This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Friday, Nov. 12, 2010 and can be found at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20101112.php.
A glass of wine and a good movie
It's finally getting cold in these parts. Time to get cozy and snuggle up with a glass of wine and a good movie! Maybe even a movie about wine ... there are some good ones out there, movies that take us into the vineyards and into the winery life.
Some, like "This Earth is Mine," are old, and some, such as last year's "Bottle Shock," are new. Some are romantic ("French Kiss"), some hilarious ("Sideways"); some are geeky ("Corked") and a few are controversial ("Mondovino").
Let's take a survey and start a conversation about great wine movies. I'll list 10 favorites in an online poll, and we'll see where everyone's opinions take us! To participate in the wine movies poll on our WineLovers Discussion Group, click "What's your favorite wine movie?."
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For this week's tasting report, let's look at a wine closely associated with a wine movie, Alexander Payne's dark comedy "Sideways" (2004). The film was set in and around California's Central Coast region, and a featured scene for locations was the Hitching Post restaurant in the town of Buellton in the Santa Ynez Valley.
Hartley Ostini 2006 "Hitching Post" Central Coast Generation Red ($19.99) is the restaurant's house wine, made by Frank Ostini, owner and chef, and his friend Gray Hartley.
It's a 14% alcohol blend of 38% Cabernet Franc from 20-year-old vines in the Alisos vineyard above Los Alamos; 33% Merlot from Westerly and Gainey vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley; 23% White Hawk Syrah, and 6% Refosco (a red grape from Northeastern Italy and Slovenia that's rarely seen in the U.S.) from Bien Nacido Vineyard.
Drink it on the premises, the label advises: "Taste with great food at the Hitching Post Restaurant, 406 E. Highway 246, Buellton, Calif." We found it in Louisville, though, and it tasted mighty good with a medium-rare locavore steak at home. My tasting notes are below.
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Today's Tasting Report
Hartley Ostini 2006 "Hitching Post" Central Coast Generation Red ($19.99)
A Cab Franc and Merlot-dominant red blend, it's dark purple with a garnet edge. Plums and berries, fresh and full but held in perspective, no "fruit bomb" here; a pleasant, earthy back note of something like black-olive tapenade. Mouth-filling fruit flavors follow the nose, well structured with fresh-fruit acidity and smooth but perceptible tannins. It's a very good food wine. I'd love to try it at the Hitching Post. (April 18, 2010)
FOOD MATCH: A wine made to go with rare red meat, it was excellent with a pepper-crusted Barr Farm Kentucky natural rib eye, pan-seared and oven-finished with fresh rosemary and garlic.
VALUE: It's a good buy even at my local $20 price, but Wine-Searcher.com reports it around $15 in some markets.
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