Friday, February 19, 2016

Highliner Is a Headliner at Hitching Post

Imagine they had a Pinot Fest and Hitching Post didn't come. (I'm assuming you've all seen that little film Sideways.) World of Pinot Noir knows better than that, so of course Frank Ostini and Gray Hartley (pictured above at an event at Alisal Ranch last year) will be there pouring their numerous Pinots at the Saturday Pinot Noir by the Sea Tasting. Their table is a fine spot to see what happens when winemakers blend the best of the Santa Maria Valley with Sta. Rita Hills, tying up Santa Barbara County in a beautiful Burgundy bow. As for which of their blends or single vineyard wines they'll be offering, Gray says, "We haven’t decided yet. Let’s let it be a surprise; anticipation is always a good thing." But Highliner (their top Pinot blend) is a better thing, Gray. Please pour that!

Still one of my greatest wine memories is attending a "tasting" at the Hitching Post II itself a good 10-15 years ago where for something ridiculously cheap (maybe $20) you got to take part in a vertical tasting of H-O Pinots going back to ones they made at home in the early '80s. That was something, an evolution of an era and region in one delightful drink around a room.

Hitching Post Wines capture not only some of Santa Barbara's best grapes, but the warmth of its makers--it's impossible not to be charmed by Gray and Frank. As Gray puts it, they provide, "Value — quality — honest soulful Pinots that can be enjoyed now and for many years to come." In fact, he looks forward to "being able to enjoy sharing 2016 Hitching Post Wine with friends and family in 2050." (May we all make it that long and remain worth sharing.)

As for the growing season at hand, Gray hopes, "That we have another vintage to experience with this mistress of allure. There is always a state of… I prefer to be in the state of here and now. Relying on the more than three decades of experience making Pinot Noir with Frank Ostini and enjoying the everyday decisions that make up what will become 2016 is I what I’m excited about."

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