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Fair’s fair: wine expert searches for the best Fairtrade wine

Fri 25 Feb 2011 12:46


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Each year we celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight, so this week’s wine slot on The Hour has been specially selected with this in mind.

Fairtrade Fortnight runs from February 13-28 and wine connoisseur Tom Cannavan has been on the hunt to make sure you can settle down with bottle that’s not only good for a night in, but for your conscience too.

Faitrade is an organisation which makes sure that disadvantaged workers and farmers in developing country get a good deal their produce. It also ensures good working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade – so making sure to buy these products is very worthwhile.

Many wines carry the Fairtrade logo, particular from developing countries like Chile, Argentina and South Africa, where the workers in the vineyards and wineries are paid decent wages and enjoy good living conditions, thanks to their affiliation with the scheme.

Of course many wine producers who are not affiliated with Fairtrade still look after their workers well! But this week we look at three examples of Fairtrade wines to see if it's possible to buy ethically, and still enjoy a glass of a high quality tipple. Here are the wine expert’s three favourites:

1. Fairhills, Chenin Blanc Chardonnay 2010, South Africa, £5.24 from Asda
Fairhills is one of the biggest Fairtrade projects in the world, operating in South Africa and South America. This blend of the crunchy, appley Chenin Blanc with the rounder, more peachy and honeyed Chardonnay is crisp, dry on the finish but very easy to drink.

The tastes of green apples and peaches make this a perfect wine to serve alongside most fish and seafood, but it’s also easy to drink as an aperitif.

2. Fairtrade Pinotage Rosé 2010, South Africa, £5.59 from Sainsbury's
This wine is made with South Africa's signature grape Pinotage. It doesn't appear as rosé all that often, but the gentle redcurrant fruit here is pleasant, with a touch of pomegranate and plenty of ripeness and sweetness. Crowd-pleasing stuff - and what's not to like?

The tasting cues of pomegranate make this wine another lovely aperitif style, but it’s also good with patés and smoked salmon

3. La Riojana Fairtrade Bonarda Shiraz 2010, Argentina, £4.75 from The Co-operative
A wine that blends Italy's Bonarda with France's Shiraz (Syrah) from a large operation in Mendoza, this tipple has zingy black cherry and bramble fruit, and an edge of pepper and spice.

A touch of oak gives a hint of pleasing vanilla softness on the finish. Rich flavours of black cherries and black peppercorns make this an ideal match for hot-pot, shepherd's pie or spaghetti bolognese.


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