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Longplay "Hi-Tone" Pinot noir 2011


Winery:
LongPlay


$44.95 Regular

$40.46
in any 12 bottle order or Build a Case

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Review:

The Hi-Tone immediately excited us. Andy and I were thinking the same thing...I could tell. Inner thought bubble: we need to buy this for the club. We rarely (if ever) discuss those types of decisions in front of winemakers, preferring to deliberate when we can speak entirely freely. (Sometimes we flat out disagree so that's another advantage of keeping your thoughts discreet!).

Possessing great depth and character, Hi-Tone shows off Indian-spice accented black raspberry and blueberry notes with a sappy yet vibrant palate. The cola and gingerbread accents round out a positively special Pinot. Wines like this capture a moment in time more than a vintage. Who knows if it will ever be made again?

Tanzer 92 Points

Vivid red. Intense red berry and floral aromas are complicated by deeper notes of rooty sassafras, cola and smoky Indian spices. Silky, sweet and penetrating, offering spicy black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and a touch of gingerbread. Vibrant and incisive Pinot in the manner of the vintage, but with a measure of depth and power that's missing in most '11s. Closes sweet and very long, with resonating spiciness and soft, even tannins. - Josh Raynolds

I asked Longplay owner Todd Hansen for his thoughts on the Hi-Tone: "Our special 'Hi-Tone' bottling comes from the oldest block in Lia's Vineyard, about 1.4 acres of self-rooted Wadenswil clone vines planted in 1990. The block shows some damage from the root-eating louse phylloxera and I've debated pulling it out and replanting as it struggles to produce a full crop. In 2011, it seems to have completed a hail Mary pass winning a stay of execution. The vintage was cool and late - this actually served to benefit the vines by reducing the amount of stress that can occur in hotter years when the vines are trying to strike a balance between moisture preservation and fruit development. Additionally, the block is closest to my workshop, so it seems to receive a disproportionate amount of attention compared to other blocks. I hand hoe the weeds and keep it meticulously hedged. I'm also very obsessive about shoot positioning and adjusting crop load to match each individual vine's capacity. The block's location at about 500 feet affords exposure to afternoon breezes that help keep berry size small and reduce the risk of botrytis.

We picked the fruit on November 1st, and fermented it separately. We didn't have great expectations for the wine given the rather unhealthy appearance of several vines in the block - the fruit was among the ripest from our vineyard that vintage but there was a bit of variability in the block with some vines ahead of others. In retrospect, this likely lends complexity to the wine and helps it avoid exhibiting the monolithic character that can make single-block fermentations seem a bit simple. Shortly after racking, my winemaker, Jay Somers, and I were both amazed by this wine and its beguiling complexity. We destemmed the fruit 100 percent, but it has a floral, sappy quality that is often associated with whole-cluster fermentations. My sense is the skin tannins from the small berries exposed to the wind impart this character. During blending trials in the cellar we quickly noted that the uniqueness of this wine was lost immediately with any blending. The wine spent 10+ months in three French oak barrels. None of the barrels were new, but there was one second-fill Billon medium toast Allier 3 year aged barrel that adds a hint of chocolate to the wine. The ethereal finish lingers impressively. I named it "Hi-Tone" because of the feminine high notes that distinguished this wine. We bottled 72 cases on October 3, 2012." 

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