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Longplay

I recently visited Todd Hansen, proprietor and grower of Longplay Wine, at his quaint Newberg, Oregon tasting room. Todd developed an interest in wine while serving in the American diplomatic corps in France, Chile and South Africa.

In 2005, Todd bought the 54-acre Lia’s Vineyard (re-named after his daughter Lia) that had formerly been part of Rex Hill’s Jacob-Hart Vineyard. Rex Hill changed ownership and parts of the Jacob-Hart Vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains was sold to Todd and Olenik Vineyards, with Rex Hill retaining ownership of some of the vineyard. Neighboring vineyards include J. Christopher’s Appassionata Vineyard and Adelsheim’s Quarter Mile Lane Vineyard. The vineyard is about four miles northwest of Newberg.

Lia’s Vineyard plantings originally date to 1990, with subsequent plantings in 1993, 1999-2002 and 2009. The dry-farmed vines include 25 acres of Pinot Noir (eight clones of Pinot Noir: 114,115, 667, 777, “828,” Pommard, Wädenswil and Mariafeld), and a little over 2 acres of Wente clone Chardonnay. The original (1990 & 1993) Pommard, Wädenswil and Wente Chardonnay are own-rooted and subsequent plantings of these clones and selections were propagated from own-rooted cuttings. Soils are primarily Jory with a transition to sedimentary around the 400 foot contour. Elevation ranges from 380 to 560 feet.

Longplay is a three-man operation, with Todd doing the marketing, sales, compliance and farming, Javier Marin, owner of JM Vinegrower LLC, (the long time ex vineyard manager at Shea Vineyard) managing the vineyard, and winemaker Jay Somers of J. Christopher wines crafting the Longplay wines at his facility across the street from Lia’s Vineyard. Aron Hess was the winemaker from the inaugural vintage in 2007 until 2010, replaced by Jay Somers with the 2011 vintage. Somers shepherds the Longplay wines with Todd’s decision making input, and as such, Longplay wines are distinct from J. Christopher wines.



Todd is a vinyl LP fan and a graphic of a record on a turntable is displayed on his labels. Todd’s philosophy and analogy between wine and music is explained in detail on his website and reveals the insight into the label’s name. He emphasizes that his wines take an old school approach, meaning “analog wine for a digital world.”

All Longplay wines are estate grown. Commercial yeasts are avoided with Pinot Noir but used with Chardonnay, and there are no additives used. Sugar and acid adjustments are employed when necessary. Chardonnay is fermented in neutral oak barrels and Pinot Noir in 25% or less, usually 15%, new French oak barrels. 80% of the estate vineyard fruit is sold to other vintners, including White Rose Estate, Seven of Hearts, J. Christopher and Patricia Green.

Todd staffs the Longplay Tasting Room himself Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 to 5:00. Other days and times can be arranged by appointment. Special openings and events are listed on the website at www.longplaywine.com. The wines can also be acquired online through the winery’s website store.



I tasted a number of Longplay wines with Todd from the 2011 and 2012 vintages, two markedly different growing seasons that resulted in contrasting wines. The Longplay wines are quintessential Willamette Valley in character, with modest alcohols and extraction, bright acidities, and subtle nuances. The winemaking at least gives the vineyard a chance to express itself. The wines are modestly priced and are particularly suitable for accompanying food. The 2012 wines will be released in early 2015.

2011 Longplay “Jory Slope” Lia’s Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Chardonnay

13.0% alc., 69 cases, $28. Very late harvest on November 2. 20-year-old Wente selection. Yield 1.04 tons per acre. Aged in neutral oak. One of three barrels underwent malolactic fermentation. · Pale yellow color and clear in the glass. Bright aromas of lemon, lemongrass and almond. Light, reserved and crisp, with flavors of lemon, grapefruit and pear. A high-voltage wine with a soprano, grapefruit-fueled finish accented with slate-driven minerality. Needs food. Score: 88

2012 Longplay “Jory Slope” Lia’s Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Chardonnay

13.5% alc., 49 cases, $28. Lower yields in this vintage than 2011. Aged in neutral oak barrels. · Light yellow color and clear in the glass. This wine is much more accommodating than the 2011 vintage, with less emphasis on lemon, and more floral, stone fruit and tropical fruit nuances. Some richness, and slightly creamy in texture, with a round, satisfying finish driven by peach and lemon curd aromatic goodness. Score: 92

2011 Longplay Lia’s Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 268 cases, $27. From 3 to 21-year-old vines yielding 1.2 tons per acre. Newest plantings of clones “828,” 23, 114, 777, Wädenswil and Pommard 5. Harvest October 25 and November 1. · Light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromatically alive with scents of cherry, cranberry, spice and subtle oak. Light and pleasant on the palate with flavors of red cherries and berries and a vein of dried herbs. Ripeness was clearly an issue with this wine, but it is an affable drink. Score: 87

2011 Longplay “Jory Bench Reserve” Lia’s Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 154 cases, $38. Own-rooted Pommard 5 (75% of this wine), Wädenswil (19%) and 23 (6%). Yield 1.8 tons per acre. Harvest November 1. Aged 10 months in 16% new French oak. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherry and forest floor lead to a palate filled with juicy cherry charm. A vein of herbs runs through the background. Crisp and bright, with smooth tannins and well integrated acidity. On the lean side, but satisfying. Score: 88

2011 Longplay “Hi-Tone” Lia’s Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 72 cases, $45. 21-year-old Wädenswil clone. Yield 1.7 tons per acre. Aged 10 months in neutral oak. · Moderately light reddish purple hue in the glass. Aromatically alive as Wädenswil tends to be with scents of dark red cherries and berries, spice, rose petal and subtle stem. The most concentrated and flavorful of the 2011 Pinot Noir lineup, with impeccably balanced tannins and acidity. Plenty to like, including the spicecharged finish. Score: 90

2012 Longplay Lia’s Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $27. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Quite aromatic with scents of purple grape, plum, and boysenberry fanning out in the glass. Light to mid weight flavors of purple fruits with a touch of spice and savory herbs in the background. Soft in the mouth, showing good fruit intensity on the finish which leaves a trace of heat in its wake. Score: 89

2012 Longplay “Jory Bench Reserve” Lia’s Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $TBD. · Light reddish purple color in the glass. High tone aromas of fresh dark red and purple stone fruits and berries. Light to mid weight dark red cherry and blueberry flavors which carry over on the graceful and pleasing finish. Nicely balanced, bright and juicy. Score: 90

2012 Longplay “Experience” Lia’s Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $69. A 3 barrel selection: 1 barrel of 115, 1 barrel of 23, and 1 barrel of both clones together. Aged in 83% new oak, quite atypical for Todd’s wines. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is exotic and sexy featuring aromas of blueberry, pomegranate and spice. Plenty of ripe fruit sap in the mouth featuring flavors of black raspberry and pomegranate. The tannins are fine-grain and sturdy, and the finish is replete with hi-tone acidity. The high percentage of new oak never comes to the front. A special and unique wine. Score: 92

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