‘Veganuary’ is establishing itself as part of the new year calendar, slotting in to the post Christmas detox trend. So if you are one of the increasing number of people who are having a meat free month, should you also be considering vegan wine?
First of all, what exactly is it that makes wine vegan? Given that wine is the product of grapes and yeast, you may assume that all wines would be suitable for vegans. What defines the difference between vegan and non vegan wine are the fining agents that are added to clarify the wine. Egg whites or casein (a protein found in milk) can be used to remove tiny particles of sediment in a wine that cannot be removed by filtration. Another product used to remove sediment (traditionally in white wine) is Isinglass which is actually fish bladder protein, lovely!
To use fining agents, you simply add them into the wine and the unwanted particles bind to the agent, forming sizeable clumps that can then be filtered out.
The great news is that most wines are now vegan. Today, animal-free alternatives, such as bentonite, a form of clay, are more commonly used. But it’s hard to identify which wines use what, since neither the EU nor the U.S. requires ingredients or winemaking processes to be listed on labels.
So, the obvious question is does vegan wine taste different? The simple answer is no! There are no fundamental differences in taste between vegan and non-vegan wines. The grape variety used is the primary factor that creates a wine’s flavour, but other considerations such as where the grapes were grown and the use of oak ageing are also important influences.
Here in the Crafty Vintner we have put together 3 excellent cases of vegan wines for you. Here are some of the highlights from the red, white and mixed cases...
DeLoach Heritage Reserve Chardonnay - Displays nicely integrated notes of orange blossom and creamy honeydew melon that intertwine perfectly with tropical flavours of pineapple, papaya and mango. Immediately enjoyable, this wine is soft and lingers long on the palate.
Secateurs Chenin Blanc - The AA Badenhorst, Secateurs Chenin Blanc 2020 is a rich and concentrated Chenin Blanc from very old vines, un-irrigated and farmed as organically as possible. Flavours of ripe apples and honey and a creamy texture give the wine richness and weight whilst retaining the thrillingly zippy tang of Chenin's acid backbone
Delas Saint-Cotes Du Rhone 2018 - Delas Freres is a winery of tradition and renewal. Founded 160 years ago in the heart of the northern Côtes du Rhône. A blend of majority Syrah and Grenache. Its deep colour has a dark, plum-like hue. The nose is classically Syrah, with berry fruit, violet and liquorice. It has a full, rounded palate with delicate tannins, making it unique in the “Côtes-du-Rhône” category.
A-Mano Primitivo - This wine is deep red in colour. On the nose, there are intense aromas of ripe dark fruit, especially blackberries and cherries, with spicy notes of cocoa, lavender and liquorice. On the palate, it is youthful and full-bodied, with a great concentration of ripe, rounded fruit. It is a very elegant, fresh and complex Primitivo.
Vina Bujanda Tempranillo - Vina Bujanda Crianza is made from 100% Tempranillo and comes from the Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa vineyards. The team at Vina Bujanda nourish the vineyards with organic matter and employ modern and traditional winemaking techniques to produce the best quality wine possible from each parcel. Vina Bujanda’s goal is to produce fresh, versatile, innovative wines of high quality and exceptional value. This is an excellent example