On a recent vacation in Oregon, I stopped in to tour Lingua Franca, a Willamette Valley winery in the Eola-Amity HIlls AVA. This new winery, founded by perhaps the most famous and influential Master Sommelier (at least in wine circles), Larry Stone, is just now coming into its own.
Stone founded Lingua Franca (French for frank tongue) along with David Honig and Dominique Lafon (of Burgundy fame) in 2012. Stone had been involved in neighboring project Evening Lands with equally famous sommelier turned vintner Rajat Parr and winemaker Sashi Moorman (Stolpman, Sandhi Wines, Domaine de la Cote, Piedrasassi).
Stone was on hand for my visit, giving us the lowdown on the vineyards, farming and winemaking practices. We tasted in the barrel cellar; Lingua Franca does not have a public tasting room.
2016 Lingua Franca AVNI Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $35
Floral violets on the nose! Tart cherry, pomegranate, a little earthy and with stony minerality. Sage, cardamom and anise spice, mushroom broth umami. Very soft mouthfeel. This is Lingua Franca’s fruitiest pinot, very fresh. Great value, delivers easy drinking delicious wine yet still complex.
Review from Dan Dawson on Dan Dawson’s Wine Advisor:
Dark wild cherries, dried red rose petals, mincemeat and truffle introduce you to this “entry level” Pinot Noir from Master Sommelier-turned-vintner Larry Stone. The taste continues on the flavors above along with dark plums and a background earthy/rocky flavor that defines its Pinot Noir-ness. Excellent balance of ripe fruit, invigorating acidity and mouth-filling texture. Drinking great now and will steadily improve through 2023, no doubt. I really like this Pinot Noir, and for $35 it’s a relative bargain.
Read more on Dan Dawson’s Wine Advisor
For delicious now young Pinot with character, this is hard to beat for $35. All the LF wines are good. Must have been a exceptional tasting with Larry Stone!