Vegan wine? But isn't wine vegan already?
Not always. While you may have heard about Guinness shifting its beer process in 2015 to exclude isinglass, a filtering method that uses fish guts, many wine-drinkers may not be aware that the fining agents used to refine wines before bottling are also often animal-based.
As a representative from Domaine du Tariquet, the French wine maker adopting vegan practices explains, “traditionally, the most commonly used fining agents were casein (a milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein), and isinglass (fish bladder protein). We prefer to only use bentonite, which is a form of clay, for fining our wines.”
While bentonite is not the most traditional fining agent used in France, it is growing in popularity for the increased simplicity it lends to the fining process, and what’s more, it makes these wines completely safe for vegans to enjoy.
Domaine du Tariquet's vegan wine is made in the hills of Gascony, on one of the largest family-owned wine estates in France. The estate has long been famous for its Armagnacs, and its wines continue in this tradition, with several varieties to try.
The crisp and refreshing 2014 Sauvignon Blanc offers the perfect balance between floral aroma and crisp acidity, a depth of flavor for which we have the mild climate of Gascony to thank. It pairs wonderfully with a simple artichoke, asparagus, and spinach salad or with our grilled asparagus over white wine fettuccine.
The substantial, citrus-forward 2013 Chardonnay exhibits the more restrained flavor balance of French Chardonnay wines, with just a lightly creamy and buttery flavor. It is rounded out by the flavors of citrus and green apple, hints of vanilla, and lightly toasty notes. This wine is an excellent pairing for richer-flavored dishes, like chestnut and cèpe mushroom soup, vegan truffle mushroom risotto, or our vegan stuffed mushrooms. Our vegan kale, mushroom, and sweet potato quiche is also a great option.
Both wines are now widely available in the U.S., either in your local wine shop or online. At under $15 each, they're reasonably priced choices that are sure to make a splash at your vegan dinner parties.
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