This Is Not a Rosé


It’s actually an old Pinot Noir, a bottle of 1982 Hitching Post from Santa Barbara County. Frank Ostini, the winemaker, gave it to me after a large tasting—he had brought the bottle to open for the tasting but never got to it, so he just handed it off to me. It was his first vintage. I’m not even sure if the wine was released commercially.

The cork was a little leaky, and I had been holding onto the bottle for over a year. I was sure that the wine was going to be dead as a doornail, but thought I’d give it a try just in case. I carefully extracted the cork without it crumbling in my hands and poured a touch of wine in the glass. A whiff of cheesy funk hit my nose, but after a little swirling it disappeared, leaving a haunting aroma of rich, fleeting raspberries and strawberries with a lovely aroma of sweet mushroom. The wine was gorgeous—amazing for a 1982 Pinot from almost a home winemaking effort.

Anyway, my point is: the wine was faint and looked even like a light rosé; however, its flavors were strong and pure, the classic aromas of wonderful, mature Pinot. Don’t be fooled by the color of a wine. Just because it’s light, doesn’t mean it lacks flavor.
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