Filed under: Restaurants, Tasting notes, Wine travel | Tags: Buellton, Hartley-Ostini, Hitching Post II, Santa Rita Hills
Okay, so while this seems like a complete ode to Miles and Jack, honestly, we didn’t plan a Sideways pilgrimage. The movie is, of course, one of my favorite movies. And Miles’ soliloquy on the essence of Pinot Noir certainly can move one to tears, if not to a glass of the nearest DRC handy. But we never really attempted to trace their steps along the wine trail. We’ve always mapped out our own wine trail, no matter where we are. But given that we had an afternoon in the Santa Rita Hills and I knew we’d be hankerin’ for a hunk of something, it was obvious that I had to make a reservation at the Hitching Post II in Buellton.
This, of course, is where Miles and Jack sidle up to the bar, order a glass of the Highliner, proceed to dinner and encounter Maya. So with our two-year old in tow, and the bar already packed with a mix of locals and star-struck tourists, we were headed to our own table. But we did order a bottle of the 2005 Highliner, Hitching Post’s own Pinot Noir from Hartley-Ostini, along with our steaks. A flatiron for Jennifer, a New York strip for me.
I was tempted to order the “St. Rita’s Earth” Pinot from HP, but figured I might as well see what the Highliner was all about. It was billed as “full, round” and it was definitely a big Pinot. Big enough to work well with the steaks, but still a Pinot, not a Pinot-in-Syrah’s-clothing. Well, close. The funk and mushroom on the nose are what I like, but in a blind tasting, that could have passed for a southern Rhone wine. The fruit was very much Pinot and on the darker side. Baked cherry with lots of concentration – a ripeness that bordered on a raisin-like quality. At first, I got some tanginess, almost a little zip. That eventually smoothed over and gave way to a fairly long palate.
Our two-year old had not napped that day and had been dragged all over creation by her parents (in and out of the car seat at least 10 times that day), so our time was limited. We wolfed down our salads, but savored the steak and the wine, in between some coloring books and trips to the potty. Ah, the life of the parent trying to squeeze it all in. Well, we promised her a trip to the beach the next day, so hopefully that will make up for it.
But a trip to the Hitching Post was definitely a fitting end to a very exciting day in the greater Buellton-Lompoc area.
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