Hitching Post 2 and Buellton, CA
You’ve heard that we went on a Sideways Wine Tour of California and this entry will be a continuation of that series. Have you been to Buellton, CA? Any superfan of Sideways probably has and this was actually our second trip out there. No trip would be complete without visiting The Windmill Inn (now called Sideways Inn), The Hitching Post 2, and maybe you’ve even gone to see those pesky ostriches that nipped at Jack?
We knew this would be a full day with all that we had planned. As we traveled down the main road of Buellton, we passed The Hitching Post 2 and Ostrichland. I stopped for a few quick photos but knew we’d be coming back that night for all the Sideways fun! We were on our way to Solvang which doesn’t have a huge part in the movie but I figured it would be a good way to take a little time off from all our wine tasting.
Solvang is also known as Little Denmark which is pretty self-explanatory when you arrive. There were windmills, pretzels, aebleskivers and belgium waffles as far as the eye could see. The architecture is quite authentic too. We weren’t sure what we’d find other than all these Danish touches but there were lots of gift shops, tasting rooms, and plenty of people watching. We even found a classic car show called Wheels N’ Windmills happening that day. Neil is interested in old cars so we opted for the car show instead of more wine tasting. (We’ve had plenty of opportunity for that already.)
The weather was gorgeous and surprisingly much warmer than Lompoc, CA where we were staying. We enjoyed the entire day exploring the town and grabbed a quick pumpernickel sandwich and some Akvavit before we headed back to Buellton and the Hitching Post 2. What a relaxing day of sightseeing! Now we can have some more wine.
I was so excited as we pulled up to the Hitching Post 2! I had Neil photograph me with the sign and crossed my fingers that there would be a seat available at the bar. We had already decided we’d go for appetizers and a glass of wine and thought the bar would be a perfect place to make this happen. As luck would have it, we walked right in and grabbed a seat. You probably already know that Hitching Post produces wine but did you know that they have a handful of Pinot Noir wines to try? Can you remember the name of the Pinot that Miles and Jack drink there? Yup, it’s Highliner! Obviously we got a glass of that! We also tried a glass of Sanford and Benedict Pinot Noir. Of course, there was 10-15 minutes of obligatory photography before any of the wine tasting actually began. It’s like my mecca and if I didn’t get the right shot, I would have regretted it.
The Highliner was great! We picked up berries, earth and fruit aromas with a softness and a hint of spice. The texture of the wine was light then medium bodied and velvety smooth. The flavor had spice, a hint of banana pepper, a great balance between fruit and earth and a smooth finish. Needless to say, we both sipped and savored it for quite some time. We tried the roasted artichoke appetizer which didn’t disappoint. It was a great choice to just sit there and enjoy throughout evening! The Sanford and Benedict was pretty different from the Highliner. Neil noticed mushroom and cedar aromas which I called dark fruit and woodsy with spice. This Pinot Noir tasted like spice, woodsy but very little fruit. I also picked up some vanilla. It was definitely an interesting wine but the Highliner was so smooth, we couldn’t get over it!
Being the wine nerd that I am, I took some notes about the wine when paired with the artichokes too. The Highliner acquired a flavor of roses with the food and then turned into raspberry. Even more points for this wine! The Sanford and Benedict seemed spicier with the food but then turned into more earth. It’s always so great when wines take on new flavors when paired with food!
While we sat at the bar, a giant bottle at the end caught our eye. I wouldn’t say it was a Nebuchadnezzar but it was definitely big! To be honest, I thought it might be inflatable at first glance. This bottle was perfect for our trip out because it had a label with the movie art from Sideways on one side and the Highliner label on the other side. More photos ensued and I think we even had a bit of wine left in our glasses. We probably spent a couple hours there but it was great fun!
On our way home, we picked up a bottle of Andrew Murray Syrah, another movie wine from Miles and Maya’s heart to heart on the back porch at Stephanie’s house. This wine had aromas of dark fruit, earth and spice. As I took a sip, I picked up dry, meaty, spicy flavors that shifted into smoke by the end of the night. Neil said it was good although he thought it tasted like a grape lollipop. What a lucky find at the local grocery store!
You may have noticed our day didn’t include a trip to the Sideways Inn. That’s because we went the day before when we arrived in Buellton. In 2013 we took our first trip here and took a photo of Neil with the iconic windmill. At that point it was a Days Inn hotel but now it’s officially branded as the Sideways Inn. I took my turn in front of the windmill this time around.
We hope you enjoyed hearing about all our Buellton destinations as much as we did visiting them on the Sideways Wine Tour!