Joy Fantastic Pinot Noir
In 2014, Amy and Peter Hunken made the first steps toward realizing their dream by leasing a five acre piece of land at the western edge of Sta. Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County. What was formerly a hillside cow pasture was developed and planted to a certified organic vineyard (CCOF) of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah vines. This vineyard is one of the farthest west (cooler, more windy) sites in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. This cooler climate combined with abundant sunshine gives the wines freshness and natural acidity. The first harvest from The Joy Fantastic Vineyard was in 2016.
The fruit comes from the middle and bottom portions of the vineyard, planted to a mix of California heritage clones (Swan and Mt. Eden) as well as French selections (Pommard, 667 and 115). Fermented with 25% whole clusters. The grapes spent 14-16 days on the skins fermenting. This suave and savory Pinot Noir was aged for 14 months in 3 year-old French oak barrels before being bottled. A dark and dusty forest floor aroma gives way to sweet black cherry fruit in the mouth. 13.5% alcohol, 200 cases produced.
Vintage notes: 2018 was the third year in a row with good “normal” winter rainfall which is important to help refresh the soils during the dormant season. The vines seemed to have enjoyed the winter rest producing a good healthy crop in the summer. There were very few summer heat spikes, allowing picking to be delayed until the third week of September, with yields of 2.5 lbs per vine. 2018 is Peter and Amy’s favorite vintage in recent memory.
About the Producer
Peter Hunken got his start in winemaking in 2001 at Stolpman Vineyards and was the Assistant Winemaker there until 2006. In 2003, he partnered with Sashi Moorman to start Piedrasassi (a mash-up of their two names, Peter and Sashi) as well as Holus Bolus, a brand focused on Syrah. During this time he gained experience working with Rhône varieties, as well as Sangiovese, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2004, he met Amy Christine, his future wife, spitting wine over the winery drains in Lompoc. They founded Black Sheep Finds a year later; in 2008, Peter decided to amicably split from Sashi to focus on Holus Bolus, while Piedrasassi went to Moorman. Peter and Amy went on to develop other projects under the umbrella of Black Sheep, with Peter in charge of the winemaking - as well as managing and directly selling the wines in Central and Southern California. 2020 marked his 20th vintage making wine in Santa Barbara County. In 2013, Amy passed the Master of Wine exam and can now call herself one of 14 women in the US to achieve the title. In addition to the work she does with the Institute of Masters of Wine, she works full-time for Kermit Lynch Imports. In the little spare time she has left, she helps out in the vineyard and cellar.
Farming/vinification practices: Black Sheep Finds works closely with vineyards they purchase grapes from with acre contracts, in addition to their own vineyard, the Joy Fantastic. Amy and Peter reduced punching downs - previously 3 times a day, now once a day; they are pumping over instead. This is less work, but it still manages the cap and alleviates any volatile acidity (the wine is also blanketed with CO2), while resulting in wines with more elegance. There is less extraction, more finesse, and no bitterness on the finish. All the wines are unfined, and vegan.
- Bien Nacido Vineyard (Holus Bolus blanc) - the 5 acre block of Roussanne is farmed biodynamically. Goats eat the cover crop during the winter, and biodynamic preparations are used. The other parts of the vineyard (it is a very large vineyard) are SIP Certified Sustainable.
- Radian Vineyard (Amy & Peter Made This Pinot Noir) - this vineyard is farmed organically, though it does not yet have a certification.
- John Sebastiano Vineyard (Holus Bolus Syrah “Franc de Pied) - this vineyard is farmed organically, not certified.
- Presqu’ile Vineyard (Holus Bolus Syrah, “Presqu’ile Vineyard”) - this vineyard is SIP Certified sustainable.
- The Joy Fantastic Vineyard: in 2014, Amy and Peter realized their dream of having their own "estate" vineyard. What was formerly a hillside cow pasture, located in one of the farthest west sites in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, was developed and planted with 3 acres of Pinot Noir (Swan, Mt. Eden, Pommard, 115 and 667), 1 acre of Chardonnay (Mt. Eden and 76) and 1 acre of Syrah (a mishmash of 5 clones). The first (small) crop was harvested in 2016. This vineyard is CCOF certified Organic.
Black Sheep Finds
You Tube channel: Holus Bolus Winery and The Joy Fantastic Vineyard