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. Mary Lou has earned quite the reputation in the SA’s industry as a renegade winemaker and a Cape Wine Master. The 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. A further two sites of Cabernet were planted in 2020, consisting of 4 different clones. The vineyards are 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. The Cabernet Sauvignon ripens easily here, and has no green/vegetal undertones. The splash of Shiraz, while it has a lot of black plum notes, also has nice peppery spiciness to complement the Cab, especially the white pepper backbone.
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4 ½ Stars 2022 Platter’s South African Wine Guide
Was ‘Red’. 20 (93 pts) ripe black berry & cherry fruit, rich dark chocolate & liquorice from year in oak. Always a big wine (14.5% alcohol) but ‘people friendly’ & consistent top seller at Disney World. From Paarl & Swartland grapes, includes dash shiraz.
Fruit for this wine was hand picked into 30lb crates with bunch selection done in the vineyard and on a sorting tray before light crushing and destemming then transferred to small open tanks. Grapes were cooled to about 40 degrees F for cold soaking. Once the 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 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Shiraz but that assemblage changes every year, but remaining over 85% Cabernet. A little less than 3000cs were made.