Veganuary: 6 of the best vegan wines
Switched to a plant-based lifestyle and looking to re-stock your wine rack in 2021? Warwickshire wine connoisseur Lindsay Poole selects her pick of the bunch including vegan Champers - for some Lockdown 3.0 decadence!
How do I check if a wine is vegan?
Not all wines are suitable for people following a vegan diet as although wine is just made from fermented grape juice, some wines are fined using animal proteins such as egg white or milk/fish protein. The reason that wines are fined is to remove small molecules of matter from the fermentation process which would otherwise make the wine appear cloudy, so in order that the wine becomes clear and bright a fining agent is added to encourage these small molecules to clump to it and it is then removed.
But some traces of animal protein can remain which is why many winemakers are now using bentonite (a type of clay) or a similar product so that their wines can be included in a vegan diet. However, it is not yet mandatory to display this on the label, but a reputable wine merchant would be able to advise on the matter and we have a section on our website showing all our vegan wines.
Champagne & Rosé
Despite it being January so cold and wet outside, there still seem to be plenty of reasons to indulge in some Champagne to help with the boredom of Lockdown 3.0. One of our favourites is Champagne Hébrart Cuvée de Réserve Brut 1er Cru which is made from grapes grown in Premier Cru NV vineyards and has both good fruit and structure.
Some people need the weather to be balmy before they will drink rosé wines whilst for others it’s their preferred style of wine all year round and one, we like is Château de Campuget 1753 Syrah Vermentino Rosé 2019 from the Costières de Nîmes in southern France. This rosé is dry and refreshing but with a touch of creaminess on the finish.
In terms of white wines, one of our top picks is Circumstance Sauvignon Blanc 2019 from Waterkloof winery in Stellenbosch, South Africa, which is often described as the Pouilly Fumé of Stellenbosch and being organically made it shows a real purity of green apple style fruit.
Another of our favourite white grape varieties is Riesling particularly from Germany, such as Kloster Eberbach Estate Riesling Trocken 2018 as we love the stone fruit and ripe pear with bright limey acidity.
A couple of perfect reds for winter vegan fayre are Cairanne La Côte Sauvage 2017 from the Rhône in France and Bouchon Canto Sur 2018 from Chile. The Cairanne has lovely spicy fruit and a warm finish and is ideal with a spicy three bean chilli, whilst the Bouchon Canto Sur has delicious crunchy red and black fruits and some refreshing acidity.