When I started thinking about a Fairtrade tasting, the idea was to get as much wine from the Fairtrade ranges as possible, but it even surprised me how extensive this range has become. So for the purpose of this post I only looked at what supermarkets are offering as part of their own labels. The Coop, always a bit of a front runner when it comes to Fairtrade, still has a very extensive range, with particularly strong offerings from Argentina and South Africa. Sainsbury’s was another retailer with a pretty good selection of Fairtrade wines under their own label, particularly from South Africa. At Tesco I only found one white and one red wine in their own label range both of which were from Argentina and Asda didn’t have any. Both supermarkets do offer Fairtrade wines from a variety of producers such as Stellar Organics, Fairhills and Six Hats though.
Ultimately the proof is in the wine and having tasted through a large selection, By and large I am quite impressed with the offering from the Coop. The wines are dependable, particularly those from Argentina. Sainsbury’s is also offering a fairly extensive selection with more of a focus on South Africa. The premium products in the ‘Taste The Difference’ range in particular are very good. I think these wines are really worth their price tag so pick one up with your coffee and chocolates in the next couple of weeks, and support a worthwhile cause.
Coop Fairtrade Torrontes-Chardonnay 2010 – Famatina Valley, Argentina (Coop – £4.49)
Coop’s Fairtrade offering from Argentina is pretty strong with all wines produced by the La Riojana cooperative. I quite liked this very drinkable number. I thought it was a very characterful wine for what is the lowest priced one in the range. A fresh, light floral nose with some peach and elderflower. Melon and zesty lemony freshness on the palate. Don’t expect a complex wine but for the price, I can’t fault it.
Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Fairtrade Wild Valley Chenin Blanc 2010 Wellington, South Africa￼(Sainsbury’s – £7.99 reduced to £5.99 until 22nd March)
New to Sainsbury’s list is this expressive Chenin Blanc produced by the Bosman Family Vineyards. A ripe, tropical nose showing pineapple and guava. Lovely and clean on the palate with zesty citrus fruit and fresh apples. Very refreshing and lively. Particularly at £5.99 this is a great value white. The same producer is also behind the Cabernet Sauvignon in this range. It’s a couple of pounds more expensive but it is a good, expressive red wine.
Coop Fairtrade Organic Malbec Reserve 2009 – Famatina Valley, Argentina (Coop – £6.99)
￼Lovely deep, glossy colour. Blackberry, vanilla and chocolates, with a slight smokiness on the nose. A full bodied wine with velvety tannins. Intense blackberry, cherry and spicy warmth owing to a bit of oak ageing, with a satisfying length. A nice winter warmer while it is still cold outside. I tasted this against Tesco’s Fairtrade Malbec 2010, which is 50 pence cheaper and also nice, but I found the Coop one to be a bit more complex and warming. Perhaps keep Tesco’s Malbec for the warmer days and the barbecue