Wines for Veganuary that you'll all love | Alistair Gibson

If you are giving Veganuary a go this year, whether because of animal welfare or climate change, or a bit of both, then it is worth considering that wine is very much part of the story as well.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 4:54 pm
Vegan RAW 2019, Spain
Vegan RAW 2019, Spain

Many people express surprise that not all wine is vegan, after all its made from grapes. The reason all wines are not vegan or even vegetarian-friendly has to do with how wine is clarified and a process called fining.

All young wines are hazy and contain tiny molecules such as proteins, tartrates, tannins and phenolics. These are all natural, and in no way harmful.

However, wine-drinkers’ expectations are that wine should be clear and bright, and to achieve this many wines are fined with egg whites or gelatin – a fish derivative – and often there is no indication of this on the label.

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Vegan-friendly Co-op Irresistible Marlborough Pinot Grigio

Winemakers now have the option of using other fining agents that are animal-friendly, such as clay or carbon, and increasingly this is becoming much better communicated on labels.

The Co-op may only have a fairly small wine selection but I’ve long thought it is well put together and is very much at the forefront of championing vegan wine.

It was the first ever retailer to list ingredients on its wine labels – something that at first looked a little odd.

Since then they have had clear vegan labelling on their own branded wines, and so here are some recommendations from their vegan-friendly wine range.

Vegan-friendly Davida 2018, Navarra

RAW 2019, Spain (Co-op £7 on offer from £8 until January 28) has appeared in this column before but in many ways it typifies the current approach to vegan and organic winemaking being practised by young winemakers today.

It is a blend of verdejo, airén and sauvignon blanc and it is both organic and vegan, so probably ticks all those new year boxes.

It is simple, fresh, well put together wine, aromatic with fresh citrus and apricot on the nose. The palate has zesty notes and a clean, lively finish. It is good value for money and would work well with simple tomato-based pasta dishes.

Irresistible Marlborough Pinot Grigio 2019 (Co-op £7.50) shows there is more than just sauvignon blanc in Marlborough and indeed this also shows many Italian producers just what can be produced with this often bland grape at this level.

This has aromas of ripe pear and lychee on the nose with just a little spice, followed by a nicely rounded palate with some bright acidity on the finish which worked really well with a butternut squash and sage risotto.

Davida 2018, Navarra (Co-op £7 on offer from £8 until January 28) is made according to organic principles andhas had no sulphur added during the winemaking process.

The grape is garnacha and is full of bright juicy red fruits, spice and lively acidity. It’s the sort of good value, Spanish red wine you could chill slightly, serve in tumblers and drink it while eating a rustic vegan pizza.