Hitching Post is run by Frank Ostini, whose family ran the original Hitching Post from 1952, and Gray Hartley, a former commercial fisherman. Back when they started in 1979, they had but one barrel produced in their garage. Later on they made the wines at the Au Bon Climat/Qupe winery, and now the wines are produced in Buellton just around the corner from the Hitching Post restaurant (yes, the one in 'Sideways'). At the heart of Hitching Post is a focus on Pinot Noir from vineyards in Santa Barbara County, specifically Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Rita Hills and Los Alomos. These are traditional wines, aged in French Oak, bottled unfiltered, redolent in vibrant fruit with an intense vein of spice and earthiness but always with balancing fresh acidity.
Hitching Post Perfect Set Pinot Noir 2016
The team at Hitching Post first made Perfect Set in 2006 from 100% Fiddlestix Vineyard Pinot Noir in the Sta. Rita Hills. 10 years later, they are still sourcing from this site, and its renowned neighbour the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard. It is these top quality grapes that make up the backbone of the 2016 Perfect Set. By blending vineyards to achieve a wine of complexity and balance, the Perfect Set gives a hearty taste of fruit richness, flawless acidity, and creamy structure. The integration of French oak gives softer fruit notes with vanilla. In the case of Perfect Set, they use their best barrels from the Sta. Rita Hills to create a wine that showcases the flavor profile of the region, and possesses the balance, structure and complexity that they look for in a great wine. This wine is a barrel selection of 55% new French oak.
The grapes were gently destemmed and the must chilled to 50 degrees F. After a 3 day cold soak, there was a long slow fermentation. The team did many punch downs early, and just a few late, to maximize extraction of flavor and color while minimizing bitterness. Once the new wines were dry the juice was pressed off and moved them to barrels with their lees. The separate lots were barrel aged in the 60 degree F, 85% humidity controlled cellar. In early 2017, the team started blending trials to find this specific blend that represents the best wine they could make from Santa Barbara in 2016. These separate lots were racked off their lees, assembled into this blend, and bottled in May 2017.