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Painted Wolf The Den Pinotage 2017
Pinotage is the best wine in the world to pair with Mexican dishes like Fajitas or that glorious confection of chicken, chocolate, cumin seeds, smoky ancho chilies, pumpkin and sesame seeds – Mole Poblano. It is also very good with other flavoursome American regional specialties like Carolina Pulled Pork or smoky Texas B.B.Q beef rib. The wine also works with Moroccan flavours, Malaysian dishes and of course our local Cape cuisine.
Our goal was to bring together our own Painted Wolf pack. We sought out a group of individuals who would be able to bring the best available technical and practical skills to Painted Wolf, as well as providing funding to get the business going. By harnessing the energy and expertise of a number of talented individuals we plan to create a company which will not only make delicious wines, but which will be socially and environmentally responsible, nimble, effective and most importantly fun and rewarding to work for and to be associated with. The basic ethos of Painted Wolf is team work, persistence and a driving ambition to be remarkable in everything we do. Our mantra is "remarkably persistent, persistently remarkable"
The company is very young , and there is much to do to before we can even closely reach our goals. We plan to enrol support and comment from other people as we go about developing Painted Wolf, with plans to develop an extensive global pack of Painted Wolf wine lovers and conservation crazy individuals. Partners in all key wine markets will be brought on board. The key element reason for PAINTED WOLF is our support for the conservation of African Wild Dogs, and interest in other conservation. We will make delicious wines, the enjoyment of which will draw people into exploring our web site and our conservation world.
Jeremy and Emma Borg have a long association with some of Southern African most respected conservation figures, and through this association will develop the ties needed to give the project a high level of interest and credibility.
With an important wine renaissance is in full swing, impressive red and white bargains abound in South Africa. The country has a particularly long and rich history with winemaking, especially considering its status as part of the “New World.” In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century.
Today, however, South Africa is increasingly responsible for high-demand, high-quality wines—a blessing to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot. But the Benguela Current from Antarctica provides brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening of grapes. Similarly, cooler, high-elevation vineyard sites throughout South Africa offer similar, favorable growing conditions.
South Africa’s wine zones are divided into region, then smaller districts and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for red-fruit-driven, spicy, earthy reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following close behind.
A distinctively earthy and rustic variety, Pinotage is South Africa’s signature grape. In 1925 viticulturists crossed finicky Pinot Noir and productive, heat-tolerant Cinsault, and created, surprisingly, a variety both darker and more tannic than either of its parents. Pinotage at first seemed nearly impossible to tame, with its bold profile and wild flavors but advances in viticultural and winemaking techniques have since helped to make Pinotage wines quite alluring. Today it is a popular South African export both as a single varietal wine and in “Cape blends.” It is grown very minimally outside of South Africa.
In the Glass
There is no mistaking the smell of Pinotage—common descriptors include tobacco, smoke, tar, bacon, licorice, hoisin sauce and dark fruits of plum and blackberry. The flavors are bold, and tannins are firm but ripe—in fact, many Pinotage wines bear more resemblance to Australian Shiraz than to Pinot Noir.
For a wine this powerful, food should be equally bold, and gets bonus points for mirroring Pinotage’s sweet and sour flavors. Classic smoky South African braai (barbecue) is the most obvious match, while grilled curry sausage, lamb biryani or richly spiced beef stew would be equally welcome.
The name “Pinotage” is a subtle portmanteau: The Pinot part is obvious, but the second half is a bit confusing. In the early 1900s, Cinsault was known in South Africa as “Hermitage”—hence Pinotage. The somewhat less appealing “Herminoir” was also considered.