Monday, July 25, 2011

Fairvalley Cabernet Sauvignon (2008)

"The hands that work the soil, feed the soul."  Those words grace the label of a wine with an interesting background.  The wine is produced by a cooperative of farmworkers known as the Fairvalley Farmworkers Association.  Members of the Fairvalley community established the association in 1997 to manage the wine and cheese production at the Fairview Estate, which is located near the town of Paarl in South Africa.

The Fairvalley Workers Association describes its purpose as to provide assistance to the previously disadvantaged workforce of the Fairview Estate, as well as their future generations and dependents.  The assistance includes efforts to gain ownership of the Fairview Estate, create a sustainable and commercially viable business and establish equal job opportunities for those workers.

To achieve these goals, the Fairvalley Workers Association dedicates all of the proceeds from the sale of its wine for the benefit of the community.  The Association divides the revenue equally between two initiatives.  The first is the establishment of the Fairvalley Ecovillage housing development on the association's land.  The second is a community development project which includes a community center, the employment of a health worker and a full-time social worker, along with funding various community, youth and educational initiatives.

Not only does this wine a model of how companies can promote social justice, but it also a very good example of a Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa.  The wine pours a purple to dark red in color.  The aromatic elements of this wine feature spice, pepper and some fruit, possibly plums or dark cherries.   The spice and pepper are clearly the primary aromas that one gets from the wine.

As one would expect from a Cabernet Sauvignon, the taste of this wine is very earthy.  There flavors include a spice, with black pepper in the front.  The pepper lingers though the finish, at which point it is joined by flavors of dark cherry, blackberry and plum.  This wine has a good body, with some tannins, but neither is overwhelming.  The wine is well balanced and very drinkable.

When it comes to pairing, this wine is best paired with grilled or roasted meats.  Beef, lamb and pork would be good matches with this wine.  Similarly, this wine could also be paired with duck.

These wines are a little difficult to find.  I came across this wine at a wine store in Silver Spring, Maryland.  However, given the benefits that flow from buying the wine, I will definitely pick this wine up when I see it again.


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