Black Pearl The Mischief Maker 2016
90 pts John Platter
Silky blend of syrah and Mourvedre gets first Grenache addition in 2016. Enticing, with rose and violet perfume, cassis and black cherry fruit, black pepper, tobacco and vanilla from one year in French oak.
Black Pearl Vineyards is a single unirrigated vineyard on the slopes of Paarl Mountain. The 4.5 hectares of Shiraz (planted 1998) thrives on deep, well-drained Oakleaf soil. The high trellising system, severe pruning and canopy management are all managed to ensure low-yielding, stress free, phenolically ripe fruit. The adjoining land, we have made into a nature conservation area to preserve the last 4% of remaining renosterveld in the world, so being environmentally friendly is of utmost importance for us. Pest control is monitored rather than spraying chemicals, and our spray program for mildews uses organic chemicals with the least negative impact on the earth. The Mourvedre comes from our neighbors, 5th generation Afrikaans farmers, with the vineyard situated across the road from our entrance to the farm. I reserved a few rows which I monitor for the season, and get them delivered to the cellar door at harvest. Lovely way to spice up the Shiraz!
Phenolically ripe grapes are handpicked, cooled before a gentle crushing, open fermented in 600kg lots, hand punched down three times daily, and put into the barrel at 5 degrees Balling to finish fermentation in barrel. The wine is racked a few times before bottling a year later and is further aged in bottle for a year on average before release. We feel we have a special site and our goal is to bottle what comes from the vineyard. We add only yeast and minimal sulfur to the wine. Our goal is a limited edition, terroir driven wine that is drinkable now as well as able to mature further in the bottle.