Black Pearl The Mischief Maker 2021
Black Pearl Vineyards is an unirrigated vineyard on the slopes of Paarl Mountain. Mary Lou Nash relocated from Maine in 1995 and taught herself how to grow grapes and make wine. The 4.5 hectares of Shiraz (planted 1998) is nestled between a parcel of extremely rare patch of Renosterveld (an indigenous flora) which is considered a World Heritage area. She buys in the Grenache and Mourvedre 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 and 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.
92 pts John Platter
92 pts IWSC
(Int Wine & Spirts Comp.)
90 points James Suckling “Juicy and vibrant red with a peppery character and aromas of freshly crushed berries, dried flowers and herbs. Medium- bodied with fine tannins, a succulent palate and lightly phenolic finish. A blend of 80% Shiraz, 10% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre.”
Fruit for this wine was hand-picked into 30lb crates with bunch selection done in the vineyard and on a sorting tray before a gentle crushing and destemming – then transferred to small open tanks. Grapes were cooled to about 40 degrees F for 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 by hand, 3X daily for the duration of the ferment. Grapes were then pressed in a traditional 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 80% Shiraz, 10% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre. Roughly 500cs were made. Black Pearl Vineyards comprises a single, unirrigated vineyard on the slopes of Paarl Mountain.