Winter seems to have been a long old haul and it doesn't feel like it's over just yet. We've been relatively lucky up here in Edinburgh with just a couple of coverings of the white stuff. Temperatures however have been as cold as a polar bears den and the heating has been on more and more. There's nothing better than a spicy Shiraz to keep jack frost away from your door.
The local Scotmid has a number of wines in stock but I seem to find it increasingly difficult to find something to get my taste buds tingling. Wanting to get home and settle on the sofa in front of the fire I go for the Fair Trade option. I love the idea of Fair Trade/Organic/Natural wines, but expect the quality too. The knowledge that the region will benefit from the production/sale of the wine is certainly a positive and for around £5 a bottle the price is very competitive.
La Riojana one of the largest co-operatives in Argentina can be found in the Famatina Valley.
The back label gives a full ingredients list from Grapes (Shiraz) to listing yeast nutrients and Oak staves. It also describes powerful blackberry and oak aroma. I do get blackberry notes but some red plum too. The aroma oak is there from the oak staves and some very subtle spicyness. On the palate the fruits do persist with a slight bitterness. It's quite tannic with medium length.
It's an acceptable wine, designed to be drunk young and to accompany a mid-week evening wind down.
You can find out more about fair trade at:
Extract - Guardian newspaper - 2006
"In September 2006 the Co-op launched a project with a second Fairtrade wine cooperative in Argentina, introducing four wines from the La Riojana wine co-operative, which is based in Chilecito, a remote town based in the Famatina Valley in Argentina.
La Riojana received Fairtrade accreditation in May of this year. As part of the accreditation, the growers will receive a social premium from the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation (FLO), which the Co-op is adding to. It means that for every case of wine sold, additional money will go back to the co-operative which will fund a unique project.
The project will help a community of workers in the village of Tilimuqui. 97 people live in this area, and presently there is no regular water supply to the houses. The social premium will be spent on renovating an old water supply with the addition of a well and pump so that each household will have access to regular, clean water."
The Famatina Valley Region is situated in the north west of the Province of La Rioja, in Argentina. It is a vast region which includes two areas: the West, nearer to the Andes, known as the Bermejo Valley and the East which is called Antinaco-Los Colorados Valley.