Gifford Hirlinger’s Stateline Red is perhaps the least-known best-value wine in the Walla Walla AVA. The blend changes radically from year to year—this is 83% Cabernet with splashes of Malbec, Tinta Cão, Tempranillo and Petit Verdot. Focused and concentrated, it has a streak of orange and cherry liqueur, and yummy…— P.G.
This deceptively named and priced wine is a gem. It’s all estate-grown, and the blend is a fascinating combination of Merlot, Cabernet and Malbec, with a dollop of Tinta Cao, Tempranillo and Petit Verdot. Dark and demonstrative, it has a seductive nose of black fruits, toast and coffee. Currants and black cherries…— P.G.
In this pure, focused Malbec, moderately tart acidity underscores a mix of wild berries, with accents of autumn leaves. The definition and soft approachability are exceptional. Malbec is one of the emerging, under-the-radar strengths of Washington State.— P.G.
This seems to be the first varietally designated Tempranillo from Gifford Hirlinger, and it shows exciting promise. Very little Tempranillo is planted in Washington, and most versions draw on the same vineyard sources; this is estate grown and therefore unique. Smoky and textural, it has a lovely depth of dark…— P.G.
All Cabernet coming from the winery’s estate vineyard, this high-octane wine is quite red-fruit driven for the variety, with notes of raspberries and cranberries along with a dried herb accent. It’s soft and plush in feel with tart fruit flavors and elegantly styled tannins.— S.S.
Unabashedly appealing, this 100% varietal, full-bore wine displays aromas of dark plum, milk chocolate and clove. The flavors are sweet, rich and palate-coating, leading to a persistent finish.— S.S.
Note the vintage—2009. This is already moving into maturity, loaded with berry-pie fruit flavors, especially blueberry. It’s soft and drinking well, with cinnamon and baking spices in abundance. Don’t delay—enjoy it over the next couple of years.— P.G.
Clean and well-ripened fruit holds down center court here; tart and tight flavors of currant and berry. It’s wrapped in a shell of tannin that is still hard and seeming to hold the wine back. The best guess is to give it some bottle age and let it breathe, and you will be rewarded with a polished and expressive wine.— P.G.