The best wines for vegan food – The Guardian
The topic of wine with vegan food normally focuses on whether or not the producer has used animal-based products such as isinglass (or fish bladder), egg white (both of which are increasingly rare these days) or milk protein (much more common) in the fining process. But, given the popularity of vegan food, most supermarkets have now abandoned even the last of these, enabling them to claim, quite accurately, that most of their wines are suitable for vegans.
However, if you’re vegan, or have just decided to eat vegan this month, that’s not totally the point, is it? Veganism usually stems from a concern about the provenance of your food and a desire to have it as naturally produced as possible. And most commercial winemaking, as in other large-scale commercial food production, uses a battery of additives to achieve an acceptable result at an affordable price, which is why most vegans, I think, would prefer to drink wines that have had minimal intervention – in other words, natural (though that is in itself a controversial term).
There’s also the issue of what you’re likely to be eating with that wine. Unless it’s designed to mimic meat, plant-based meals point more to white wines than to reds, but at this chilly time of year, not least when so many of us have the heating turned down, that may well be the last thing you fancy.
The ideal answer, I think, is orange or amber wine – that is, a wine made from white grapes for which the juice is left in contact with the skins in much the same way as when making a red. This not only leaves the wine with a more pronounced colour, which can range from pale gold to deep orange, depending on the extent of the maceration, but also with a more tannic structure that can stand up to robust food. Think aubergines, mushrooms, roast celeriac and cauliflower, dark, leafy greens such as sprout tops and kale, nuts (especially walnuts), pulses and tahini.
Aromatic grape varieties such as malvasia, solaris and pinot gris are particularly lovely with any of those. The downside is that they’re often not cheap, though if January is about restraint, rather than denial, you could make a bottle last for two to three days, especially if you regard it as a weekend treat.
There is a cheaper alternative, though – cider – and it could …….
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