Last week I was in Oregon attending the Willamette Valley Barrel Auction and visiting Lingua Franca's Estate vineyard and brand new winery. I introduced the exciting project between Dominique Lafon and Larry Stone last year for their inaugural release. Today's offer features the just-landed, fantastic 2016 vintage of their flagship Avni Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

I'm very happy to offer both Avni cuvées for $37 per bottle, with special mixed 4-Pack pricing including their two rarest, allocated single vineyard bottlings, "Ryan's Plow" and "Sisters". 

Our selection from Oregon has always been a tight list, and the limited production coming from Lingua Franca in the Eola-Amity Hills exemplifies Willamette at its best. The valley has long been sold as a perfect landing spot for Burgundian palates who want to explore more understated New World examples of these two noble grapes. For me, I'm often underwhelmed by wines throughout Willamette who still push extraction and a sweet cola note into their Pinot Noir, or rely on excessive oak and densely ripe-fruited Chardonnay. Lingua Franca goes in the opposite direction.


Larry and Dominque's passion and experience in Burgundy brought a much-needed sensible approach to this estate that's already jumped atop of the list for terroir-driven Oregon examples. They tapped Thomas Savre as winemaker, whose experiences working at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Domaine Dujac have been integral in shaping his perspective on these varieties. As you can imagine, the emphasis here is firmly focused on suave texture and elements of tension that perfectly frame the fresh-fruited core that's the foundation of each wine from Lingua Franca.

The trio brings with them a resumé that's built for success: 

Master Sommelier Larry Stone was the first American to win the Best International Sommelier in his competition in Paris. Working with
Charlie Trotter's in Chicago and then the iconic Rubicon restaurant in San Francisco, Larry's cultivation of a serious passion for Burgundy in the US cannot be overstated.

Dominique Lafon is one of Burgundy's most important figures over the last 50 years, leading by example through his decades of work in Meursault and Volnay.

And, Thomas Savre brings such a wealth of experiences from Burgundy and his previous work with neighboring Evening Land Vineyards that he's already one of America's most respected young winemakers.


The Jory and volcanic soils in Eola-Amity proved to be the ideal landing for this joint venture. I cannot recommend Lingua Franca enough for anyone passionate about Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. And should your palate veer heavily into Burgundy, this would be an important moment to see what Oregon is up to these days!

2016 Lingua Franca Avni Pinot Noir
$37 per bottle.

2016 Lingua Franca Avni Chardonnay
$37 per bottle.

2015 Lingua Franca Ryan's Plow Pinot Noir
$59 per bottle.

2015 Lingua Franca Sisters Chardonnay
$89 per bottle.