinot, look no further than Belle Vallée.