• Willamette Valley Apogee:  2016 Lingua Franca Mimi's Mind

    Willamette Valley Apogee: 2016 Lingua Franca Mimi's Mind

    For years there was building buzz about Dominique Lafon's new collaboration with Larry Stone in the Eola-Amity Hills. That buzz reached a crescendo when the first vintage was released, and today the wines of Lingua Franca stand as among the very best Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in the New World. 

    Today, I'm happy to offer the top Pinot Noir from Lingua Franca, the 2016 Mimi's Mind, sourced from Mimi Castell's iconic vineyard of heritage Pommard vines in the Eola-Amity-Hills.

    Like all of the Pinot Noir from Lingua Franca, Mimi's Mind is all about forward, pristine red cherry fruits with great lift and dead-serious definition. It may sound trite, but the balance in Mimi's Mind is again sole reason Lingua Franca has skyrocketed to prominence in such a short period of time. These are just perfectly composed Pinot Noirs of grace, and Mimi's Mind is where the grandeur of all the elements reach its apogee.

    Originally, I sat down a few years ago with Larry in La Jolla and tasted through the inaugural release from his winery, Lingua Franca. And since that time I've made two visits to his state-of-the-art winery in the Eola-Amity Hills. Tasting through the 2017's in barrel made clear this project is continuing to raise the bar.

    Larry and Dominque had become very familiar with the Eola-Amity Hills working previously with the Seven Springs Vineyard, and in the end, Larry planted vines and built his winery right next door. Though their admiration of Oregon terroir throughout Willamette Valley was very high, both found a magic combination here where the entire picture of the wines maintained sharp focus. This was the sweet spot where minerality met ripe texture and the results personified that elusive Burgundian sensibility: Elegance and impact, without the compromise of terroir.

    As consulting winemaker, Dominique Lafon of Comtes Lafon in Meursault, has a style that highlights silky fruit and seamless texture. His Volnay and Meursault wines are among the most collected in the world, and early on Larry Stone was a huge force introducing these to America. Larry was the 9th American to become a Master Sommelier and became the very first to win the Best International Sommelier in his competition in Paris. Working with Charlie Trotter's in Chicago and then the iconicRubicon restaurant in San Francisco Larry's work to cultivate the following of Burgundy in the US cannot be overstated. 

    The Jory and volcanic soils in Eola-Amity proved to be the ideal landing for this joint venture. And recruited from Burgundy was their winemaker, Thomas Savre, whose work in the cellars of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti brought a skilled and meticulous eye into the fold. Lingua Franca is one of the most exciting new estates I've been introduced to. The overall balance and purity of fruit to each of the cuvées ultimately reflect their place. The legendary names that built this winery from the ground up have surpassed even the highest expectations placed upon them.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen