Expressive and Exciting Sta. Rita Hills Syrah

Today’s Story: Black Sheep Finds

Black Sheep Finds (Holus Bolus and The Joy Fantastic) is a family owned and operated winery established by husband and wife Peter Hunken and Amy Christine in 2003 in Lompoc, California. Peter began his winemaking career in 2001 with Stolpman Vineyards, and also co-founded Piedrasassi where he remained until shifting all his attention to Black Sheep Finds in 2008. Amy has an impressive wine resume as well, earning the Master of Wine designation in 2013 and working with Kermit Lynch in Southern California.

Until 2015, Peter and Amy sourced all fruit for their wines from organically farmed vineyards in Santa Barbara County. In 2016, however, they completed the first harvest in their own estate vineyard named The Joy Fantastic which they began developing in 2014. The Joy Fantastic Vineyard is certified organic (CCOF) and consists of 5 acres planted to Syrah, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay, though Black Sheep Finds does continue to work with select vineyard partners as well. The partners include Bien Nacido Vineyard (where they source Roussanne), Presqu’ile Vineyard (where they source small amounts of Syrah), and John Sebastiano Vineyard (where they source Syrah for Holus Bolus).

I previously wrote about Black Sheep Finds when I reviewed their 2017 Holus Bolus Franc de Pied Syrah.

Today’s Wine: 2017 The Joy Fantastic Syrah

100% Syrah; 13% ABV

The 2017 Joy Fantastic Syrah is medium purple in color and opaque. I decanted this for 1.5 hours and drank it over the following hour or so. The aromas are of medium (+) intensity, with the nose showcasing aromas of blueberry, blackberry, plum, violet, smoked meat, pine, black peppercorn, and crushed rock. Meanwhile the flavors are of medium intensity, and the palate displays notes of blueberry, red plum, sweet tobacco, charred green herbs, smoke, cracked black pepper, and bitter dark chocolate. This dry red is medium-bodied with medium acidity, medium but tightly-knit tannins, medium alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish.

Price: $45. I think this is pretty fairly priced, though there are better “values” out there in my opinion. What’s really impressive here though is how complex and expressive the wine is, particularly given the very young age of the Joy Fantastic estate vineyard. I’ll certainly be revisiting this wine over the years to come.