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As I pointed out when highlighting this South African white wine of the week back in March, I'm always looking out for wines that count as Fairtrade and give a decent amount back to all those involved in making them, and actually taste good. While I support the aims of Fairtrade to the hilt, to ensure that the lowest paid winery workers have a say in how that money is spent (usually going towards education and healthcare), the products themselves have often been difficult to enthuse over. This Argentine dry white is the best Fairtrade wine I have come across so far. It's made by La Riojana, the big co-op in the north-west province of La Rioja, the world's biggest producer of organic Fairtrade wines. Mind you, the climate up there (1,000+ metres above sea level in the foothills of the Andes) is so dry, there is not much excuse not to be organic.
Torrontés is of course Argentina's own signature white wine grape, described in much more detail in this previous Torrontés wine of the week. But what I like about this Vinedos de la Posada Fairtrade/Organic Torrontes 2008 Famatina Valley is that although it has Torrontés' trademark grapey aroma, it finishes dry and is so refreshingly zesty. (Posadas are the region's little stone shelters, looking not unlike the trulli of Puglia.) Many Torrontés can be a bit heavy and oily but this is a razor-sharp version that, while having no shortage of juicy fruit on the mid palate, almost tastes as though it has been sharpened by the addition of a dollop of Sauvignon Blanc. There's a sort of passion fruit electricity about it. This would be a really useful pre-meal drink with its screwcap and easy, 12.5% alcohol. It has obviously been made very reductively and my guess is that the fruit in an opened bottle would last in the fridge for well over a week.
It's sold mainly in restaurants but you can find it, usually selling for under £7 (which it certainly should), at the following UK retailers:
The Cave, Glasgow G4 9JA
The Fine Wine Company, Edinburgh EH15 1AR
Da Mario Delicatessen, Highbury, London N5 1QJ
Bacchanalia, Cambridge, CB1 2BD
Ellis Wharton Wines, Cornwall PL22 0HG
Whole Foods Market, Kensington High Street, London W8
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