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Black Sheep Finds Holus Bolus Blanc 2013
Black Sheep Finds found a great new vineyard source for their Roussanne: the much heralded "Bien Nacido Vineyard" in Santa Maria Valley. This is a block that for the past decade has gone into Qupe's Hillside Estate Roussanne and we are very fortunate to have just under an acre there to work with. The block is biodynamically farmed with lovely goats patrolling the vineyard in the winter months.
The duo behind Black Sheep Finds are Peter Hunken and Amy Christine.
Peter got his start in winemaking in 2001 at Stolpman Vineyards and was the Assistant Winemaker there until 2006. He is also one of the founding members of Piedrasassi and Holus Bolus wines. During this time he gained experience working with Syrah, Grenache, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Cabernet and Roussanne. After meeting Amy spitting wine over the winery drains in Lompoc in 2004, they founded Black Sheep Finds with the arrival of the 2005 vintage.
Amy's foray into the wine world began with a childhood dream to win an Oscar. While she waited for her golden statue, she worked as a sommelier at one of LA’s finest restaurants. This translated into a weekend jaunt to Santa Barbara where she met her future husband and fellow Black Sheep, Peter Hunken. A whirlwind romance involving a terrible, but cheap, apartment in Koreatown, countless hours of Ryan Adams and Damien Rice songs and bottles upon bottles of Muller Catoir Riesling turned serious. On a long hike in Santa Barbara in 2005, the idea of Black Sheep Finds was bantered about and just a few months later the first Syrah grapes for Hocus Pocus were being made into wine. Unlike the Oscar it all happened so fast.
With a dry and mild climate cooled significantly by moist ocean fog and breezes, Santa Barbara County is a grape-grower’s dream. Part of the larger Central Coast appellation, Santa Barbara is home to Santa Maria Valley and Santa Ynez Valley. The conditions here provide an opportunity for nearly effortless production of high-quality cool-climate wines. This is also the site of the 2004 film Sideways, which caused Pinot Noir’s popularity to skyrocket and brought new acclaim to the region.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the stars of Santa Barbara, producing wines marked by racy acidity. Crisp Sauvignon Blanc and savory Syrah are also important. The region is home to many young and enthusiastic winemakers eager to experiment with less common varieties including Chenin Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, Trousseau Gris, Gamay and Cabernet Franc, making it an exciting area to watch.
Full and silky in body but also charmingly crisp, Roussanne makes a stellar blending grape. Thought to be native to the Rhône Valley of France, and still predominantly grown there, it is responsible for some of the finest Northern Rhône white wines. Roussanne adds richness and acidity to Marsanne’s soft, fruitiness, making the age worthy and highly respected whites from the appellations of Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage and St.-Joseph. It has also earned approval as one of the white varieties for Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
In the Glass
Persistent aromas of exotic herbal tea, a full body nearly as complex as a red wine, and distinct apricot and honey flavors make Roussanne unique. With age, these wines gain a more oily or glycerin texture.
Richer fish dishes such as salmon, lobster, crab or grilled shrimp work well with Roussanne and its blends. A meal of roast chicken with herbs and winter vegetables is also delicious. Stuffed butternut squash, vegetarian curry and baked brie with apricots are other ideas to pair with Roussanne based wines.
Roussanne takes its name from the French word “roux,” meaning rouge or red because of the grapes’ pink glow. In California, virtually all of the 339 acres of Roussanne come from true clones brought over by Tablas Creek and John Alban.