Exploring Vegan Wines and Plant-Based Food Pairing
Veganism is a way of life that extends beyond the exclusion of milk, eggs, and animal-based foods. For vegans, it's about more than just what's on their plates. It's a philosophy rooted in the profound quest for environmental protection. Veganism breathes life into a remarkable journey where every aspect of existence aligns with compassion and sustainability.
In this blog post, we’ll discover the realm of vegan wines and vibrant culinary adventures. Prepare to explore the delightful pairing possibilities with nature's bountiful ingredients, where mushrooms, legumes, tofu, and asparagus take center stage as the stars of harmonious food pairing. Let's uncover the magic that unfolds when exceptional vegan wines meet the remarkable plant-based delicacies.
Which Wines Are Vegan
The difference between vegan and non-vegan wine lies in the use of animal-derived fining agents or additives during the winemaking process, with vegan wines avoiding any such animal-based substances. As Peta organization highlights, many individuals remain unaware that the process of winemaking may involve the use of animal-derived ingredients.
Throughout the fining process, the wine undergoes filtration utilizing substances called "fining agents." These agents play a crucial role in eliminating unwanted elements such as protein, yeast, cloudiness, unpleasant flavors, artificial colorings, and other organic particles.
Surprisingly, a variety of animal-derived fining agents are employed in wine production, including blood and bone marrow, casein (derived from milk protein), chitin (obtained from crustacean shells), egg albumen (extracted from egg whites), fish oil, gelatin (derived from boiled animal parts), and isinglass (gelatin from fish bladder membranes).
Fortunately, there are several animal-friendly alternatives that serve as common fining agents for the production of vegan wines. Carbon, bentonite clay, limestone, kaolin clay, plant casein, silica gel, and vegetable plaques are among the suitable substitutes.
Where to buy vegan wines?
Vegan red wines from vintrail.com
Château Forge Céleste 2018, Bordeaux Saint-Émilion, France. 25€
L'Aparté 2020, Luberon, Rhone France. 31.20€
Domaine des Espérances DELTA 2014, Languedoc Roussillon, france. 13.20€
Ocone Vigna Pezza La Corte - Aglianico Del Taburno 2014 Campania, Italy. 17.85€
The Production of Vegan-Friendly Wines
The production of vegan wines follows the same vinification process as "regular" wines. It's not about the style or method, whether they're aged in oak or amphora, has a pink or orange hue, or are made using biodynamic or conventional practices. The key distinction lies in the absence of any animal-derived ingredients during the winemaking process. Moreover, even the packaging materials, including tape and label adhesives, must be completely devoid of any animal substances, utilizing solely organic and plant-based alternatives.
Vegan wine production prioritizes the exclusion of harsh chemicals or additives that have no place in wine. The cultivation of the soil and vineyard strictly avoids any use of animal or animal by-products. A noteworthy advantage when selecting a wine lies in the producer's meticulous tracking of the entire process, spanning from organic vineyards to the final bottled product. Small, family-owned wineries, in particular, shine in this aspect, investing significant time and manual labor to craft wines of exceptional quality.
Where to buy vegan wines?
Vegan white wines from vintrail.com
Apotéosie 2021, Luberon, Rhone, France. 22€
Ocone Giano - Greco Del Sannio DOC 2019, Campania, Italy. 9.99€
La Didascalie 2022, Luberon, Rhone, France. 26€
Lune d'Argent (Kosher) 2018, Bordeaux, France. 37.96€
From the Biodynamic Perspective
Some vegans extend their scrutiny beyond the use of animal-derived fining agents in winemaking and also scrutinize biodynamic wines that involve specific preparations for vineyard care. For instance, certain biodynamic practices, such as the application of preparation No. 500 (which entails burying cow horns filled with manure in the ground over winter) or preparation No. 501 (which involves burying cow horns filled with quartz powder), may be deemed unacceptable by certain vegans.
Furthermore, the use of animal-based components is not limited to these preparations alone, as bioorganic compost often incorporates manure, and even preparations like flattening can be derived from manure and eggshells. This thorough examination underscores the meticulous approach that some vegans take to ensure that their wine choices align with their ethical principles.
The Vegan Audience Is Growing
In countries where the vegan movement has taken root, a tapestry of vegan wine clubs has blossomed. These clubs, with a particularly strong presence in the United States and Britain, serve as epicenters for like-minded individuals to gather and curate wines that harmonize with their vegan values. What's intriguing is that a growing number of winemakers, even if they don't personally embrace vegan beliefs, recognize the significance of catering to the vegan audience.
Nowadays the portfolios of many wineries proudly feature at least one vegan-friendly wine. You'll also find wine marketplaces loaded with special labels, indicating the presence of exquisite vegan wines. And let's not forget about those wineries that have gone the extra mile to obtain prestigious vegan certificates. These certificates, issued by dedicated authorities with a keen eye for organic and bio-products, undergo regular inspections to ensure unfailing commitment. Of course, not every winery pursues formal certification, but they are showing signs of support in adherence to the principles held by vegans.
Where to buy vegan wines?
Vegan rosé wines from vintrail.com
1. Fantastique rosé (Kosher) 2021, Côte de Provence, France. 44.84€
L'Originelle 2022, Luberon France. 14.60€
L'Originelle 2020, Luberon, Rhone, France. 9.60€
Magnum L'Originelle 2021, Luberon France. 29.80€
Plant-Based Food Pairing Suggestions
The art of pairing wine with vegetable protein products is a canvas for your boundless creativity, where the textures and accompanying sauces play a vital role. Balancing acidity and saturation, along with considering dominant taste profiles, becomes essential. By skillfully harmonizing flavors and textures through the perfect wine selection, you can create a culinary experience that lingers in your memory.
The Marvels of Mushrooms
The journey begins with the mushroom, where the choice of sauce can make all the difference. Imagine a velvety, creamy vegan mushroom risotto that dances on your palate. To complement this indulgent creation, a light barrel-aged Chardonnay steps onto the stage, its subtle nuances intertwining with the dish's flavors, creating a symphony of delight.
But what about the effective simplicity of mushrooms sautéed with garlic? Here, a different wine takes the spotlight. Picture a rich, aged Merlot, it’s deep character and refined notes harmonizing flawlessly with the earthy essence of these sautéed mushrooms. It's a match made in gustatory heaven!
Hearty Beans and Lentils
Venturing further with vegetable protein pairing, we have legumes, bean and lentil dishes, the very staples of vegan cuisine. These hearty delights deserve an balanced accompaniment, and in this case, a blend of French Cabernet Franc and Merlot. This wine’s robust character and intricate flavors intertwine with the earthiness of the beans and lentils, creating a harmonious symphony of taste. But when it comes to a comforting bean and mushroom stew, Leslie Durso, the talented Vegetarian Chef at the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita in Mexico, advises opting for something smoother, like the velvety elegance of a Syrah and Grenache.
Versatile Tofu and Enigmatic Asparagus
Next on our vegan culinary journey, there is the versatile tofu, a canvas waiting to be matched with the perfect wine partner. Enter the stage, a fruity red wine like a New World Merlot from South Africa. Its notes of ripe berries and smooth texture elegantly complement the delicate flavors and velvety texture of tofu, revealing a delightful combination that will leave you yearning for more.
And don’t forget asparagus, known for its volatile nature when it comes to wine pairing. Let’s choose the classic Sauvignon Blanc with bright acidity proving to be a harmonious match for the herbaceous essence of asparagus. With each bite, the interplay of flavors between the vegetable's green freshness and the wine's lively acidity creates a dance of taste that is both invigorating and gratifying.
New Era of Conscious Consumption
As the world embraces a more conscious and compassionate approach to consumption, the realm of vegan wines has experienced a great transformation.
The growing importance of vegan wines is evident in the evolving market, where winemakers recognize the demand for ethical and sustainable choices. With their versatility and ability to enhance a wide range of culinary delights, vegan wines have proven to be a welcomed discovery for wine enthusiasts. So, it’s your time to explore the vibrant world of vegan wines, where each sip brings a fusion of flavors and each pairing becomes an exclusive experience. Cheers to a new era of wine appreciation and conscious consumption!