The Top Dogs Of The Den
Top Dogs – Jeremy and Emma Borg established Painted Wolf Wines in 2007. Jeremy worked in the San Francisco area for many years, first as a cook and restaurant owner. After selling his restaurant he followed his life passion- wine, working in retail, for a broker and eventually in the cellar at Rosenblum Cellars. Here he learned a great deal making hand crafted wine, studying viticulture in California. Returning back to Africa, he began working for a safari camp in Botswana for a number of years – where he met Emma, rekindling his love for African wilderness once again. After Botswana in 1996, Emma and Jeremy made a pact; to find a way to harness their skill to make a meaningful contribution to the conservation of Africa’s wild spaces.
Continuing his wine career, Jeremy worked seven years at Fairview where he was responsible for the development of Goats do roam, then went on from there to help a many other wineries with strategic and marketing issues. Eventually, Jeremy began making small amounts of his own wine, searching to fulfill the promise they had made ten years earlier. Eventually the concept took form, and with the help of groups – minded investors, the Painted Wolf wine pack, Painted Wolf Wines began to evolve. The teamwork and social dynamics of an African Painted Wolf pack frame the Painted Wolf business philosophy. The pack is a group of passionate grape growers, artists, conservationists, marketing experts and a leading winery
2014 Painted Wolf “Guillermo” Pinotage
Guillermo Pinotage (Pinotage is a Hybrid Grape between Pinot Noir and Cinsualt) is named after their good friend Billy ‘Guillermo’ Hughes. He was among the first investors in their winemaking and conservation adventure, trading grapes for shares in Painted Wolf. Billy is an uncompromising exponent of organic and naturally farmed grapes with a strong interest in biodynamics. For a few vintages their winemakers Jeremy helped Billy make his Nativo wines. From 2013, Kasteelsig vineyard has been organically certified.
Their friend Jenny Metelerkamp who lived with them during the days in the bush in Botswana produced the fine Painted Wolf ink drawing for their logo and all the pack labels.
Sourced from two sites in the Swartland, organically certified Pinotage grapes from the Kasteelsig vineyard which is owned by Painted Wolf Pack member Billy (Guillermo), and sustainably farmed grapes from Werdie farm between Malmesbury and Darling. The site is primarily red Glenrosa soil with some Oakleaf – both very rich soils and these vines are NOT irrigated (AS IN NO WATER)
All the grapes were hand harvested and a portion were fermented in those trendy new Egg Shaped Cement tanks. The rest in vats. The wine was aged in a combination of French, American and Hungarian Oak for 14 months. Let’s Taste
About a year ago I tasted and reviewed the entry level of the Wild Dog Pack Painted Wolf The Den. Honestly, this wine isn’t as fruit forward but then again this isn’t as tart and light as The Den. Besides general aeration for 1 hour before testing the wine for a 2014, it takes another hour minimum to open up. Once it does the fruit aromatics are restrained with the evidence of American Oak shining through. Lots of Coconut entwined with aromas of smoke, mulberry, dark cacao nibs and exotic spice. A notch up in style from The Den , Guillermo has a more weighty palate at 14% ABV and very well balanced yet not jammy flavors of red and black berry and plum with still plenty of tannins and a red currant, spicy finish. For food this would be great with even a hamburger, a wild mushroom risotto or some aged cheeses. I must agree with veteran reviewer Stephen Tanzer and score this a solid 88 out of 100 points and just remember to swirl , swirl, swirl. It still has another 5-10 years drinking window
At $19.99 this is handmade wine from organic vineyards and crafted nicely. It also shows consumers that South African makes some serious wines. I think this is solid Pinotage for the buck and a totally a different animal than the entry level The Den or the David Frost Grand Slam that I reviewed recently. I think there is a place for all 3 in your wine fridge. I suggest you become the Girl or The Boy that Tried Wolf too ! Cheers to Guillermo !
Grape-fully yours, Larry
Save The Wild Dogs (Wolf)
A Wine For A Good Cause