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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
2011 Longplay “Hi-Tone” Lia’s Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
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
2012 Longplay Lia’s Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
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.
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.