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Rhino wines

by Tom Cannavan, 09/12

This is the second in a very (very) occasional series on charitable animal wines. In 2003 I featured two wines with monkey themes, where part of the profits were being donated to the Rainforest Foundation. Now, we have a pair of South African wines that you might want to buy and drink on World Rhino Day (22nd September 2012), safe in the knowledge that 10% of net profits will go to the Save the Rhino charity.

bottles This cause resonated with me because just the day before tasting these wines I had witnessed the dangerous struggle by some wonderful volunteers to re-float a pod of almost 30 Pilot whales that had somehow beached themselves on the Scottish coast a couple of miles from my home. I watched the plight of the animals and heroic efforts of their rescuers from the cliff above, as 10 of the 20-foot-long whales were successfully manhandled back out to sea to rejoin another pod a few miles up the coast.

The South African rhino's numbers have dwindled from 500,000 to around 25,000 over the last 100 years, partly due to poaching. The Linton Park winery will donate 10% of its net profit from sales of these wines to the charity, and a special tasting at Vivat Bacchus in London on the 22nd will donate all profits from ticket sales too (more info at savetherhino.org). Meanwhile the wines can be purchased from thedrinkshop.com for £6.49 each.

the wines

Linton Park, White Rhino Sauvignon Blanc 2011, South Africa
Designated as being from the 'Western Cape', this is a Sauvignon in the slightly more tropical, nectarine-fruited mould rather than a more overtly grassy example. In the mouth it has very nice freshness thanks to a cool, lemon zest and its modest 12.5% alcohol retaining a bit of crunch, with that sweet layering of tropical fruit on top. A nice balance between quite pithy acidity and touches of nettle add more character to a pleasing, very drinkable wine. 86/100. £6.49, thedrinkshop.com

Linton Park, Red Rhino Pinotage 2011, South Africa
An unoaked Pinotage from Linton Park's Paarl vineyards, this has a lifted cherry and wild strawberry nose, with pleasing touches of floral character and spice. On the palate it is fairly lean, but has a softness to the fruit, tannin and acidity that makes it very easy to drink. It stays quite crisp, with the sweetness of the fruit and the spicy component dominating the finish. Another very good example of this fruity yet not too ripe and over-bearing style. 85/100. £6.49, thedrinkshop.com