It’s Fairtrade Fortnight from February 23 to March 8 and to celebrate we’ve asked wine expert Sam Wylie-Harris what ethical supermarket wines she recommends.
She said: “On its 20th anniversary, the Fairtrade Fortnight has a lot to celebrate. It has resulted in more than 11 million litres of Fairtrade wine being consumed in the UK in 2013, and 78% of us now recognise the iconic blue and green Fairtrade tag which signals some great value vino that tastes rather good.
“With a co-operative to support them, small-scale growers from sunny wineries in South Africa and South America can help plough money back into the community and improve the quality of their lives. So to champion the cause and help make a difference to more than 1.4 million people, here are some top picks of supermarket Fairtrade wines, at a very fair price.”
Here are Sam’s 8 picks:
1. A new rose release that looks set to fly off the shelves is Fairtrade Co-op Malbec Rose 2014, Argentina (£4.99, The Co-operative). Don’t be deceived by the delicate, petal pink, this rose is approachable, rich and fruity, with a hint of blackberries on the palette and boasts a wonderful crisp touch.
2. Originating from the same cellars of the La Riojana co-operative, The Co-op’s flagship Fairtrade Truly Irresistible Malbec 2013, Argentina (£7.49 from £8.49, The Co-operative) is smooth and inviting with jammy aromas and exhibiting dark plums, kirsch, sweet spice and chocolate, with a smidgen of vanilla on the richly textured finish from time spent in oak.
3. For a moment in the sun, Fairhills Cape Original Chenin Blanc Grenache 2014, South Africa (£5.99, Tesco) is brimming with tropical fruits and the splash of grenache brings some lemon peel to balance the fruity melon flavours.
4. Fairhills Cape Original Shiraz Malbec 2013, South Africa (£5.99, Tesco) has all the dark, plummy fruit you’d expect, with an added spicy element from the shiraz that’ll have you reaching for the next sip.
5. Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s TTD Fairtrade Carmenere 2012, Valle Central, Chile (£6, from now until March 25, Sainsbury’s) is by far the best value own label carmenere around with its appealing forest fruit aromas, soft, dark, brambly fruits and overtones of black pepper and spice on the finish.
6. A South African speciality that’s widely planted, pure chenin blanc produces fresh, fruity whites and Sainsbury’s TTD Fairtrade Chenin Blanc 2014, South Africa (£6, from now until March 25, Sainsbury’s) is a nice example of how this grape offers a range of flavours that appeal to both chardonnay and savvy blanc drinkers with grapefruit and apricot on the nose, generous apple and tangy citrus flavours and a crisp, clean finish.
7. And if you’re drawn to the juicy freshness of chenin blanc, another good version that’s rarely left languishing on the shelves is Extra Special Fairtrade Chenin Blanc, South Africa (£7, Asda). With a touch more of the apple orchard, it’s overflowing with honey and appley aromas, juicy, fresh citrus flavours a nice, zippy finish.
8. Elsewhere, Marks & Spencer have a shining example to help benefit farmers and workers in South Africa where there are currently 28 Fairtrade certified wine producer organisations. Try Fairtrade Marks & Spencer Peacock Tail Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa (£7.99, Marks & Spencer) which is bright and breezy and bridges the gap between an intensely grassy Kiwi version, and a more subtle, French style. Produced for them by Koopmanskloof – one of the biggest Fairtrade producers in the famous Stellenbosch region – there’s plenty of long-lasting grapefruit, passion fruit and zingy lime on the mouthwatering finish.