Seeing the Good, Embracing the Whole

Painted Wolf Pinotage, 2008 South Africa

I recently read about a South African wine called Pinotage. It’s a grape that was bred from a cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. It was developed in South Africa, and as far as I know, that is the only region where it is grown.(I have since been corrected by Peter F. May author of the book, PINOTAGE: Behind the legends of South Africa’s own wine. See comment below.) I had read that it made a very intense and focused wine, but with soft tannins. It sounded good. I wanted to try it. My local wine merchant recommended Painted Wolf. She said this brand was very typical of Pinotage, and that’s what I wanted. I wanted to know what it was supposed to taste like. Robert Parker had given the 2007 88 points. For every day drinking it was a little pricey, $17. But with two good recommendations, I’d take it home. I trusted that it would be worth the money.

I recently read an article in the New York Times by John Jeremiah Sullivan about a trip to Disney World. It was very well-written, as one would expect from a Pushcart award recipient. But it left me feeling sad. I love Disney. We’ve taken our kids three times to the land and once to the world. They have been the best trips we’ve ever taken. There are negative things about Disney to be sure. As Mr. Sullivan points out, it’s very artificial, yes! It’s for profit, yes! It’s hot and crowded, yes! But if you only focus on the negative, you miss the magic of Disney. When we’re there, the four of us, my husband, our two kids and myself, we do nothing but play! It is the only place in the world where we can all play together for such an extended period of time. We all love it. After I read the article, I realized that I was under the mistaken belief that the enormous cost of a trip to Disney keeps it exclusive to those of us who really love it. Apparently, I was wrong. Along with that I had to think, well, atheists go to church sometimes. But I don’t really want to hear what they think about it. Maybe the atheist in church on Sunday would have had something to say about God, when the woman across the aisle asked the congregation to pray for her 4 year old grandson who has such severe epilepsy that he has siezures 24 hours a day. Maybe the atheist would ask, ‘What kind of a monster are you praying to that would allow a child to suffer like that?’ Maybe that atheist was me. But maybe knowing that her church community was praying for her grandson gave that grandmother some comfort.

Not everything about Disney is good. Not everything about religion is good. At first, you just love it. Then you ‘put away childish things’ and become critical of it. But if you are able to see the dark pieces, and still embrace the whole for the good it offers, then you can love it, enjoy it and benefit from it again.

The Painted Wolf Pinotage had a spiced plum flavor, and very soft tannins, but medium weight and good structure. It was vibrant with a long, gentle finish that had a briny olive taste to it that I just loved, especially with the earthy flavors of the eggplant and mushrooms in our ratatouille. Still, it wasn’t as elegant as I had hoped it would be for $17. My husband loved it. He wasn’t thinking about the price. He was thinking about the soft tannins, the vibrancy, and that unusual briny finish. I stopped thinking about the price of it, too. And then I really enjoyed it.

4 comments on “Seeing the Good, Embracing the Whole

  1. Peter F May says:

    Glad you enjoyed your first Pinotage. The variety is grown in several other countries including, New Zealand and Israel and in three US states, California, Oregon and Virginia.

    Painted Wolf is owned and made by Jeremy Borg – there’s a video of him on my site at

    Peter F May
    author of
    PINOTAGE: Behind the Legends of South Africa’s Own Wine

  2. Jeremy borg says:

    Thankyou for the great comments about my wine, really glad you enjoyed it so much – Peters book is a really great read.
    all of the best,
    Jeremy Borg

  3. foxress says:

    Thank you, and thanks for visiting my blog. -LF

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