|Finborough Wine Cafe|
The other weekend was the 3rd instalment of Andrew Barrow’s (Spittoon) secret tastings known as ARSE (Andrew’s Really Secret Event), just in case you thought I was being crude. All we knew to was that we were to meet outside a district line tube station, to be named later, on the 3rd at 12pm, how could I resist the intrigue!
Although we were given several cryptic clues as to our meeting point, it was kept secret right up to the last possible moment; it turned out to be West Brompton tube station. On arrival our names were checked off the register, which made me feel like I was on a school trip, and we moved on to our first venue, the Finborough Wine Cafe. We started the day with a glass of Morton New Zealand sparkling, which was a blend of all three of the Champagne grapes, giving you great flavours and a good level of acidity, producing a beautifully refreshing drink, and a great way to start the day.
|Hennie - The winemaker|
After we’d had the opportunity to get to know the others on the tasting we were duly informed that we were moving on to the next venue, which, after putting my jacket back on and everything back in my bag, turned out to be the tasting room downstairs! When we got downstairs we were greeted by Hennie (winemaker) and Neil from Linton Park Wines, who were here to showcase their wines and give us some insight into them.
Based in the Paarl region of South Africa and nestling in the foothills of the Groenberg Mountain in Wellington Valley, they have 290 Hectares growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Situated 500m above sea level, this helps to provide a cooler climate with the various oak leaf soils, all helping to produce some fantastic growing conditions and some great wines. Fortunately for us, Hennie had brought wines from all the grapes above and across two ranges, their standard and reserve.
Linton Park Sauvignon Blanc 2008 – With wonderfully herbaceous aromas and flavours, a low level of acidity, and a good length of flavour all combined to produce a fabulous wine, definitely my favourite of the whites.
Linton Park Chardonnay 2009 – With pronounced fruit aromas with a buttery edge and a touch of spice, good level of acidity cuts through its richness. Not over powered by the oak, this was a beautifully rich wine that was very enjoyable, and I’m not a fan of oaked Chardonnay.
Linton Park Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 – A deep ruby colour, with red berries and chocolate aromas, on the palate you got these with a touch of jammy plums, combined with a good level of fine tannins.
Linton Park Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 – This had dark fruit and oak aromas and palate, very fine, soft tannins, creating a very refined and beautiful wine.
Linton Park Merlot 2007 – Great jammy dark fruit and oak aromas and palate, again with fine tannins and a good level of acidity producing a well balanced and enjoyable wine.
Linton Park Reserve Merlot 2005 – As with the merlot above, but much more intense oak/kernel aromas and flavours than fruit, as would have expected a more refined version of the previous wine.
Linton Park Shiraz 2008 – Wonderfully pronounced aromas and palate of peppery spice with a touch of red berries in the background, with a hint of sweetness from the oak. Fine velvety tannins and a good acidity produce an amazingly well balanced and beautiful wine.
Linton Park Reserve Shiraz 2007 – With pronounced dark jammy fruit, spice, chocolate and smokey aromas, you got all of these on the palate with velvety tannins, all produced an amazingly complex and absolutely stunning wine. Which I can safely say got the majority vote as our favourite wine of the day.
After we’d gone through all of these, Hennie had one last challenge for us, he produced an unlabeled bottle for us to taste and guess the grape, year and dominate aroma. Which I have to reluctantly admit all of us wine geeks got massively wrong which was a little embarrassing, personally I thought it was a Pinotage, but it turned out to be a 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon.
It was a fantastic day, with great wine and fantastic company, I’d just like to thank Hennie and Neil for taking the time out to go through their wines with us, and of course, Andrew for organising a great day, roll on ARSE4.