What's Cookin' on Wine with Michael Horn
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04/11 GRAY HARTLEY, HITCHING POST, A CULINARY EVENING WITH THE CALIFORNIA WINEMASTERS, JEAN ARNOLD SESSIONS, SONOMA COUNTY VINTNERS, SONOMA COUNTY BARREL AUCTION

April 13, 201652 min
GRAY HARTLEY FROM HITCHING POST - A CULINARY EVENING WITH THE CALIFORNIA WINEMASTERS  Hartley Ostini Hitching Post wines are available by the taste, glass or bottle at the Hitching Post II restaurant where they are sold to take home. They can be found at several retail outlets and, of course, from our website order form.  When the winery is sold out of these wines, some may still be available elsewhere, we are leaving the descriptions here to assist you with your choice. Winery prices are listed on this site's order form. Hartley Ostini Hitching Post Wines are the creation of Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini, two friends that began making Santa Barbara, California wines in 1979. Long before Hollywood discovered the winemaking landmark and its great wines,  Gray Hartley, a former Alaskan salmon fisherman and Frank Ostini, the Chef and owner of the famed Hitching Post Restaurant in nearby Buellton, were brought together through their love of wine and winemaking. Over the years their backyard hobby has turned into a highly acclaimed winemaking enterprise. “It started in 1979 as a lark,” said Gray Hartley. “Frank called me and said ‘why don’t we make some wine? I’d like to bring some wine into the restaurant’. We had an old whiskey barrel and away we went – and here we are, nearly thirty years later. Started out having fun and we still have as much fun now as we had then!” In 1981 they discovered the wonder of Pinot Noir grapes; since then Pinot has been their primary focus. A great example of these wines is the Hartley Ostini Hitching Post HIGHLINER. “Highliner” is one of the best fishermen in the fleet, and this name honors the great men of the Alaskan Salmon Fishery alongside whom Gray Hartley worked for 28 years. A special wine, HIGHLINER is meant to be the “best of their fleet” of Pinot Noirs. Along with ten selections of Pinot Noir, Ostini and Hartley produce a Dry Rose called Pinks, a Syrah, a Merlot, and a Merlot-Cabernet Franc blend named Gen Red. Gen Red started as just a house wine for the Hitching Post. “As a chef, I like to make blends by combining flavors and textures to make a whole complete and satisfying taste.  I do it with food, and I like to do it with wine” says Frank  “The base of Gen Red is from two very good vineyards that when blended, always gives me what I’m looking for. The Alisos Vineyard in the hills of Los Alamos has 25 year old Cabernet Franc that lends dramatic aromatics; Westerly Vineyard in Happy Canyon (the warm eastern end of Santa Ynez Valley) yields well-farmed serious Merlot that makes intense red wine with ample tannins and a full mouth feel.  We always add a touch of Syrah to round out and sweeten the palate with ripe fruit flavors, resulting in a great bottle of wine.” Then came Sideways, the Academy Award® winning film set in Santa Barbara wine country, prominently featuring The Hitching Post and Hitching Post Wines.“Sideways gave us the opportunity to make more wines,” says Frank. “We could always make wine; the difficult thing was selling it. It was always popular in California, but beyond that it was a harder sell. We didn’t have the marketing surge to do it. Sideways gave us the chance to sell our wine because it became known.” From the exposure in the film, Hitching Post wines have gained in popularity. Currently, the winery has 800 barrels and produces about 14,000 cases a year. Hartley and Ostini strive to create handcrafted flavorful wines that possess poise and balance, successfully complementing the red oak grilled foods of Ostini’s restaurant, The Hitching Post II.  Hitching Post Wines are enjoyed by an audience that reaches around the globe who admire Santa Barbara wines for their fresh fruit, complexities of spice and earth, and refreshing acidity. Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini are two gentlemen from the country – Santa Barbara Wine Country.  Their mission is to put a slice of Santa Barbara in every glass and a piece of their soul in each

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