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BLACK PEARL VINEYARDS

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Paarl,  South Africa

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Black Pearl Wines is a winery owned and operated by the Nash family, who relocated from New Hampshire in 1995. We now find ourselves fervently making wine. The vineyard is on the western slope of Paarl Mountain, which is part of the Cape Floral kingdom. Above stretches renosterveld, of which only 2% remains in the country and which the family is conserving in this World Heritage area. Renosterveld is typically found in shale-derived soils that have a high clay content. Shale bases soils form over shale rock parent material developing from the deposition and compression of clay and silt in ancient inland lakes and seas.

The diversity of bulb species in Renosterveld is staggering compared to anywhere else in the world. At the end of the last century many of the more showy flowers were exported and developed in to best sellers on the international flower markets, e.g. gladiolus, freesias.

The grapes grow on similar terroir on which the Gladiolus and Freesia also originated. Thus we think we have very special terroir.

Shiraz was planted in 1998 (4.5 ha) followed by Cabernet Sauvignon in 1999 (3 ha). The first harvest in 2001 produced a fine Shiraz and in 2002 a small amount of Cabernet was introduced. The vineyard is dry land (no irrigation). Pruning and cropping are managed to ensure healthy, low yielding vines. The resultant wine is truly terroir driven.

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Mary-Lou Nash is the chief winemaker, viticulturist, tractor driver, marketer, and general "Jill of all trades" at Black Pearl Vineyards. She received her BA from University of New Hampshire in 1989, and then taught English in Japan for two years before going on a three year world tour. The travelling ended when she joined up with her father in 1995 on his newly acquired property in South Africa. Ten years later with a diploma in International Wine from The Cape Wine Academy, two South African daughters, and permanent residency, Mary-Lou calls Paarl home.

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A boutique cellar was established after six years of experience at Windmeul Cellars down the road. A 2001 Shiraz was our first release which went like cold lemonade on a hot summer's day! We have now added a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Shiraz/Cab blend to our line up, giving us a mere 1700 cases produced from our single vineyard.

Mary-Lou tends to the vineyard year round and makes sure only premium, healthy, phenolically ripe grapes are delivered to the cellar door in February. The grapes are cooled before a gentle crushing, open fermented in 600 kgs lots, basket pressed, and put straight into barrel where the wine matures for a year. The wine is further bottle matured for at least a year before release.

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We believe that wine is made in the vineyard and have concentrated on producing limited quantities of high quality grapes. From berry to bottle is a complete hands-on family experience. Our wine is handcrafted in the cellar with minimal interference; barrel matured and bottled unfined and unfiltered.

We are not planning to substantially increase our production, preferring to remain diligent in our pursuit of wines of distinction.

The name “Black Pearl” was inspired by the fact that the vineyard is situated on the slopes of Paarl Mountain, and Paarl Rock resembles a black pearl after it has rained. Black pearls also have rarity value. The name of our blend “Oro” comes from the God Oro, King of the Firmament, who gave the black pearl as a gift to the ocean.

See Black Pearl Vineyards wines we sell

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