Black Pearl The Mischief Maker 2018
Fruit for this wine was hand-picked into 30lb crates with bunch selection done in the vineyard – then transferred to small open concrete tanks. Grapes were cooled to about 40 degrees F before cold soaking. Once temperature rose naturally to about 60 degrees, cultured yeast was added. Wild ferments with this style of wine are risky – hence cultured yeast option. Open tank punch downs were done gently, 3X daily for the duration of the ferment. Grapes were then pressed in an old 1 ton basket press. From there, the juice went straight to 300 liter barrels – mainly French and 2nd & 3rd fill primarily – for 1 year, during which time the wine was racked 2-3 times. Bottling is always unfined and very seldom filtered. This vintage was 60/30/10 Shiraz, Mourvedre, Grenache but that assemblage changes every year. Roughly 500cs were made.
93 pts John Platter
91 pts Decanter World Wine Awards
Black Pearl Vineyards is a single unirrigated vineyard on the slopes of Paarl Mountain. Mary Lou Nash & family relocated from New Hampshire in 1995 and taught themselves how to grow grapes and make wine. The 4.5 hectares of Shiraz (planted 1998) and 3 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon (planted 1999) are nestled between a parcel of extremely rare patch of Renosterveld (an indigenous flora) which is considered a World Heritage area. They buy in their Grenache from a nearby vineyard. Their vineyard is managed organically, save for the very infrequent need to spray for mildew. The fruit that they grow, produces voluptuous wines with soft tannins and black fruit notes – much like South Australia or Paso Robles. Since 2007 Mary Lou has always added Mourvedre to her Shiraz but never wrote on the label. Now she has included some Grenache and is trying to make a more perfumed, herbaceous & savory wine. The Shiraz, while it has a lot of black plum notes, also has nice peppery spiciness while the Mourvedre adds a graphite note to the aromatics and the Grenache adds white spice notes.