Tag Archives: Wine
Fairtrade Fortnight runs from Monday 25th February to Sunday 10th March this year. If you would like to support fair prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for farmers in the developing world, then you would be doing just that by buying a bottle of white ‘Running Duck’ or red 'Green Drake' wine from Tanners.
These ethically produced and organically grown wines are made by Stellar Organics in Western South Africa. The names come from the Indian Runner ducks, which roam the vineyards eating pests that could otherwise damage the vines.
It all sounds pretty idyllic, but consider that the winery, on the road to Namibia, is in a semi-arid area. Despite these extreme conditions they use no chemicals, pesticides or herbicides. They also insist on a duty of care towards the vineyard and winery staff, including transportation to and from work, family health care, free housing, electricity and water and subsidised schooling and child-care facilities. A percentage of the wholesale price of the wine is paid directly back to the Stellar Fairtrade Workers' Trust.
I think having gone to all that effort we should all wholeheartedly support them! At Tanners, we have a complimentary pair of wines to choose from in the Stellar Organics range, a red and a white. The red, made from the Shiraz grape, has hints of white pepper and sappy fruit flavours with similarities to northern Rhône Syrahs such as Crozes-Hermitage, The white, made with Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc, is fresh, full and flavoursome: both Fairtrade and organic, this wine combines peachy Chenin fruit with grassy Sauvignon nuances. Ideal for lots of occasions and best of all you can enjoy it conscience-free!
I’VE been wine correspondent of the Spectator magazine for over 11 years now. I’ve been lucky, because I suspect it’s been the most exciting decade in wine ever. We wine enthusiasts (I reject the term ‘wine snob’ which, like ‘social snob’ refers to people who put store only by names and outward appearances) are like train spotters who’ve just discovered a whole new class of engine, or twitchers who have heard news of several unknown bird species winging their way towards Britain.
There has never been such excitement and such variety, from all over the world. London’s international wine fair offers a choice of 25,000 wines – and that’s just from the makers and shippers who can afford to come. Countries you have barely heard of now produce delicious wines that rival the classics – usually at much, much better prices. Take Bulgaria, home of cheap wines that we drank as students because – well, because we were poor and we knew no better. Now Edoardo Miroglio is making a Pinot Noir in Thrace which is as good as most generic Burgundies at a fraction of the price.
And it’s not just Bulgaria. Hungary is producing some fine dry whites. Slovenia, hard up against north-east Italy, makes delectable fragrant whites. Croatia is coming up fast. South Africa is justly famous, but I offered a Tunisian wine in the magazine – few people bought it, but they should have done. You know about wines from Chile and Argentina, but Uruguay makes a Tannat to rival Madiran in southern France. Speaking of which, Provence and Roussillon are creating superlative wines to rival the Rhône and Bordeaux.
‘Yurr Eengleesh wine, it tastes of rain,’ a French winemaker once told me. He couldn’t say that now about the great English sparkler; Nyetimber, Camel Valley and so forth are up there with the premium brands from the grandes marques, at half or a third of the price. Waitrose now sell an Indian wine, and Berry Bros & Rudd promise – or warn – that China is going to be the next great wine-making country.
Why is all this feast of vinous creativity? Partly it’s the competition. With wine consumption rising all round the world, especially in the newly prosperous Asian countries, everyone is vying for the liquid dollar. Quality is the only way that battle can be won. And there is technology, which takes away so much of the risk. Find the right soil in the right climate, purchase the right kit, and you can’t go far wrong. The days of a gnarled old peasant tending a few vines in the hopes of making something drinkable on a hit or miss basis, year to year, are fast disappearing.
So relax, stop worrying about what will impress your guests, and start enjoying the plethora, the cornucopia, the kaleidoscope of choice. (And Tanners is not a bad place to start…)
Book your tickets for a Tutored Chocolate and Wine Tasting with BBC Good Food Magazine's Sarah Jane Evans MW
You may remember that I wrote a blog, about a year ago, all about the fun I had at the ‘Academy of Chocolate’ Awards in London. I had been invited by Sarah Jane Evans MW of BBC Good Food Magazine, to be a judge for the day. It was hard work (no, really) and it opened my eyes to just how much choice there is beyond the usual selection you see every day on the High Street. The results for 'best chocolate' in various categories, are on the Academy of Chocolate website and they really highlight how, like wine, if you delve beyond the big brand names, the best are often the ones made by artisan producers.
Fast-forward a year and we've kept in touch with Sarah Jane. In association with The Chocolate Gourmet of Ludlow and Shrewsbury, we're thrilled to announce that she is visiting us in Shrewsbury to host a rather special tasting! Here's what you need to know:
Who? Sarah Jane Evans MW is the wine writer for BBC Good Food Magazine, co-founder of the Academy of Chocolate and author of 'Chocolate Unwrapped, a tasting guide to the world’s top chocolate bars'.
What? A Tutored Chocolate and Wine Tasting with Sarah Jane. Tickets £25 each.
When? Thursday 31st May 2012 at 7pm (prompt - sorry we lock the doors)
Where? In our Tudor ‘Clive Tanner Room’ at Tanners Wines, 26 Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury SY1 1XD
Why? So that you can discover the similarities between chocolate and wine, learn how to taste chocolate like a pro and decide for yourself whether wine and chocolate go together and if so, how they can.
If this is sounding rather appealing then all you need to do is decide who to bring with you! You can book your tickets now either by visiting us at Tanners in Shrewsbury or by telephoning 01743 234455.
(Please note - tickets, as always, are limited with only 36 available and we suspect they might be popular!)
This post was posted in Events, Food and Wine Matching, Tanners Tastings and was tagged with Academy of Chocolate, BBC Good Food Magazine, Chocolate, Chocolate Gourmet, Food, Sarah Jane Evans MW, Shrewsbury, Tanners Wines, Tasting, Wine, Wine tasting