After completing my first vintage in 2001, I had to come up with a name for the wine as I couldn’t pronounce the name of the farm Rhenosterkop (“rhino head” in English).
The granite outcrop of Paarl Mountain glistens black after the rains, making Black Pearl the perfect name for a wine produced on the slopes of the mountain. And yes, Black Pearl Wine preceded the pirate movies (although I would love to sail around the world with Jack Sparrow)!
All my wines have scored 90+ points on numerous occasions at the Decanter World Wine Awards and with wine critics such as Wine Enthusiast, Robert Parker and the Platter’s Guide.
This is my core range of 3 wines, and some years I will make a straight Shiraz, Mourvèdre or Grenache.
Ripe fruit is handpicked in 18kg crates and cooled to 10° Celsius (50° Fahrenheit) overnight before sorting, destemming and a light crush the following morning. Yeast is then added to the open tanks when the wine warms up to 15°C (59°F).
Once fermentation kicks in, I hand punch down the grape cap 3 times a day until fermentation nears its end. At this stage, I pump the free-run juice straight into 300 litre barrels and press the remaining skins in a traditional one ton basket press.
The wine is matured in French oak for a year. I believe that wine is made in the vineyard, and therefore I take a minimalist approach in the cellar. My aim is to produce a velvety, fruit forward wine that is delicious on release, but that will also age for a dozen more years.
The latest release is young, fresh, and exuberant. Chunky plum and dark fruit flavours with a creamy texture and a long, sappy, black-fruited finish.
It is hand-crafted in the same manner as the Cabernet and as with the Cabernet, I am trying to make wine as naturally as possible to showcase the fruit from the vineyard.
The Mischief Maker sports black savoury fruit, molasses, with a backbone of herbs. A ripe, unctuous generous palate, with high fruit intensity and great length.
We all have a mischievous friend that this wine is named after!
The grapes are harvested by hand early in the morning. After destemming and a gentle crushing, the juice is cooled for natural settling.
Fermentation takes place with yeast which develops passionfruit characteristics and a clean, high aromatic intensity. After fermentation the wine is left on the lees (the dead yeast cells) for a few months to add to the mouthfeel.
The Chenin Blanc has a fine mineral nose with a citrus freshness. The palate has zesty acidity complimented by Granny Smith apple and subtle tropical fruit flavours.
Bright and focused with a crisp clean finish, this wine shows off the varietal characters of an unoaked Chenin from the Swartland.