Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fairvalley Chenin Blanc (2008)

There is nothing better than buying a wine and knowing that a part of the proceeds will go to help others.  That is what happens with the purchase of a Fairvalley wine from South Africa.  

Fairvalley wines are produced by the Fairvalley Workers Association, near the town of Paarl.  The association dedicates the proceeds from its wine sales to fund 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.  

This Chenin Blanc is produced from grapes grown at three vineyards.  The first is a bushvine vineyard outside of Darling on hills that face to the west.   The vineyard was planted in 2001 on Richter 99 rootstock and is dryland farmed. The second vineyard is located on the lower slopes of Paarl mountain. This is a older, low-yielding vineyard planted on duplex soils. The third vineyard is another dryland bushvine yard located  in the Piekenierskloof.

The Fairvalley Chenin Blanc pours a light golden color.  The winemaker describes the aromatic elements of this wine as having melon notes.  I think that is a fairly accurate description of the aroma, Others describe the aroma as having tropical fruit and even mandarin oranges in later vintages.  The taste of this Chenin Blanc also has elements of melon fruit.  There is also a little of pear in the front of the wine and a little pineapple in the background.  

The winemaker suggests that the Chenin Blanc is best paired with appetizers and salads, along with spicy dishes. I paired it with Poisson Rouge, a spicy Haitian dish of red snapper cooked and served with a spicy red broth.  This wine worked well to tame the kick of the broth, which was made with a Scotch Bonnet pepper and a lot of garlic.

I bought this wine at one of my favorite wine stores, which has unfortunately closed.  I have seen Fairvalley wines at other wine stores.  A bottle of the Chenin Blanc sells for about $9.99.


For more information, check out Fairvalley's specification sheet

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