2016 Lingua Franca, Avni Pinot Noir, $37
Winery Info: Larry Stone was the ninth Master Sommelier in the U.S., and the first American to win the prestigious Best International Sommelier in French Wines competition in Paris. After a three-decade career as a sommelier and restaurateur, he relocated to the Willamette Valley where he founded Lingua Franca along with Dominique Lafon, of Burgundy’s Domaines des Comte Lafon and Oregon’s Evening Land, and David Honig.
Winemaker: Thomas Savre, formerly of Evening Land (he also interned at Burgundy’s iconic Domaine de la Romanée Conti). With consulting winemaker Dominique Lafon
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir, aged in 20% new and 80% older French barriques for 12 months.
Vineyard source: Mostly sourced from Eola-Amity Hills vineyards, with predominantly basalt-based soil, but this vintage also includes fruit from Hyland Vineyard, in the McMinnville AVA. Hyland has some of the oldest plantings in the state, grown on iron rich Jory soil at 600 to 850 feet elevation
Flavor profile: Medium bodied and complex, with savory notes of dark fruit, a touch of earthiness, and great minerality from the basalt-based soils. The Hyland fruit adds a bit of intensity to this smooth, inviting Pinot.
Availability: It is still in decent supply with the distributor
Drinkability: Enjoy now, or over the next five to seven years.
Food Pairing: This Pinot would pair beautifully with seasonal mushrooms, duck breast with pomegranate-citrus glaze, garlic and herb roasted pork tenderloin, or with cheeses like Saint-Nectaire and Gruyère.
2012 De Ponte Cellars, Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, $45
Winery Info: De Ponte Cellars is the site of one of the oldest vineyards in the Willamette Valley. The Baldwin family acquired their Dundee Hills property in 1999 and named their winery after co-founder Shirley Baldwin’s father who once grew grapes and made wine in the San Joaquin Valley. Since their first vintage in 2001, the wines have been made by Isabelle Dutartre, who studied winemaking at the University of Dijon in Burgundy and worked in vineyards and wineries in her native France before moving to Oregon. We have featured the 2010 and 2014 vintages of this wine in previous clubs.
Winemaker: French native, Isabelle Dutartre
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir, 20% aged in new and the rest in two- to five-year-old French oak for 12 months.
Vineyard: Their estate vineyard, a warm site in the Dundee Hills AVA with rich, red volcanic Jory soils.
Flavor profile: The Dundee Hills vineyard tends to produce wines of great clarity, depth, and character, and the excellent 2012 vintage provided fruit with exception structure. This is an elegant Pinot with gentle tannins, soft richness, and subtle touch of smoke, all lingering on a long finish.
Production/Availability: 1401 cases of 750ml bottles. As an older release, it is in limited supply.
Drinkability: Now or over the next five to seven years.
Food Pairing: Smoked duck, herb-crusted rack of lamb with rosemary and garlic, or mushroom lasagna.