Veganism is nothing new, having started in the 1940’s and with the principle idea of preventing the exploitation of animals by man. The vegan society points out that ‘there are many ways to embrace vegan living. Yet one thing all vegans have in common is a plant-based diet’. With this lifestyle choice becoming more and more popular around the world we thought it was apt to dive into veganism and wine a little and point out a few of our favourite vegan friendly wines.
One of the main questions that arise whenever talking about vegan wine is how can wine not be vegan in the first place, it’s just fermented grape juice? Traditionally wine was filtered or fined with egg, fish or milk based products to remove any sediment and clarify the wine, this makes the wine more stable and removes the hazy affect you sometimes get with unfined wines. Many winemakers make a stylistic decision to simply not fine their wines, citing that removing them can sometimes lessen the natural flavour and texture. More modern winemaking techniques now allow for fining to take place without the use of animal based products, instead vegetable based products such as pea protein are used in their place.
So here are a few of our favourite wines to enjoy this summer, out in the garden, entertaining friends, hosting a dinner party, whatever the occasion these are all great wines in their own right, and have the added bonus of being vegan friendly.
Italian blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Nero made in the traditional champagne method from the Gatti family in Lombardia Italy. Soft and approachable with lots of white blossom and creamy hazlenuts. A perfect aperitif but also a great wine to try asparagus starters, maybe with a creamy vegan hollandaise and new potatoes.
Iconic Portuguese blend of Avesso, Arinto, Azal and Loureiro, full of peach, tropical fruits and lemongrass with that signature vinho verde spritz. I recently read a recipe for vegan spring rolls made up of rice sticks, red pepper, fresh carrot and cucumber, combined with some herbs and wrapped in rice paper, they sounded delicious and this wine would pair perfectly.
Located high above the picturesque Elgin valley, Andrew Gunn has managed to secure some of the coolest vineyards in the Western Cape. As a result he's able to produce amazing wines like this 100% Chardonnay aged in oak barrels for 11 months, it's incredibly complex. There's lean citrus and lime peel combining with hazlenuts and creamy marzipan. An absolute banger that would go down a storm at a dinner party with a mushroom wellington.
Riku & Anna at Chateau Puybarbe are all about 'modern Bordeaux' moving away from stereotypical big bold age worthy reds and instead focusing on making wines which are accessible on release. Their Annabel rose is everything you need on a warm summers day in the garden, pale and dry with lots of strawberries and raspberries.
Winery Judith Beck is a small 15 hectare estate in Austria where she farms biodynamically with a focus on caring for the vines and the environment using all native Austrain varieties. Here we have Zweigelt that's fermented naturally and produces a vibrant and refreshing rose, full of peaches and red cherries. A really great choice for a casual lunch, with a fresh salad full of grains and nuts.
Bobal is one of Spain's most planted grape varieties yet it's usually hidden away in blends and is rarely centre stage. Roselia Molina heads up Bodegas Altolandon and managed the 120 hectare estate, farming using organic methods and little intervention with natural yeasts and a touch of french oak and amphora ageing. This shows Bobal's true potential, ripe, juicy berries balanced with subtle black pepper spice and soft, round tannins. This is a bright, fruity red that would work perfectly with a vegan paella, lots of crunchy red peppers, zesty lemon and fresh garden peas.
The Ciu Ciu wines come from a family owned, 150 hecatre organic estate dating back to 1970 in Italy's Ascoli Piceno province in the Marche region. A blend of Passerina & Pecorino, full of soft banana and vanilla with green apple and toasted hazlenuts. A beautifully soft and rounded wine that would work well with any simple pasta dish perhaps with fresh green pesto.