I am pleased to announce the arrival of a brand new winery, Lingua Franca, to Ohio in the coming week. Though only in their first vintage, their 2015 Chardonnay’s and Pinot Noir’s are already garnering large amounts of critical acclaim and rightly so. I had the opportunity to taste through the current lineup of wines with founder Larry Stone (the 9th Master Sommelier) and was instantly impressed. Lingua Franca translates to “Bridge Language” and the vision for the project immediately comes into focus with the name and the resulting wines. The goal of the winery is to express the purity of the fruit and terroir of the Willamette Valley by applying Burgundian winemaking practices. To this end, consulting winemaker Dominique Lafon, the winemaker of the great Burgundy house of the same name, provides insight and guidance during the entirety of the process. Thus the bridge is formed between Burgundy and the Willamette Valley, and a damn fine bridge it is.
Exclusively producing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, these wines beautifully express the nuance, purity, and complexity of the fruit. They are extremely limited and due to be arriving next week. I will be able to take “wish list” orders and will fill them first come, first served. Below find details, tasting notes, and pricing for the lineup.
2015 AVNI Chardonnay, Willamette Valley
$42.99 | 93 Wine Spectator
AVNI is a Stone family name that means “my stone” or “mother earth.” 100% Jory soils, whole cluster pressed, barrel fermented in 20% new, 600 liter puncheons and 80% old French oak barriques. Aged for 10 months in barrel. Undergoes full malolactic fermentation. 830 cases produced. -Complex aromas of lemon curd, pineapple, and toasty oak. Vibrant, steely, and mineral on the palate with excellent acidity. Very Burgundian in style.
2015 Ryan’s Plow Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
$69.99| 94 Wine Spectator
Comprised from two vineyards both located on prime Jory/Nekia soils, one in Dundee (Black Walnut) and the other next door to the estate (Seven Springs). Seven Springs Calera Clone was fermented partially whole cluster (due to the tiny “shot berries”) and the Black Walnut’s PN115 and Pommard clones mostly destemmed. The foulage and pigeage are done traditionally by foot. Aged in combination of 20% new and 80% old French oak barriques for 14 months. 432 cases produced. -My personal favorite from the lineup! The whole cluster fermentation gives earthy, peppery nuance along with raspberry & mineral flavors & excellent structure. Elegant, vibrant, and age-worthy.
2015 Tongue ’N Cheek Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills
$69.99 | 94 Wine Spectator #70 TOP 100. (Not too shabby for a winery in its first vintage.)
The fruit for this cuvée comes from the oldest vineyards in Oregon—rocky, Jory soils making it very hard to work. This special lot is entirely destemmed in order to maintain a purity of fruit and silky tannins. The pigeage was done by foot. Aged in combination of 20% new and 80% old French oak barriques for 14 months. 594 cases produced -A decidedly pure, clean, and fruit forward effort. Floral aromas along with bright red cherry and wet stone form the framework for this delicate and complex wine.
2015 Sisters Chardonnay, Willamette Valley
$99.99 / 94 Wine Spectator
This special cuvée honors Larry Stone’s mother Rachel and her sister Aida, who managed to remain together and sustain one another throughout their lifetimes of nearly 90 years. This Chardonnay combines the finest lots of vintage from 100% Jory & Nekia soils from Eola-Amity Hills and Dundee. Same vinification as the AVNI. 336 cases produced -Further intensifies the aromas and mouthfeel of the AVNI and will certainly age superbly and gain complexity during its lifetime. Rivals some of the finest White Burgundy wines I have tried.
Thanks and let me know if you are interested!