Black Sheep Finds The Joy Fantastic Pinot Noir 2018
Coming from perhaps the farthest west Syrah planting in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. This own-rooted planting is comprised of a clonal field blend (5 different clones mixed throughout the 1 acre). The wine has wonderful savory notes and dark fruit flavors. Aged for 14 months in 2-3 year old French oak.
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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.
A superior source of California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills is the coolest, westernmost sub-region of the larger Santa Ynez Valley appellation within Santa Barbara County. This relatively new AVA is unquestionably one to keep an eye on.
The climate of Sta. Rita Hills is a natural match for Chardonnay and Pinot noir, thanks to the crisp ocean breezes and well-drained, limestone-rich calcareous soil. Here, grapes ripen just enough, while retaining brisk acidity and harmonious balance.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”