Home > Good, ModGood, Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > Tasting Wine on the 33rd Floor

Tasting Wine on the 33rd Floor

I was not sure what sorts of wine I was going to buy when I walked into Pete’s.  As I walked down the main wine aisle I spied a selection of wines from Gifford Hirlinger.  Back in October 2011 we tried the 2008 vintage of the Stateline Red in An Affordable Washington Wine with a Cool Label.  Though this vintage of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend does not include Tinta Cao it remains interesting with its inclusion of Malbec and Tempranillo.  There is quite a lot of flavor here for the price.  On the first night I thought it might actually develop more complexity but after three days I felt it was a more hedonistic wine for drinking within a few years.  It held up well without gas.   I thought I would just taste more affordable wines so to go with it I grabbed the 2009 For A Song, Syrah at just $1 more.   It proved to be a clean, varietal flavored wine which is more cool-climate styled.  I then broke the affordability mold by grabbing the 2011 Owen Roe, Sinister Hand.  It had been some time since I opened an Owen Roe wine and I get weak when I see a Rhone blend, so I thought, why not?  I was not disappointed for this blend works to great effect.  It is always a slight challenge to taste well in a hotel room.  I am sensitive about serving temperature so I make good use of the refrigerator to get a bottle at the proper temperature.  I am then happy to taste the wine out of a tumbler.  The nose may be reduced but I still get a good impression of the wine.  These wines were purchased at Pete’s Wine Shop of East Lake.


2010 Gifford Hirlinger, Stateline Red, Walla Walla Valley – $13
This wine is a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 15% Malbec, 9% Tempranillo, and 2% Petit Verdot.  Alcohol 14.7%.  The color is a medium grapey ruby.  There were concentrated berries in the mouth which encompass the acidity along with some extracted texture and ripe, balanced tannins.  There is plenty of red, blue, and darker fruit which is unmoved by air.  This is not a muscular wine but there is a denseness which continues into the finish where some tart red fruit comes out.  Some structure comes out in the aftertaste as well as a bit of wood.  ** Now-2015.


2009 Vinum Wine, For A Song, Syrah, Columbia Valley – $14
This wine is 100% Syrah from the Olsen Vineyard which was aged for 18 months in French oak.  Alcohol 14.4%.  The color is a medium dark purple darkness.  There were somewhat dense and compact grapey fruit and approachable black and red fruit flavors.  It was a little tart on the sides of the tongue with moderate tannins.  Leans towards restraint and clean fruit.  ** Now – 2017.


2011 Owen Roe, Sinister Hand, Columbia Valley – $24
This wine is a blend of 63% Grenache, 19% Syrah, 16% Mourvedre, and 2% Cinsault.  Alcohol 14.3%.  The color is a light to medium cherry.  The nose has good complexity to the fruit aromas.  There is a seductive start in the mouth with enveloping fruit that avoids lushness.  The flavors are of red and blue fruits with a hint of yeast.  The acidity is there but not separate.  The core remains compact.  The blend of varietals works well.  *** Now-2018.


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  1. April 2, 2014 at 9:01 am

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