About this WINE
Lingua Franca is a new project in Oregon from several different familiar names in the world of wine. 2015 is the first vintage from Larry Stone, a famous San Francisco Master Sommelier and veteran of several different wine projects in California and Oregon. Teaming up with Larry are David Honig, owner of Napa Valley’s Honig Vineyards and consulting winemaker Dominque Lafon, the legendary Burgundy winemaker.
The first vintage from the winery was sourced from nine vineyards of Chardonnay and nine vineyards of Pinot Noir from around the Willamette valley. They have received great praise from both the press and wine intelligentsia. Truly superb expressions of Chardonnay & Pinot that speak of their terroir.
While similarities might be drawn between Califonia and Bordeaux, Oregon is very much the American equivalent of Burgundy, with only 5,500 hectares planted in 2004. Since the 1960s a plethora of small growers have shunned the sun further south for the often damp, cool climate west of the Cascade Mountains, seeking out propitious sites to plant their beloved Pinot Noir among the 150-mile Willamette Valley AVA.
Pinot Gris has also taken hold of this corner of the Pacific Northwest; Chardonnay has been less successful due to inappropriate clonal selection. Domaine Drouhin Oregon is arguably the region's top producer, with most of the wine from this region swallowed up by the thirsty North American market.
Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.